Every trainer or educator starts out with an idea of what they would like to impart, a rough outline of how they want to impart it, and a basic concept of what they want their trainees to do with the knowledge once it has been imparted.
Of course, many trainers never get much beyond that point – but for good trainers, this is just the beginning.
So how do you go from the idea to the actualisation?
That’s where the Trainer’s Toolkit comes into play.
Most trainers, as they develop their skills, have a set of hints and hacks that they keep ‘in their back pocket’, as it were.
But rather than keeping those hints and hacks to yourself, why not ‘take your light from under the bushel’ and share them with other trainers – to improve the industry as a whole?
At a recent meeting of a Toastmasters club dedicated to improving training skills – Global Trainers Online – the issue of Training Tools was raised in what’s known as Table Topics (where participants are asked to speak for between one and two minutes on a topic given without notice)
Members – most of whom work in the training field – were happy to share some ideas.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the tools dealt with “what to do when things go wrong”
One member, for example, was asked how to deal with technical failures – such as a blown bulb in a projector …
He spoke of the need to ensure there are alternatives – and to avoid reliance on technology if at all possible.
“I’m not so much reliant on projectors these days .. I think working with projectors is a bit like working with children and animals – you do it at your own peril!” he said.
“So, I like to have old-style stuff like paper, objects, those type of things and rely on the knowledge in my head – because that’s really what the people are looking for.”
“If I have prepared information prior to that we can just go to another topic – but when this (a failed projector) DID actually happen, I just said ‘Lets just look at the material in your books’ – and we worked through that. Then, when we had a break, we found a new projector and picked it up where we left off.”
So – in that case – the tool was to have a flexible delivery style – and be willing to modify the coursework as required.
Another trainer spoke of a session she had in a workplace with a somewhat fractious group of trainees.
The session began at 6am, and was scheduled to continue until mid-afternoon – but the participants wanted it to end sooner.
Of course, her client wanted – in fact expected – the full course to be delivered, so simply dropping some items wasn’t an option.
In what the member described as a “psychological contract” with the participants, she negotiated a shortening of the mid-morning break, and a deferral of the lunch-break until after the training session was completed.
That meant those who felt they had to leave (to fulfil other work commitments, for example) could leave instead of staying for lunch – and the whole training program could still be delivered.
Of course, sometimes there are external influences that make effective training delivery all but impossible.
I was asked, for example, what I would do if the world’s loudest lawnmower started up just as I started delivering my training.
I did suggest sabotaging the garden equipment – but I’d like to think I also came up with a less expensive physical fix, of sorts …
So – these have all been ‘fixes’ from the Trainers Toolkit.
Next week, we’ll look at tools that you can use to make things go right in the first place 🙂
And if you have any favourite training tips and tools, feel free to add them in the comments below.