Five Keys to Great Training Presentations

December 15, 2015 by  

Anyone can deliver a training session, but being an engaging, entertaining, and informative facilitator is an art. The skills necessary, however, can certainly be learned if you wish to improve your style and results. So if you wish to achieve more success in your sessions, consider the following keys.

1.The Opening: You have about 2 minutes to grab your audience, so best to begin your session with a shocking statistic, a challenge, an engaging story or an appropriate industry fact. If you do not capture the attention during this first few minutes, you will be chasing them for the rest of your session.
2. Audience Analysis: Find out as much as you can about your trainees so that you can be sure to use appropriate language when describing the concepts you are presenting. In addition, plan on a number of different ways to explain, demonstrate or illustrate the concepts taking into account the fact that few people are verbal learners, most are visual or hands on learners. Watch the faces of your trainees to “see their aha moments”, and if you see confusion be sure to offer other ways of delivering the concept until everyone seems to have “gotten” it.
3. The Plan & Design: When you plan your session, remember to repeat the key elements you wish the trainees to take away at least three times, as we all learn best through repetition. You can do this by teaching the concept, possibly showing a short video that depicts a workplace situation where the concept is used or abused so that they can see why they experience the resultant outcomes from their behaviour. Or you can offer them an exercise where they must apply the new knowledge to scenarios that are common to their jobs. Or you can provide an interactive activity that demonstrates the use of the concept or skill in a practical manner. Remember, the more active the trainees are in their learning experience the more retentive will be their learning.
4. The Delivery: It is a good idea to have a number of “back-up” plans in case what you try does not work for this particular group. You want to be sure to cover the pre-determined key elements however, exactly how they are delivered will likely vary with each group of trainees depending on the dynamics, previous level of knowledge, cultural mix, etc. In addition, occasionally, a “teaching moment” may come up if someone or more likely a small group of attendees have particular concerns around a concept. This when your flexibility and deep knowledge of the topic, as well as your optional plans can come into play and will keep your trainees engaged with the issues that resonate for them. What all trainers want is for the trainees to actually employ the new skills, strategies and options offered when they return to work. If that is going to happen you need to make it clear what the benefits of this new knowledge will bring to their tasks and outcomes. Finally, in preparation for the questions which may arise, try to anticipate what they may be by putting yourself in the shoes of the trainees, in that way you will be able to prepare for the answers you will offer. However, do remember this; you are human and not really expected to know “everything”. Only tell the truth, if you do not know the answer, ask if anyone else can provide the answer and if no one helps you, admit your do not know and invite anyone who wishes to help you research the correct answer and share what you all discover.
5. The Evaluation: After any training it is always helpful to evaluate your delivery: what worked, what did not quite work as expected, what could be improved, what needs to be eliminated. Also getting feedback from attendees can help you to tweak your plan and design so that future sessions will be more successful both for you and for the trainees.

Delivering training is challenging, interesting, rewarding, and fun when you approach it with the right attitude. Whether you have presented many sessions are just embarking on a training role, you can always learn new strategies and activities to make your workshops informative, engaging, fun and beneficial to those in attendance.
Remember to enjoy yourself as you set the tone for your session. When you are happy there is a much better chance that your audience will be happy too!

Tips for Great Training Sessions

November 27, 2014 by  

We know how adults learn. We have good intentions to create an environment that is conducive for learning. But there definitely are times when it is so easy to revert back to talking at our participants. Because most people are not verbal learners, offering interactive opportunities for the students to employ what they have learned to appropriate situations, will make the educational experience more meaningful, fun and conducive to retentive learning.  As a trainer, you must be aware of these issues in order to be effective when you create sessions for your students.

With that in mind, here are 5 basic adult learning principles to remember:
1. Adult learners want to learn. Most realize that participating in training and other opportunities is a critical factor in their performance and ultimate success. In addition, on-going learning is beneficial to healthy brain function as it stimulates our brains to open new neuro-pathways and continue to produce new brain cells.

2. Adult learners need to be assured that the material is relevant. Many participants have juggled tasks, projects and other responsibilities to make the session a priority. Reciprocate that priority by being mindful of the content and present it in a meaningful and beneficial manner.

3. Adult learners appreciate a forum where they can ask questions, challenge the status quo and practice in a safe environment. Give them the opportunity to include such activities in their learning experience; you may learn something, too.

4. Adult learners seek feedback on their performance. Adults appreciate an opportunity to share feedback. Again, include elements that will allow the student to measure what they have learned and see the value of employing new information in their work or home life.

5. Adult learners bring a variety of life and professional experiences with them.  So leverage that experience to engage learners and create a collaborative environment! Once more, this is an opportunity for everyone to contribute knowledge and expertise to the session then everyone gains!

Here are 9 really easy lecture alternatives that require little to no preparation, yet will spark different outcomes as opposed to simply straight lecturing:
1. Brainstorming in small groups
2. Pairs interviewing one another on the topic
3. Create teams & have them list as many possible answers to the question in 3 minutes
4. Write key points to communicate on index cards & pass them out, have participants read the key point, initiating discussion
5. Ask for specific examples from the group prior to the session
6. Poll the audience using a tool like PollEverywhere
7. Incorporate a question into an icebreaker at the beginning of the session
8. Create industry appropriate scenarios to be resolved in groups applying principles or concepts just taught.
9. Use games or short exercises to demonstrate how a new concept works (even offer prizes to the winning team)

If you incorporate the various training tools into your classes you will have more success and more fun as the outcomes will produce more retentive learning.

10 Ways to Become an Excellent Trainer

June 12, 2013 by  

In order to be considered a good trainer you need to be able to engage your audience and perpetuate that engagement throughout your session/s. This outcome requires preparation, ingenuity and curiosity. The more interactive you can make your presentations; the more retentive learning will occur in your training room…and the more both you and your attendees with enjoy the educational experience.
1. Stories are an excellent way to illustrate concepts.
People love stories and can relate to them as long as they resonate with why they are learning this strategy or how it can be applied to their situation. Anecdotes help us to understand the world around us and how it works. Story telling is an art, so refine this ability so that you will provide your students with memorable material.
2. How can you stand out from the crowd?
Dare to be different…present your concepts in an interesting manner. Establish your own style by appearing unique. Conjure up ways that will make yourself more un usual; think about what to wear, how to explain a topic, what visuals to use, what sorts of exercises to include. Be sure to make it all appropriate for the audience to which you will be speaking.
3. Provide Solutions.
People who come to a course are looking for a specific skill or fill a certain need. They have an issue and are looking for a resolution. Consider yourself a doctor who wants to help a patient overcome an illness or condition. Try to understand the problem, look for symptoms, search for the root causes, provide a possible diagnosis, and offer a treatment. Make the solution meaningful to the attendees with compelling reasons why they might consider adopting this approach.
4. Produce a Quality Class.
People admire quality and appreciate those who plan meticulously and systematically. Be sure your content is up to date and timely. Relate examples of the latest trends in the industry, show in depth analyses, charts or short videos that illustrate the complexity of the topic. This demonstrates your efforts toward helping the audience to understand the complex elements in a clear, simple and concise manner.
5. Communicate in a meaningful, engaging manner.
Training is about engaging others to the point so that they will actually compute the messages you are delivering in a way that will allow them to understand and remember what you have shared with them. Excellent training requires a great deal of preparation. You need to challenge them, entice them to begin with and then build on the module to grab and hold their attention. In order to keep them interested and focussed, you must exude enthusiasm and knowledge . Ultimately your goal is to bring them to a new understanding and possible acceptance of new habits.
6. Surprise Your Audience
In order to engage your audience, surprise is a great attention getter. Doing something unusual is memorable….if you can introduce an exercise, analogy or story that explains or demonstrates the concept in a surprising manner you will have a much better chance that your audience will remember the point.
7. Make Your Audience Laugh
Some topics can be dull or boring; if that is the case, the more entertaining you can be, the more likely they will stay engaged. People experience more retentive learning when they are enjoying the session.
8. Most People are Visual Learners
Images are much more memorable than words and people relate to them better, in fact your mind can recall images more easily than verbal descriptions. So, employ clip art, short videos, pictures, or props for anything with complex visual information. It will make the course more interesting and offer the attendees a better handle for remembering what was taught.
9. Use Metaphors in your Descriptions
Metaphors help people to better grasp a concept by relating one element to another one that is familiar to them. These examples provide free associations which enhance memory. This is another way to increase the retentiveness of your materials for the audience.
10. This is About Your Audience
Remember that your audience should be the focus of your training. Delivering training is not about you demonstrating how much you know about a particular topic, rather it is about helping your attendees to gain new knowledge and skills that you are able to make meaningful and valuable for them due to your expertise.

Being an Excellent Trainer, once again, involves a great deal of preparation and practice. Hone your personal presentation style, be engaging, entertaining and informative in ways that capture the interest and focus of your audience so that they will leave your session with new approaches to deal with the situations they face in their lives.