Trainers are found in many forms and in all different industries.
Corporate trainers are hired by companies to deliver training to its employees in particular topics. Trainers can also be specialists in a vocational subject, readying the next generation of workers in all sorts of fields.
Here are some key attributes to have if you want to become the best trainer you can be.
Keep up to date with theories and practises of your industry
Many trainers have a specialty subject that they deliver training in over many years. Naturally, training material is shared from one session to another. Over time, these trainers can be teaching the same things for years and years.
However, industry standards, subject theories and societal values change over time. It is vitally important to keep up to date with these to ensure that what you teach in your training sessions is not only based on the latest research but it is also suitable for the modern cultural climate.
Know your trainees, read the room
Part of delivering appropriate material in your sessions is knowing who the people you are delivering it to actually are. What you teach in a session to one group of trainees might not be appropriate for the next group.
Different groups - for example, people of different ages or nationalities - might have a different background of understanding, different values and different learning styles. Make sure you fully research your audience to make sure you are training in a way that will best serve each group.
Even if your sessions do not involve sheets and presentation slides, it can be useful to have handouts to share with your training groups. Everyone is a different type of learner and some benefit more than others from being able to see information in front of them.
Similarly, videos can be a great tool to get trainees thinking about particular aspects of the subject matter. These can be especially useful in maintaining engagement if you are delivering virtual training because they help to break up trainees’ experience of concentrating on a screen.
You do not necessarily need to make these videos yourself – browse through clips on platforms such as YouTube and choose a relevant one from there!
During training sessions, it is important to be understanding and encouraging. Not all learners will immediately grasp the concepts you are introducing them to. Instead of getting frustrated at their slower-than-expected pace, be happy to go back over any material anyone doesn’t quite understand.
Another form of being encouraging is rewarding your trainees for their hard work. This can be as simple as saying “well done” or “good work” after they have completed a task. You can also provide them tips on how to do better next time or how they can do it properly in their general work day.
Make it clear when you begin a session that you welcome participation from each trainee. Encourage them to ask questions when they are unclear of something.
In addition, welcome trainees’ ideas and opinions on a subject. This will open trainees up to different perspectives, furthering their understanding of what they are learning. You as the trainer might even learn something new!
Be prepared and organised
Being prepared and organised in advance of your training sessions will help them run more smoothly. Make checks before your sessions such as knowing exactly where the files you will need are. Make a checklist before each session of everything you need to complete throughout its duration.
You can also make overarching plans of where you’re teaching, when and to whom so you know what your next few weeks of training will look like. This will allow you to prioritise your preparation and give you peace of mind that everything is ready.
Get feedback from trainees
You may be delivering all the correct training content but your trainees still may feel like they could have had a better learning experience.
It is in your own interest that you hear what your trainees have to say because you will become exposed to areas of improvement for your training delivery you had not thought of. When you have training sessions that trainees respond well to, your reputation will grow and so will your popularity as a trainer.
It can be very easy to get immediate feedback. One method is writing simple questionnaires and handing these out at the end of the session for your trainees to fill out before they leave. If you are hosting virtual training, make an online questionnaire and email your trainees with the link.
Like in any environment with new people, training sessions can be unpredictable. Trainees might not respond to the material in the way you imagined, lively debate between participants might occur or technology might fail.
All of these things do not have to mean your training is a disaster. Be flexible and open-minded in how you approach teaching, and prepare backup plans for when things go wrong.
Become the best trainer you can be with the Diploma in Training of Trainers (TOT) at Notting Hill College.