Are you rewarding the behaviors you want? And, if so, how?

In this series, I’ll be providing tips to trainers, managers, and coaches on how to get behavior change–in the most positive way. That’s the way to move people forward with confidence.

Whether you’re a trainer, a manager, or a coach, you want to see changes (for the better) in your ‘clients’. How can you accomplish that?

By catching someone doing something they should keep ‘in their repertoire’ and rewarding it.

One of the things I constantly hear as I train trainers nationally, or teach my Instructor Development Course, is that trainers want to be more engaging.

They want to keep their audience’s attention. I’ll be blogging about that during this series. Right now, I want to narrow this down and talk about one way to get and keep your audience’s attention–and it works to motivate anyone you’re working with:

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

That’s the good news–and the bad news. Generally, when you compliment or reward someone for a good behavior, they will continue that behavior. But, in addition, people will repeat bad behaviors, too, if they are rewarded for them (the prisons are filled with people who demonstrate this truism).

Negative Nellies or Bash ‘Em Bobs?

To further complicate matters, some people were raised with negative reinforcement, and respond primarily to negative reinforcement (“you’re not good enough, you’ll never be able to do this, etc.”) These are the people who beat themselves up dozens of times in their heads for any mistake they make. In evaluations, they’re always hard on others. I had one of these people tell me, “You were great, but I only gave you 8 out of 10. I never give anyone a ’10.” Well, guess what, he is harder on himself that anyone else! That’s a tough way to live, but someone people always look at the dark side.

Accentuating the Positive

I don’t think, generally, that using negative reinforcement is a good strategy to employ, whether in or out of the classroom. So, I’m going to concentrate here on positive reinforcement, and specifically how to do it in the classroom. 

Getting and Keeping Their Attention in the Classroom with Rewards

I just did an instructor update with the very capable instructors of the Realtors of South Central Kansas. One of the topics they requested was some strategies to get and keep the audience’s attention. Let’s zero in, then, on one surefire way to do that, and it’s quick and easy to implement. Not only does it keep people’s attention, it rewards them for those positive behaviors.

For example: What do you do, as an instructor, when someone does a great job in a role play you’ve set up? You reward that behavior. So, here’s the principle: 

Use giveaways for great performance.

What do I mean? Here are some:

One of your favorite books (especially related to your topic)

A pamphlet or book you wrote (I have a small book, literally a ‘small book’ of Big Ideas, that is perfect for this. See it here.*

A CD or DVD

Starbucks card

Entry into a future seminar you’re giving/webinar, etc.

*I’m doing a presentation for Fidelity National Home Warranty Company next month, on how to present at sales meetings to grab people’s attention. So, guess what I’m going to be giving to the facilitators? You got it, the Small Book of Big Ideas!

You’ll Have Everyone’s Attention!

When you reward someone in front of others for a great performance, or being the leader of a group, or being reporter, you can be assured everyone will pay attention. You’re taking the spotlight off yourself and putting it on one of your audience members. 

The big question: What are you doing with your students in the classroom that sets up an opportunity to provide positive reinforcement with rewards? (like role play, reporting, small group facilitation, etc.).

Remember, behavior that’s rewarded is repeated, and you’ll grab and keep their attention!

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