By the time you finish college, how many classes, trainings, speeches and educational forums do you think you’ve attended or participated in? Hundreds? Thousands? And among those countless moments, how many had left a positive, inspiring and lasting impression and change? Personally, I’d put mine at about 1-2%
Whatever your ratio is, I’m sure we can agree that that these positive, changing experiences amount to very, very few in contrast to those you found otherwise lacking.
And it’s not even because the content was bad. Trainers and educators get hired because they are experts in their field. So, if you’re sitting in a class or a lecture or a training program, it means someone hired them because they had the credentials for it.
So, what exactly makes an effective trainer? One strong word: Impact.
When I talk about impact, I don’t necessarily mean having the countenance and volume or even the energy of Tony Robbins, though I’m sure it certainly helps.
What I mean is there are lots of other ways outside having a type A, extroverted personality that can add significant amounts of impact to the way you facilitate learning.
I could spend an entire day writing about the things you can do more to increase impact and effectiveness, but that wouldn’t be impactful of me.
So, let me leave you with 3 of our most effective methods of boosting impact.
- Make it as easy as you possibly can – Einstein said it in the best way: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Part of an educator’s job is to synthesize all the complex theories and methodologies you’ve learned into clear, concise and easy to digest information. It’s only okay to use technical jargon or difficult words when it helps us be more concise, or if it defines a lengthy idea into one good word. Deliberately speaking over-technically to sound smarter or more credible is vain and serves only yourself, so avoid it as best you can. Particularly so when you’re speaking to non-experts in your field.
- We learn more by doing – One of the easiest traps trainers fall into is overloading their trainees with information. Effective trainers teach basic concepts and combine them with time for actual practice. Designing activities that enable participants to ‘do’ will enhance the level of learning and retention. Should the participants encounter problems (which should be expected) the trainer can promptly use the situation to create a learning point and a moment to teach. Remember that effective learning is not so much about teaching but more about doing.
- He who talks, learns – It’s very important to engage your participants and encourage them to speak up and participate. Whether it be in the form of asking questions, solving problems or facilitating activities, involving the participants through dialogue and sharing will allow them to discover more about themselves and the way that they think about the topic at hand. The more they talk about the topic, the more they learn about the topic. Remember this.
As you can see, these three things have nothing to do with your personality, or how powerful your voice is. These techniques merely involve empowering your participants to take part in the responsibility of their learning, by speaking freely and contributing to the topic and by feeling involved and learning hands-on.
Simply put, always make it about them, and not about you.
If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to see you at our “Train the Trainers Workshop” on (date) at (place and time). Where we’ll be discussing in-depth strategies that enhance our effectiveness and impact as trainers and educators. If you’re somebody who’d like to get in the business of training but not sure how, this program is also definitely for you. See you there!
“A good teacher is like a candle it consumes itself to light the way for others”
– Mustafa Kemal Ataturk