Standing in front of a group of participants and delivering training is an exciting experience that many look forward to. They may be desirous of taking up training as a full time career or their existing job may require them to deliver training. In either case, it calls for a certain set of skills to be a good trainer.
Based on my personal experience of delivering hundreds of trainings or seeing others growing or struggling to grow into effective trainers, I came to believe that a few essential skills are needed to step into trainer’s shoes. To become a master trainer, one needs to focus on some more advanced nuances of training delivery. In today’s article, let us focus on the essential skills for a good trainer.
Passion: I for one believe strongly that without a deep liking and passion for sharing knowledge, you cannot become a trainer. To deliver training just because it is a part of your job will not give good results. It will end up as a mechanical job, which even a robot can perform. When you stand in front of the audience, your presence must inspire them to learn. That should be the power of your passion. It must be contagious!
Communication: It is an essential skill to express your thoughts and do the knowledge-transfer effectively. We come across people who are very good in their domain knowledge but do not have a flow and fluency in their communication. It won’t make them good trainers. When I say communication, I do not necessarily mean English alone; even if it is vernacular language, one must know how to express and get across to the audience!
Presentability: Your personal grooming makes you more presentable, which helps in creating a positive first impression with the audience. At the same time, one must be careful in not overdressing. Appropriateness of dressing is usually in accordance with the audience. If you are talking to young crowd, possibly even a pair of jeans and T-Shirt may fly. And it may not work if you are talking to a senior management group or a team of workers in a factory.
Body Language: Your body language communicates your level of confidence to the audience. A relaxed smile on your face, arms at waist level and a pleasant eye contact are basics to start your training session. Dropped shoulders, avoidance of eye contact and fixation on the slides are a clear indication of your lack of confidence. Such body language doesn’t augur well for a trainer!
Audience Connect: This is the trick that good trainers perform at the very beginning of a session. They break the ice with the audience and feel comfortable to communicate. A bit of informal interaction before the start, listening to their expectations from the training or asking about their experience are some of the ways to establish audience connect. Primarily, a good trainer demonstrates interest in listening to the audience and makes training more of a dialogue!
Subject Matter: After taking care of the above basics, it is time for the trainer to open the topic of training. At this stage, his/her subject matter comes handy. A good trainer will carry out tremendous amount of homework (keeping in mind the audience profile) and get a grip on the domain knowledge. A good trainer must have clarity of thought in the topic of the training. Mere reproduction from a standard text won’t make you a good trainer. You need to distill and deliver the subject in such a way that it addresses the learning needs of the audience. Do not fall into the trap of delivering what you know; deliver what audience need!
Basic Design Skills: Training design plays a very important role in making the session interesting. For this, a good trainer must be familiar with the wide variety of training methods. Lecture is not the only training method; in fact, it must be least preferred. Case study, group work, quizzes, puzzles, problem solving, small games and so on can be used appropriately for effective training delivery. Even the sequencing of the topics must be careful done to sustain the interest!
If one can master these set of skills, training delivery will be an enjoyable experience for the trainer and an enriching session for the participants!