It is a real talent to command a room; to automatically be given the respect and attention of strangers is a rare gift few receive until they are skilled and adept. Some trainers that we inevitably encounter throughout our lives evoke many negative emotions, although their teachings are totally forgotten. All that is left is the lingering of dislike for the trainer as an individual. It is however those rare wonderful kinds of trainers that not only trigger a smile at the corners of your mouth due to a respect and fondness; these are the lessons that are not soon forgotten. All trainers use different approaches to keep the attention of their audience, but what tools and techniques really prevail and leave their teachings seared in our minds forever?
Have a think back to the best trainer you have ever encountered, you most likely respected their knowledge, thought of them positively and enjoyed their teaching skills so much so that you were interested enough to retain the information provided. Try and think about the way in which they spoke, their body language and the content of their lessons, all of these characteristics that you have witnessed can make you a fantastic trainer too. Don’t disregard the trainers that you disliked either, sometimes you can learn even more from the trainers that you remember negatively. What was it that lost your focus or respect in the trainer’s words? Were they arrogant, somehow condescending, rude, or simply not knowledgeable? It is all of these negative characteristics that you can learn from, and in turn actively avoid. This simple technique will soon ensure you are giving presentations to a room of fully engaged and highly interested open minds. Some skills that I have observed from the trainers who were effective in my study were; be sure to learn people names, teach through interesting life examples, make it interactive and enjoyable, ask lots of questions and be sure to get feedback.
It may be a daunting task especially if you are presenting to a large number of people, but learning the names of those in your class can be a powerful tool. Through using people’s first names you can establish a connection with them on a more personal level, and they are more likely to respect you and the information you are providing them. It is important to introduce yourself to the group and be clear to communicate the name which you prefer to be addressed. This will avoid confusion and any awkward misunderstandings along the way. It is an effective tool to use name badges or place cards to learn the names of students faster. When posing a question to the class, first ask the name of the student that is wishing to answer and then proceed to hear their response; the student will feel that their opinion is personally valued by you and will therefore continue to be actively involved in your presentation. Learning the names of the people in your course is a important tool when developing a mutually respectful relationship between trainer and student.
Have a think about how any personal experiences that can be linked to a point that you are trying to convey as people are usually fascinated by personal anecdotes and stories that you have to offer. This will keep the audience interested ensuring that they are more likely to retain the information that you are teaching. Be sure not to focus too much time on personal experiences as this can seem self-absorbed, but try and include interesting stories that relate to your topic where necessary to break up the teaching content and add value to your session.
One of the most important ways to make a training course interesting is to make it interactive and involving. Make sure to involve the class, and include hands-on activities that highlight the key points of your presentation. Team building exercises, writing exercises, even something as unusual as origami can ensure that your course is not only interesting but memorable.
Finally, one of the most useful tools when planning your next training course is to adapt from the feedback provided from your last. This can be as simple as asking the students what they enjoyed and what they thought could be improved upon. Some trainers have a simple anonymous review from that is handed out at the completion of the course requesting honest feedback. In this case people are more likely to give their honest opinions with can be invaluable when planning your next session.
Think, breath, relax and smile; you know your content well enough and have the tools to give a professional and memorable training presentation. Be one of those trainers that people never forget, and will try to imitate for years to come. Just be sure to have faith in your abilities, to believe in your teaching content and to respect and consider the opinions of all others and you are well on your way to making a great trainer.