Training company personnel is a tough job.
Business owners sometimes assign training tasks to the most competent and knowledgeable team members, without considering whether or not that individual is equipped to conduct a training program. Consequently, inexperienced trainers suddenly find themselves thrust into a role that they are completely unprepared to perform.
New trainers should take comfort in the fact that even veteran trainers experience their share of ups and downs. But whether you're new to the job or a seasoned pro, have a plan and keep your composure throughout the experience. Here are a handful of tips that will benefit any leader who has been assigned the task of training employees and managers.
- Know the material. Once you have been designated to lead a company training session, your first step is to know the material inside and out. If you haven't done much training before, a firm grasp of the content will increase your confidence once you're standing in front of a group of people.
- Coordinate with co-trainers. If you are part of a training team, it's important to coordinate with your co-trainers ahead of time. You don't want any surprises on the day of the training session and co-trainers often have different ideas about how to approach the material.
- Establish ground rules. By establishing ground rules at the beginning of the seminar or event, you create a framework for yourself and your trainees. A concise set of simple ground rules can lay a foundation for interactions between participants. More importantly, it can set the tone for your expectations and the way you will interact with participants.
- Be "presentable". Trainers should always conduct themselves in a professional manner. This means dressing appropriately and acting in a manner that is consistent with your background and experience. Although it's appropriate to discuss your qualifications, a training session isn't the place for an egotistical attitude or name-dropping.
- Encourage discussion. Discussions and interactive learning techniques should be encouraged. By encouraging participants to engage is a dialogue from the outset of the training event, you can create a casual and relaxed training environment. Trainees who interact with trainers learn more from the experience and are more equipped to apply their learning in the field.
- Fake it 'til you make it. "Fake it 'til you make it" is an effective strategy for new trainers. No one expects you to be perfect the first time out of the gate. But despite your lack of confidence, it's important to act like you know what you're doing from day one – even when you feel ill-equipped to lead.