Tag: Training Series

Training Series: What you NEED to be an Effective Trainer. Part II

The following is continuing a series on topics regarding training and development.

I have been tackling the subject of Training over the last few weeks. You may have seen the post. If you need to catch up feel free to do so by reading Training Series: Calling yourself a TRAINER, doesn’t make you one (7/18/10) and Training Series: What you NEED to be an Effective Trainer. Part I - (7/26/10).

Here is Part II of “Becoming an Effective Trainer.”

6. Lay out and uncover the expectations - This is something that I don’t think many trainers, learning professionals, instructional designers and world renowned speakers do enough of. Many times those who are facilitating a subject just start right in. They begin with what they have in mind rather then ask about and uncover what the participants are expecting. There are individuals that will be in attendance that have been forced to come, are willing participants as well as those who saw a description but are in the wrong place with the wrong expectations for what may take place. If you do not ask peoples expectations, acknowledging that all the reasons they are there, then you may have problems. Those who have misconceptions will never feel you covered what they wanted. Others who are forced will never be fully engaged. By setting and asking those individuals their expectations you can clarify and get people on board for the activity that is to take place.

7. A chess like mentality - By this, I feel you need to have a sense of strategy. When you design a course you start out with the objectives and then scale back to the actual delivery.

8. Be aware of Logistics - A session is not just about showing up. It is about all the people who will be attending knowing where they are to be and what is to take place. It is about knowing where the exits and entrances are. Where to set-up, when and how you will give out handouts and supplemental materials. It is even about knowing when to take breaks and show people where the bathroom is. Know your surroundings. Understand that there may be some surprises. Have your presentations on a back-up flash drive. Send the files to your own email account. Be sure that the file formats you are creating are the same formats that are on the location you will be presenting at computer (i,e. there is a difference between Office 2003 and Office 2007).

9. Knowing that just because you know you messed up, doesn’t mean they know - This comes down to “never letting them see you sweat!” If you mess up, no one knows except you. The only way they will know if you tell them. So if you missed a slide, no big deal. If you said something too early, don’t worry. This is not to say that if you give incorrect instructions or technical information that you gloss over that. Admit those and make sure people understand the difference between your mistake and what is right. But don’t try to act like you are right in all situations. Someone will call you out.

10. Good intuition - It takes years to automatically know what to do in certain environments. How to handle tough participants and questions. A level of practice and expertise that will allow the one in front to deliver the right way in the wrong and right situations. After you have had enough practice in the trenches the intuition just comes. The best trainers and facilitators have this.

Are these characteristics you agree with? Is there anything to add (there always is)? Please feel free to leave them in the comments.

Training Series: What you NEED to be an Effective Trainer. Part I

common sense Training Series: What you NEED to be an Effective Trainer. Part I

You know what they say: Those who can do, those who can’t teach! So sad.

My Super Power, I got Skills

It is a definitive skill to be able to “know what you know” and be an expert at what it is that you know. It is another skill to be able to present, translate, explain and divert or engage in questions around the subject you know so much about.

This is a space where I do not mind voicing an expertise and feel confident in saying: “I know what I am talking about.” At least that is something I am confident enough to say.

Here are some essential skills that I believe are needed in order to be an effective trainer, facilitator or coach around a topic, process and concept; and equally transfer information, knowledge, practice and skills to the learner.

What do you need to be a trainer

1. Power of Preparation - They say that while you are a student in any class you usually need to study around 2 hours for every hour of instruction. For someone who is facilitating a class in any environment, a good trainer will prepare at least 3 to 4 for every hour of instruction. “Well that’s just crazy Benjamin. There is no way it takes that long!” Umm, then you have ratted yourself out and there are probably plenty of individuals that have seen you speak or lead a class and been less than impressed with your skills. They may have thought “I could have watched a video on Youtube or read an e-book on the subject.” Once you get good and comfortable with what you are delivering then the preparation curve significantly goes down. But until then… get to putting in the time

There is a need for detailed preparation that goes with leading as a trainer. (1) You need to understand the topics you are discussing. You do not need to know all the hidden mechanics, just the understanding of when to deliver information or forward participants to a person who knows better. You also (2) have to be prepared to not be prepared. Anything can happen so let it and work with it.

2. A strong, commanding and empathetic voice - You need to come across as an authority on the topic or at least someone that has good information regarding the topic, process, system or practice. People need to know that you know what you are talking about. If they can’t trust what you say to be true, then why should they be there. If you are not commanding - people will find you boring or Those that would rather not be there may even try to overshadow what you are doing. We all know that most smiley sheets that you receive are based on how much participants like the way you say what you say and how you facilitate, rather than the outcomes from what you have delivered. Be commanding but don’t over do it. You don’t want it to be perceived as egotistical, even if you are. Which leads to…

3. A level of Confidence - There will be individuals that will question your knowledge, approach and expertise on anything you lead. These direct and sometimes personal challenges will come from subordinates, executives, those that know nothing and those that know more than you. You will need to have the confidence and even cojones to challenge them back in the most respectful way without allowing them to divert you from what you are there to do… initiate the transfer of learning!

4. You DO NOT have to be an expert. you DO have to understand the expertise - I think that explains itself.

5. Assessment, Assessment, Assessment - You should evaluate the material you will present, the intended audience, objectives that will be covered and be sure that those objectives are delivered. It is even better to shadow or go through the process with others in real-life work situations. If you don’t make an attempt, then how will you know if the actions that were suppose to take place during the session will reach the correct result.

That’s the first half. Be on the look out for Part II, the other half of what you need to be an effective trainer.

In the mean time how do you feel? Are these first 5 characteristics that you have? Is there anything to add (there always is)? Please feel free to leave them in the comments. Would love to see the agreements and disagreements.

Training Series: Calling yourself a TRAINER, doesn’t make you one

Trainer and Facilitator

Recently I was reading a recent Compensation Force article by Ann Bares entitled Reward Design: It’s No Place for Amateurs and it got me thinking about HR especially focusing on being a trainer. There are many people that believe it is so easy. So simple that they tack it onto the end of their own title or profile as an add-on to what they are good at.

Have you ever been in a seminar

…sat through a webinar, classroom or lecture and the person facilitating, talking, or lecturing you through it is very knowledgeable about a subject, yet it’s quickly evident that they are clueless to how to present, create uniformity or transfer the ideas and concepts that you are eager to understand? It is especially frustrating when the person in front of you cannot help you make a connection to the topic, practices, system or approach.

They think they know, but they truly do not! But somehow you and everyone else knows this to the point where its eerily uncomfortable? Been there?

My theory: Just because you say you are, doesn’t mean anything.

Maybe I’m on a soapbox but just because you call yourself a trainer, have led a discussion on your own expertise, been in front of a group of people, or asked a question of a participant in a session - does not make you a trainer! It also doesn’t make you a facilitator. It only makes you a person that talks in front of a group.

An Analogy: (1) You are a recruiter, been doing it for years. You know the ins and outs. The behavioral interviewing questions. You know when you have the right candidate and know when they have the experience or just know how to answer a tough question. (2) You’re a benefits administrator. You understand your vendors products. How each regulatory change affects your employee package. You know who comes back every year during open enrollment. The typical questions you will receive and who to contact for their specific situation if need be.

(1) This year you are overloaded and someone else is asked to step in and help you do the interview screening for a position. (2) An accounting administrator offers to sit in with you during the open enrollment and health fair. All of a sudden you hear something to the affect of “Hey this isn’t so tough. I could do this.”

I know many people who are experts on a subject, otherwise known as SME’s, yet they do not know how to translate that expertise across platforms, people, departments, client partners and executives. They think, but do not have the slightest understanding of the situations that many partners, executives, employees and clients face in the day to day life.

Just because you did something for a day or two… just because you helped out for a moment… doesn’t mean you can take the punches repeatedly. It takes time to build the intuition in any job you do. It takes skill to teach others how to do it as well.

I want to know - does this happen to you? Are there individuals that think your job and specialty is easier then it is?

I will be doing a short series on this subject. “What you need to know:” on coaching, facilitation and training. Look out for it and let me know what you think. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section.


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