Introduction to a stress-management workshop
Introduce the trainer(s)
It is important for the trainers to share something of themselves and their own experience, so that those attending the training can relate to them and feel that they know what they are talking about. In some cultures qualifications are important; in others, relevant experience is considered more important.
Introduce the training
Explain the purpose of the training and the topics that will be covered, making clear that any personal issues discussed will be kept confidential. Confidentiality is not well understood in some cultures, so you may need to explain what this means and to ask how the group members feel about not revealing to people outside the group (including family and absent colleagues) what others in the group have said about themselves.
Explain the schedule for the day as well. Let people know when you plan to have breaks for coffee, or lunch, and what time you expect the training to end.
Introduce the participants
Participants (and interpreters) should then have a chance to introduce themselves. Even if all the participants know each other, this allows the trainer to hear from them. Asking each participant to say something about what they hope to gain from the training can help you to know whether you can meet their expectations. It also starts them thinking and actively learning.
Icebreaker discussion or exercise
Start with an ‘easy’ initial discussion topic or a fun exercise to help people relax. Here are two examples:
- During the time when participants are introducing themselves, ask them to say one thing that they enjoy doing, that helps relieve stress for them. (This helps the group to start thinking about effective stress-management strategies.)
- Ask the group this question: “What changes have taken place in this country and this organization over the past two years?” Then ask how people feel about the changes. Talk about change being tiring, even when it is positive change. (This helps the group start to think about change as stressful, and the definition of stress.)
Stop and Think
- What would your national staff want to know about the trainers leading the training?
- How would you explain the purpose of the training to participants?
- What would be a fun way for participants to introduce themselves, or another icebreaker discussion for this training?
Next: Defining and discussing stress