Cartoons For Trainers

Training Cartoons Used In Presentations

Training cartoons are a specialty that’s offered by many professional cartoonists. A recent conversation with several professionals in the field of consulting and presenting was interesting and revolved around using humor in their presentations.

The viewpoints vary but one constant remains . . . cartoons can help. The following  viewpoints are short and to-the-point and each different viewpoint is easy to interpret. Using cartoons for consulting projects is an investment that is worth it.

training cartoonsI work on the basis that unless you are naturally gifted with the ability to understand humor and appreciate cartoons and comics and have a talent for wit and repartee AND comedic timing then AVOID using cartoon humor like the plague.

I do use cartoons and although I don’t have a huge file of them, I often find that funny things are said or done by the delegates on training and because it is a safe environment it’s OK to have a giggle.

And for those who don’t understand cartoons, then there’s not usually a shortage of volunteers to explain.




That said not all subjects are funny, nor the reasons for the training in some cases so gauging the audience is key.

I was performing a re-cap on essential skills and techniques needed to be successful in the role they were doing (we had a list of about 20) and I was working my way round the group in turn asking for answers and most of which were speedy responses.

Then we got to one delegate who stopped, rolled his eyes, squirmed a little, thought a little more and after about 10 seconds of painful silence he blurted out “quick thinker!”

Unfortunately he was the only one in the room that didn’t realize what he had just done. Cartoon humor, all for it. Did see this certain cartoon in . . .

Cartoons are a powerful weapon

Humor in training is a powerful weapon but can explode in your own hands.

The use of humor is depending of the training’s topic and the trainees themselves.

I have trained a lot in Africa and Middle East and I had to be careful of culture difference, ethic, ethnic group, people position etc…I use humor sometimes when I begin to know my audience (only after the 1st or 2nd day of training) when the atmosphere becomes heavy due to the difficulty of the topic.

Then I can carry on and build on it. In my field, most of the people know each others and the trainer cannot have the reputation to be a joker as he/she carry the company image.

I think it is a very important aspect of any training session. Use of cartoons will add great value while trying to connect with people especially the dour, difficult types

extremely important !! my two cents on Don’ts
1. Keep away from any cartoons on sex, Politics and Religion
2. Best cartoons relate to the Trainer’s funny experiences but the trainer should not display cartoons that impact his credibility ..for eg.. Trainer needs to refrain from ” I once trained a batch on TTT, and to my surprise everybody in the batch failed to get certified”

Cartoons can be subjective and interpreted in different ways

Agree with what has been said, cartoons can be subjective, you need to establish if your audience is receptive to your brand of humor, but it can work.

You need to test it out slowly and gauge the response, but it can be a potential minefield.

Anything that can be misinterpreted due to language, understanding or cultural issues is best avoided. If you can laugh at yourself that can work well with an audience, but you need to be careful not to undermine your own authority and “cartoon credibility”!

Yes, make it clear that you can take a joke yourself with a little self-deprecating humor.

Poke a bit of fun at yourself. I avoid long jokes, old jokes and any other joke that anybody could have heard before.

However, think of how unique and impressionable you will appear by incorporating high quality cartoon humor into your presentation. Once people know the your sense of humor and the point you’re making, they understand better and are engaged.

The humor is in the room. People’s stories and experiences gift lots of opportunities for empathetic humor.

Also in training, funny or unusual things happen in class. Everything is potentially a humorous learning point on the + or – continuum.

Cartoons are an essential element for consultants

Cartoons can be an essential element in training, they helps your participants relate to you on a more human level, they lighten the mood and relax people – if handled well.

Some rules to using cartoons:
1. Don’t joke about subjects you know are taboo in your culture

2. Avoid cartoons about hot, current topics, people in the room may have strong feelings about the topic that don’t coincide with yours

3. Avoid cartoons about religion, politics, sex, race topics, just be safe

above all else – use common sense, stick to mundane topics and cartoons that everyone can relate to (referencing tv shows is bad, not everyone can relate).

Keeping those cartoons focused on yourself is less likely to insult someone else, they may not like it but at that point it’s not about them.

At the end of the day the cartoons you use need to compliment what you are doing in the room, not detract from it.

Cartoons are a double-edged sword. Comics can be used to break down barriers and give the presenter an air of approachability.

They could also be a distracting, even disruptive force in the session. A trainer’s job is to inform, teach, build skills, etc., not to entertain the class attendees.

A great cartoon that contributes to the understanding of the subject matter, in small doses, is effective.

Starting a session with a cartoon or monologue can work well in the trainer’s favor when planned out appropriately.

Training cartoons for trainers

Cartoons in the training room! Are you having a laugh? training cartoons
I believe that people are ‘safe’ in my hands.

So I start by building sufficient rapport that every delegate feels safe.

I’m good at rapport building, and if I misjudge a comment or joke,
or realize that someone has taken umbrage
(even accepting that offence cannot be given, it can only be taken),
I usually have enough ‘credit’ that it takes very little to regain lost ground; maybe just a question or two.
For example: in response to a bit of personal feedback* (in the group), a delegate
declared (accused?) me of being judgemental.
” Well, of course I’m being judgemental, that’s what human beings do.

We assess, evaluate, weigh up the pros and cons. Indeed, Aren’t you being judgemental in accusing me of being judgemental?”
She ‘got it’ immediately – and laughed, the group laughed and I laughed.

*I often precede feedback with, “On a scale of 1 – 10, how honest do you want me to be?” Don’t be afraid to incorporate the use of these kinds of special humor – yes, cartoons!, into your presentations.

Injecting cartoons when appropriate certainly can make your training session memorable and allows you to put your own personal spin on the content.

When I do systems training, the audience has quite a chuckle with the sound effects I use when describing what happens next on the computer screen – people have told me they really appreciate this about my session because it keeps them engaged.

Funny cartoons or examples about the training content are also very much appreciated and can reinforce key learning.

Find what is comfortable for you. Just remember, cartoons should have a purpose, be genuine, and come from the heart. Enjoy what you are doing and others will follow

Cartoons about management is one of my favorite areas as a HR Practitioner. Men & women will confess to murder,treason, false teeth, wig etc, but how many will confess to his/her lack of sense of humor!

Through using the appropriate kinds of cartoons, we can convey very important matters very effectively,it is like blowing a balloon & punch it with a blow,you get a punching end,but don’t make punching get diluted by explaining far or take away the effect of punching end,leave it to audience,it will remain with them for long

When I use cartoons in training, I take it from the situation. I don’t tell jokes. I am often a little self-deprecating, to show that it’s OK to make fun of yourself.

This creates a pleasant atmosphere where people are not afraid to fail (after all, one of the purposes of training is to test ways to do things in a minimal-risk and non-threatening space).

Humor tends to come naturally to the participants when they are in a calm and supportive environment.

In culture awareness training, I might even get people to define what they think is funny, to highlight the differences between cultures.

Humor is very different across the world, and what one person finds amusing, another one will not. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it. Offensive humor is guided by anger and fear, so it doesn’t work. Genuine smiles and laughter bond people rather than drive them apart

trainer-cartoonsA little self deprecation can be good and helps break down the space between speaker and audience.

Depending on your audience, cartoons do work – if you are doing a presentation at work among colleagues who you know well and where there is a good sense of camaraderie, where people know the in-jokes and the acceptable topics of humor, I’d say go for it if you feel confident.

With bigger audiences you might be on more risky ground if you get into joke-telling – potential audience reaction is harder to know, but no harm having funny pictures in your presentation to illustrate a point, or a tale or two that somehow ties in to what you are demonstrating.

Above all to ‘stranger’ audiences don’t share cartoons that require you to humiliate members of your audience – no-one trying to focus on a presentation wants to sit there in fear of being your next ‘victim’ .

As long as you are using cartoons as a link in your presentation or to relax your audience cartoon humor is a very useful tool to have in your kit

I use cartoon humor in all of my training sessions. I use it to encourage a less formal, lighter and more enjoyable atmosphere in my training sessions. Nobody wants to be the victim of the trainer’s ‘jokes’.

Keep it light and keep it friendly. For me, it’s about creating an atmosphere that is conducive to learning.

If the delegates enjoy the training, they are more likely to remember what they have been taught, and to be less afraid of putting their learning into action. After all, that’s what we’re aiming for.

My approach when working with a group who haven’t met me before is to start gently, smile and be friendly.

I like to assess the mood of the group and get to know them a little before using cartoons. Too soon and you may risk belittling yourself and the reason for you being there.

It is crucial to set the right tone so they know there is serious work and learning to be done and to establish your own credibility.

I also like to know how they feel about the training, to encourage buy in and to deal with any nerves or concerns about the session.

A few light comments about something topical that everyone can comment on and laugh about can work well. Check the news to see what is trending

I try to inject some cartoons into all of my training sessions-that’s just who I am. For me, it lightens the mood, and tends to make the training ‘stick’ better.

I like for my trainees to feel like we’re on a journey together. Cartoon humor lessens the space between trainer and trainee. Anyway, who wants to be serious all of the time?

When I was a student I used to do amateur stand-up comedy to earn some pocket money(you only got paid if you were good though!)… so humor has always been something which I naturally try and build into my training.

I think it engages and helps maintain interest. BUT the caveats others have raised are also very valid.

A lot of humor has the potential to be offensive or misunderstood because of cultural differences.

I was recently working in Switzerland with a group including many different nationalities. At lunch I found myself opposite a manager from China. I translated the menu for him but must have grimaced when I got to the horse meat.

“You don’t eat horse meat?” he inquired. Without thinking, I said “In England we’d eat the children before we ate the horses”. His quizzical look told me I had made a serious error. A lot of British humor uses irony extensively. We forget that it is not the case in other cultures.

I rapidly explained that what I had said was a very poor British attempt at a joke.

Strangely, later in the meal he inquired “But you eat donkey?”. – “No”, I replied. I had learned my lesson and wasn’t going to be drawn on that subject again!

For a group of adults sitting in a classroom, many for the first time since leaving school, cartoons are a vital part of any training.

It helps break the ice and helps delegates relax and feel a little more comfortable.

I train groups of up to 20 delegates at a time who are mainly commercial vehicle drivers who sometimes are not the easiest delegates to deal with.

If I can make them laugh and relaxed it makes my job easier and more enjoyable.
The internet is a good place to find new comics, web cartoons and gag panels and ice breakers to help them relax

I have with experience found that story-telling/humor and inserting cartoons capture the attention of my audience.

The stories I use are experiences I have which are relevant to the training session being conducted.

However the key element is knowing when to use cartoons – I use these anecdotal encounters post lunch, when everyone is feeling a bit lethargic. Cartoons are a great pick-me -up!

Training cartoons can be a valuable weapon for building rapport and relationships with trainees.

It can help break down communication barriers between learners. It does, however have to be complicate with the audience.

In my 10 + years as a trainer, I always found light humor as a way of gaining trust from trainees, allowing me to be more successful when having more difficult conversations

Be careful not to over use comic strips and gag cartoons or people stop listening to the content of the training b/c they’re waiting for the next gag.

I found this out the hard way when I had to teach a really dry subject. I tried to spice it up with cartoons and was blown away when a bunch of folks failed the test at the end.

When I asked for feedback I found out they were only looking for the funny stuff & not really paying attention to the content

As a comedy trainer and a Microsoft trainer (go figure, but there you are, it happened) I find the topic very interesting.

So often people confuse cartoons and comics with jokes. Different skill sets really. Often, jokes can be inappropriate, clumsily inserted and generally redundant.

Good cartoon panels in a presentation situation involves excellent rapport (that means understanding and respecting the culture you are working in), and works brilliantly for state management.

An audience who is woken from presentation / training trance, through laughter and recognition of their comments in discussions, will be one that learns and remembers

I am a hard core HR Practitioner.I use my own experience/situations I faced & managed to teach them my ‘Teachable Points’.

Sense of humor should come from your heart & should be delivered with conviction.One of my interns,a girl,was called for an interview for a post which had minimum 3 to 5 yrs’ work ex’,b’cause of my mfg’ colleague’s pressure,as she had done an excellent project in mfg’ for curbing absenteeism. As expected we selected an experienced candidate,though she was also interviewed as last candidate.

After the interviews were over & my Secretary announced the results,she came to my cabin & told me,”Sir everywhere people are asking for experience,except for marriage”.

I gave a serious thought to her statement,as she really made an impact & influenced a ‘paradigm shift’ in me.

After discussing with my functional heads colleagues,we evolved a Grad’ Eng’ Trainees & Mgt’ Trainees schemes,by recruiting fresh grad’s & MBAs & train them inside for future talent Requirements,which really supported our Bus Growth both organic & inorganic

I try to use cartoons in every class. But be careful what you use. Cartoons are like music, they can be uplifting and make someonestraining cartoons day or it can be counter productive.

Sensitivity is the key!! No cartoons on someone else’s expense, i.e. religion, race, ethnic group, gender sensitive or lifestyle sensitive.

I know, you are thinking:” the foundation of 80 % of the jokes are the above mentioned categories and it is hard to find a good cartoon not built on those categories”.

Rest assured, there are many, many jokes and “one-liners” that can amuse a student without offence. In my 40 years of teaching, I have been to too many classes where bad language and bad jokes where used to distract the students from bad instruction!

Just think of it that way: ” the student is the one that pays your wages!” A bad cartoon displayed in the wrong settings can be compared to a blind man wielding a sharp sword.

No good results will come from that. Humor your students in everything you do. And find a cartoonist who offers quality cartoons and employ that creator for all of your print and publishing projects.

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