Laura Scala's Blog

During class yesterday, we learned a trick to help simmer down a potentially hostile audience member in a training session.    The idea is to remain calm and in control and allow the person to vent out all of their frustration.   The person challenging you as the trainer is gearing up for a fight and if you don’t get emotionally charged at them….the situation tends to fizzles out.

What I liked so much about this technique is that it requires the trainer to just listen.   Something that we expect and hope from the members of the audience attending our training session.     Perhaps expect is too strong of a word but we can certainly hope for attention and hope that we get through as they listen to what we are trying to say.   

That is exactly what this technique demands of the trainer…to change roles and be an audience member if only for a moment so the person upset or frustrated can have the floor.     The power shift in the room probably wouldn’t go on for a whole while but it would be enough to prove that not only can the trainer model what active listening looks like but that they are confident in their skills to shift the power back continue on with the training.

Besides listening are there any other skills that the audience members are anticipated to show that the trainer could also do that would benefit the entire session?


Reflection –can be such an amazing thing …reflection in the mirror early in the morning…may be something  I’d prefer to pass on!!     But speaking of reflection and how it can benefit and enhance the learning process is incredibly useful.   

Recently in a passage I read in “Learning in Adulthood”  by Sharan Merriam the concept of reflection in action and reflection on action was discussed.   

reflection in action–is like thinking on your feet.  If you are the instructor in a class and things are not going so well you make a change in the lesson plans to course correct the problem as the class is still in session.

Reflection on action–thinking about how something went after the event has occurred.   Like after a big presentation and you take a moment and think about how it went, what could have been done better and what really went well.

I am comfortable thinking on the fly in a training situation but find that I tend to fall in the later category when conducting presentations.  While I am always looking to find new ways to improve presentations, I am more comfortable thinking about it when I have time to reflect and make comments/notes to myself or elicit feedback from other attendees.    I find that reflection in action would be in may ways more effective and but requires more trust on my part that I am reading the room right and can make the necessary changes on the fly.

Have you ever been in a meeting/presentation and needed to think on the fly and change direction?    If so, do you have any tips/tricks that can help provide guidance on when and how to make the change in real-time?

Thanks again for stopping by and looking forward to hearing from you


It was such a delight to see a lot of folks comment on the last blog entry and state that they are life long learners.   That made me feel great to be surrounded by people who love to learn and are planning to live their life that way.   It is certainly a state of mind and desire and one that I find very rewarding.

Recently in the training class I am in, the concept of mandatory and voluntary training was discussed.    We were reviewing how audiences react or behave when attending a mandatory training vs. voluntary training.     Being someone who is always pretty excited to go to any training (not only b/c I like to learn but it’s a goal of mine that one day I’d be the trainer)  I had to think about this for a bit.  

After reflecting on it, I had to agree that when anyone is forced to attend anything mandatory it can be a drag on the attendees and change the whole atmosphere in the room.    But when it’s a session you want to be at, the whole experience changes.

I was curious about how other life long learners felt about attending mandatory trainings… you get excited regardless if the session is mandatory or voluntary—  or do you kind of dread the mandatory feel of the training?    Has anyone worked at a company that used a different method or word for mandatory training that helped boost moral and training attendance?  

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts..

Are you a life long learner?

One of the books I am reading for class (Learning in Adulthood by Sharan Merriam) brought up a topic that I experience daily but never really thought much about it except that is was necessary.   To paraphrase the info….the book talks about how society puts demands on what is considered required learning.  Depending on what type of society you live in (back in colonial times…needed to learn a skill and now a days high school diplomas may be considered by most a requirement along with a college degree).   

I’m bringing this up because this was a very interesting concept for me to wrap my head around.   I consider myself a life long learner..someone who is curious and feels that in order to keep up and stay relevant I need to continue to learn new things and push myself.   I just didn’t realize one of the reasons I was doing it was because of the society I live in. 

Another thought brought up in the book is that major changes in the world we live in will also impact the types of classes or education that is sought after.     

Thinking about the world we live in today, I would say that classes that help people learn how to live “more green” and perhaps how to detach or release ourselves from the amazing amount of information we are asked/required to absorb on a daily basis would be in hot demand.

I’d love to teach or take a class on detoxing from the crazy amount of demands for information (emails, text, facebook) etc.   Even as I begin this journey in blogging, I look forward to a visit or a call from a dear friend…so much more meaningful yet increasingly more rare…I know I certainly email more than I call.

As you think about your life, would you consider yourself a life long learner?    Are you hungry for more information for  your personal and/or professional life?      What type of classes do you think the future of our society holds in store for us? 

Thanks for reading this and please do let me know what you think by posting a comment.



  • None
  • elaine: I felt a great deal of relief after learning the "tell me more" technique. Assuming I can remember to use it in the heat of the moment, it's a nice wa
  • Kiki: I think that being authentic and communicating openly and honestly are also two way streets!
  • frontrangetrainer: I think that motivation for learning as an adult depends on where a person is in their life/career. Personally, I am in information-vacuum mode right