Are you delivering your training in the ‘Life Saving Zone’?

If your students are not ‘picking up what you are putting down’ are you aware of that?

In every AAR (after action review) that I have ever been to, problems with communication ranks in the top three of “what went wrong”.  Often the source of frustration is blamed on equipment or new technology or both.  Despite all contributing factors, the question remains: Is the message ‘sent’ the message ‘received’ as intended?

Training gives us the opportunity to utilize and learn new equipment, especially tools which may not be used often and are therefore less familiar. But is the trainee getting the message we send as instructors?  An important quality of any good instructor is the ability to read his or her audience. Are the students ‘getting’ the information you are giving them? In the classroom we generally judge this by the class attentiveness to the material, interest, involvement, and trips to the coffee pot. On the drill ground we often determine this by having the students perform a task, possibly under a certain time, and how well the task was safely performed. The results of the task give us a measurable means to quantify how well the student ‘gets’ it and the end result can be compared to their peers.  Ultimately an instructor needs to be able to answer affirmatively: ‘Is this student ready and will they make the correct decision in the HotZone?’

I cringe when I hear tactics such as dropping books in the classroom to keep students alert.  If you need to resort to this method don’t blame the material, take a look at your delivery.  High risk occupations require hands on training so get your students involved.  Find measurable points to weed out the ‘bobble heads’ and ensure that the message is received.  Understand your audience and be able to read whether the message sent is the message received.

Communicating the message is more than just saying it.  Successful communication of a training point is verifying that the message was received and understood.  Challenge your students and train in the life saving zone!

About The Author

Phil Ambrose first worked as a HazMat technician pouring radioactive monkey urine into drums for decay. Phil is currently a Fire Captain/Hazardous Materials Specialist/Paramedic for a busy metropolitan fire department in Southern California and founder of HazSim.com. Phil holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loyola Marymount University and trains first responders across the country using his patented Hazardous Materials Simulation Meter.

HazSim

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