Developing Influential Trainers
In a recent article, I wrote of the importance of having trainers with the ability to deliver any content and achieve a measure of knowledge transfer. Good trainers achieve this through detailed preparation with the content and through audience engagement. It is through this engagement trainers are able to convince learners to readily accept the material, understand the application of the material in the work place, and internalize the material committing to altering behavior to implement the new information.
So how do we get these super-trainers? I could go into a detailed description of critical screening to ensure hiring managers select only the most capable for such a position, but we all know that seldom happens. Therefore, we end up working with what we have or what our HR department provides for us.
First establish a foundation, what do the trainers already know about the profession of training development and training delivery. Do they have a solid grasp of the adult learning principles, adult learning styles, and the generational implications? Do they have basic facilitation skills including the ability to establish and maintain a positive rapport, active listening, effective questioning techniques, and most importantly are they agile enough to read the audience and make minor adjustments in delivery to accommodate different audiences? Are they adept at public speaking? Do they use both verbal and non-verbal communication in both delivering the material, and in reading the audience? If not you might consider creating an internal train-the-trainer (T3) program for your organization.
The key components to the initial T3 program should include:
- Establishing and maintaining credibility and a positive rapport
- Covering of the adult learning principles in enough detail to allow the trainers to accommodate them in their delivery
- Covering the different styles of how adults learn to give the trainers a good understanding of why the material was developed in a certain way for a specific delivery method
- Covering generational concerns in the learning process to allow the trainers to modify delivery of content to accommodate generational needs
- Providing detailed information on the art and science of facilitation techniques allowing the trainers to integrate key adult learning principles to achieve knowledge transfer
- Understanding and implementing effective communication and active listening techniques
- Tools to assist in overcoming anxiety of public speaking
To ensure organizations continue to reap the benefits of more effective trainers its T3 program should also include a continuing improvement component. Senior training staff should consistently monitor delivery of training and provide constructive feedback on what the trainer should keep doing well, and what the trainer needs to improve upon. Using the initial T3 course senior trainers alter the conditions to meet the specific needs of the trainer. Depending on the industry, this component might be an annual, quarterly, or even monthly event. It could cover new tools in the adult learning industry, as well as operational industry requirement changes such as EPA, OSHA mandated training changes. Most importantly, this advanced T3 component should include opportunities for trainers to continue to perfect their craft through peer networking engagements at local, and if possible, national events.