Friday, November 11, 2011

Worst Trainer of the Year: 5 Easy Ways to Win the Award

This article has been published in the Learning 2011 Perspectives e-book (page 7), available here:

There are many ways to go about polishing your facilitation and instructional design skills to win the coveted "Worst Trainer of the Year" award. Here are 5 quick and simple tips to guarantee your win!

1. Go with the flow. Instead of spending time preparing your material and searching for the next great quote or example, be spontaneous. Trainees will appreciate watching the process of how you work and how you are able to come up with thoughts and ideas on the fly.

2. Practice reading PowerPoint slides. Audience members enjoy having presentations read to them, so that they don't need to read it for themselves. It's best not to have details potentially lost in translation. Practice "being green" by minimizing your presentation's font size and maximizing the amount of information on each slide.

3. Theory, theory, theory. Participants will take you seriously only if you provide them with all of the research that back up the theories that you are providing to them. Don't waste time on real-life examples when you can create hypothetical situations to explain your material. Avoid telling stories to illustrate your point. Attendees might find them too engaging and focus on them, when instead, they should be concentrating on memorizing facts and figures.

4. Take the time to explain all of the details to your audience, no matter whether it relates to their job or not. After all, they might need to know about it later on down the road. It's best not to assume that they have experience in the subject matter you are training about. Give them all the information that they might need to know, while you have their attention. If you are training a technical computer system, explain and have a discussion about each and every button, window and field that appears. It’s best not to leave anything out. Your trainees will appreciate your painstaking attention to detail.

5. Speak in a slow and even tone. Participants might find loud and over-enthusiastic tones to be jarring. Try to keep your volume low and your pace controlled. You will know you are successful if your audience members embrace the full experience of your presentation by closing their eyes.

If you snag the award, it's likely that word about your skills will spread quickly and you might soon see an impact on your attendance levels. But have no fear, facilitating fewer classes will free up more quality time to work on winning this award again for next year.

Karen Hanson is a Minneapolis-based Professional & Technical Trainer. A passionate classroom instructor, Karen enjoys on-boarding new hires and training technical systems-based classes. Originally from Malaysia, Karen relocated to Minnesota to attend college. Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration- Marketing & Management Information Systems and an MBA. Karen lives with her husband Bryan and their two children, Sophie and Jack. Her favorite food is mac and cheese (the real stuff, not the bright orange kind).

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