By Alexis Straiten
When looking at the evolution of language, we can see that things have changed in the past twenty years. So, how do trainers keep up with new trends, new slang and what audiences want and need to hear as the language evolves. How do young trainers succeed when it appears, the odds are against them? They must appeal not only to different generations, but different backgrounds, cultures and occupations that require unique needs and wants from so many distinctive people.
A trainer can remain timeless and appeal to their seasoned veteran’s audience, but the difficult part is appealing to a more youthful audience. In order to appeal to younger audiences today, young trainers must understand three concepts.
Social Media is Your Friend
When planning a talk or an event, one of the most effective ways to engage a younger audience is to include some form of social media. That may be in a scavenger hunt where the clues are posted on Facebook. It can also be an interactive, office wide challenge that can help bring a company closer through a fun activity that reminisces the old days through new ways of technology. What makes it difficult to attract young audiences is that according to studies taken, on new age adults, the average attention span of a millennial or generation y adult is about 8 seconds, that which is shorter than a gold fish. Often it is not the trainer who cannot keep the attention of a youthful audience but that the audiences need to be engaged periodically throughout a training workshop or they will lose their focus on what is at hand.
You Must Understand New Lingo
Not only does appealing to a millennials attention span through consistent engagement help, but understanding a few things they might say can help build a rapport between a trainer and their audience. One phrase is “Slide into the DM’s”, this is used in two different ways which if you ask any millennial they will most likely have heard of one, but there are those few who know both definitions. But when looking up “Slide into the DM’s” that phrase has not quite hit Webster’s Dictionary, so the next best thing was Urban dictionary, where you will find what younger groups are saying and the meaning behind them. The definition given was sending a direct message to someone confidently and smoothly. This is not only in regards to twitter but can apply to Instagram and Facebook.
One of the last things that will help a new trainer when appealing to a younger audience is remembering that times have changed and so have people and the way they view themselves. As people have become more comfortable in their bodies and proud of who they are, trainers can be some of the first to recognize this.One way to do this is by introducing gender pronouns into your training. An example is when you introduce yourself you may start by saying “Hello, my name is ____, my gender pronouns are he/ him/ his or she/her/hers”. Then continue to ask the audience to do the same with a partner, it lets people become aware that there is not just “he and she” but many more people beyond that. This also gives room for people who may have been feeling scared and alone to know they have support.
In all, there are three things to remember as a new trainer entering the Training and Development world. Remember that social media is your friend, it doesn’t bite and can only help you when trying to connect your audience with one another. Understanding the lingo will help you, as a trainer, connect to your audience and build a better relationship. When beginning with gender inclusive pronouns, you open up the conversation and audience to that of a safe and brave space. Use these three tools and they could be a factor in your success as an up and coming trainer.