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10 tips for trainers

By PJ STEVENS Published 4th Nov 2013
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1. Have a plan and follow it. Sticking to an agenda is the first step to success. Think of the plan as a road map that will guide you towards the final goal. Make this plan visible to everyone so that you all share the same knowledge about the route you are taking together.

2. Focus on the learning objectives. A little bit of flexibility is OK, but workshops can quickly get off track if you're not careful. People like to wander off topic. This can help ease tensions in nervous groups, but the training schedule is usually tight so keep focused.

3. Respect your participants. They are adults, just like you. Put yourself in their shoes when you're considering what language to use. Make your topics challenging so that your group doesn't get bored, but also make sure that you listen to them so that they can influence the process of the session.

4. Strive for equal participation. There will always be one or two who are very confident, and they can easily take over a training session. Be polite but firm. Don't be afraid to ask the extroverts to keep quiet, and partner them with the quiet ones where possible.

5. Be prepared for resistance. Change is challenging, and people often resist the idea of training. You may have to take someone aside. You may have to put your hands up and say "I don't know what the boss is thinking either, but we're in this together like it or not". Just make sure you find some way to deal with dysfunctional behavior before it ruins the group.

6. Be your best, and believe it . Don't apologise. Be decisive. Arm yourself with knowledge and planning.

7. Review the day's work. Ask people to call out the most useful thing they've learned during the session.

8. Listen to the trainees. Make your training process one of constant observation , listening, and attention. Keep an eye out for negative body language, and try to pick up vibes that might give you a hint what's going on outside the training session. If you get the feeling that there is a problem, address it and listen closely so that you can help.

9. Make the environment safe. Use humour, and don't be afraid of making a fool of yourself in order to break the ice. Don't tolerate any mean behaviour within the group, and encourage those who are struggling.

10. Have fun. A relaxed, enjoyable experience is the most nurturing learning environment. Look for ways to combine humour and an upbeat tempo. Even the most resistant participant will usually find themselves getting involved if the environment is right.

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210 weeks ago, by Jackie
I've learned that less is more. The less I 'deliver training' and the more I facilitate the delegates' learning through exercises and activities, the better.
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