Trainers are at the forefront of corporate learning and development. It’s up to them to engage employees in training sessions that deliver real value, whether it’s a new skill or an important message about company culture.
But what makes a great trainer? What do they need to know? And how can they make their trainings more effective?
When you think of corporate trainers, I want you to think of confidence, sincerity, empathy, and perseverance. That’s who a great trainer is. That’s how they deliver results, get people motivated and communicate with them on a level that is more than just cryptic words on a slide. Trainers who have these characteristics are the ones who do well and have longevity in their career.
I know corporate training is a complex area as you want to not only be instructive with your training but also motivate your delegates to improve their productivity and satisfaction. I’ve been training for the past 30 years. I’ve run training for major corporations, I’ve taught a college courses, and I’ve done trainings for thousands of participants and VIP’s. I have created a formula that will help you approach corporate trainings and make it an efficient process for everyone involved: From the learners’ point of view, from the instructor point of view, from the HR point of view, and from the Corporate Training department point of view, but I have also learned valuable training techniques you can apply to your own trainings.
But how do you make sure that your training is effective?
Here are six tips to help you maximize your impact as a trainer:
1- Identify your audience and purpose
“Who” is the first question you should ask.
Who is your audience?
How many people are in it?
What is their job function?
Are they internal or external to the organization?
Once you have a handle on who your audience is, it’s time to think about the “why.” Why are you presenting this training?
What do you hope participants will gain from it?
It’s important that your training aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives.
2- Decide on the best delivery method
Once you’ve identified your audience and purpose, it’s time to decide how best to present your training material. Will it be a face-to-face session or online training? If it’s face-to-face, should it be delivered in person or by video conference? If online, is there an existing system that can be used or does a custom solution need to be developed? Is there another option that may better suit your needs?
3- Planning effective learning activities
Once you’ve decided on a delivery method, then comes planning effective learning activities. This includes determining what type of content will be delivered (textual, visual or auditory), how much time each activity
4- Be prepared to adapt your materials
No matter how well you plan, sometimes things don’t work out exactly as you expected. You might need to modify your material to account for an unexpected situation or change in schedule. Be prepared to adapt your materials if necessary.
One way to do this is by having a back-up plan. For example, if you’re going to be teaching a group of people who have already had training on this topic and they’re all familiar with the content, you may need to focus more on reinforcing their knowledge rather than introducing them to new concepts and techniques.
Another way is by being flexible with the timing of your presentation. If you find that there are some points where people aren’t grasping the concepts as quickly as you’d like, try changing the order of things and see if it improves the results.
5- Make it interactive
A great trainer is one who can not only deliver their message but also engage the audience. They can engage the audience by making them feel comfortable, involved and interested in what they are saying. They do this by making eye contact with each person in the room, using their hands to gesture when they speak and by allowing time for questions to be asked at the end of their presentation. The best trainers are able to deliver their messages in a way that is both informative and entertaining. This means that they have an understanding of what makes people tick and how to make them open up about themselves and their lives so that others can learn from them too.. Here are a few of my favorite strategies:
- Use role-play scenarios. A role play is when you act out a scenario with a volunteer or participant that gives them an opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom. This approach can be especially effective when trying to teach soft skills like communication or conflict resolution.
- Give more than one answer. If you’re teaching something that has multiple right answers, give more than one option in case one doesn’t work for your audience. This way, you’ll make sure everyone gets it right and it won’t distract from your lesson plan by having them choose between two wrong answers.
- Ask questions throughout the presentation instead of at the end of the session. This will keep participants’ attention throughout your presentation instead of losing them after they’ve already finished listening and asking questions about what they already know (which happens all too often).
- Use different types of questions throughout your presentation – open-ended ones, closed-ended ones and so on. This will help keep people on their toes and maintain interest in your course or presentation.
- Ask for opinions (“what do you think about that?”) or reactions (“how did you react when … ?”). You can also use statements as prompts (“I think it’s true that…”). These will allow participants to express themselves and add variety to your training session.
- Ask for examples from participants’ own experiences – this will allow them to relate better with what they’re learning and make it easier for them to remember what they’ve learned later on. You can also ask them if there are any questions they have about anything else in the course at this point – this will give them a chance
6- Use Visual Aids sensibly
Visual aids can be a powerful teaching tool in the training session. If used correctly, they can help delegates retain information better and understand concepts more easily. However, using too many visual aids can actually have the opposite effect. Here are some tips to help you use visual aids effectively:
- Use them only when necessary. Visual aids are great for explaining difficult concepts or showing complex processes, but they’re not always necessary for every lesson. If you find that you’re using a lot of them, ask yourself whether you really need them or if there’s another way to communicate the same information without visuals.
- Don’t use too many at once. Visual aids should always be used sparingly — never more than three at one time on any given slide or page. This will help keep your presentation simple and easy to follow.
- Don’t read from the slides. If you must read from a slide, don’t stand at the back of the room; sit with your audience so that you can answer questions and encourage discussion on what you’re saying.
- Keep it simple. Instead of trying to cram too much into your slides, focus on keeping things simple and clear by using only one main idea per slide (or even just one main idea per slide with supporting details). This will allow your audience to focus on what’s important and not get confused by extraneous details that could detract from their understanding of the subject matter at hand
- Use analogies and metaphors whenever possible. They help people understand abstract concepts by relating them to concrete examples that everyone can relate to in their own experience (e.g., “It’s like driving down a dirt road”).
7- Be friendly and approachable.
If learners feel uncomfortable asking questions or making comments during training, they won’t learn as much from it as they could have done otherwise. Trainers should always encourage participants in class discussions and answer any questions directly so that everyone feels comfortable asking anything at any time
You can’t become a successful trainer in a day. It takes years of dedication, hard work and practice to get to where you want to be.
You’ve got to love what you do, because if you don’t, it will show in your training sessions and your clients won’t stick around long.
You’ve got to have patience and trust in the process. You can’t expect results overnight, but with time and effort anything is possible.
You’ve got to believe in yourself and the path that has taken you this far. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?