Read an Excerpt
The Trainer's Toolkit
By Cy Charney Kathy Conway
AMACOM BooksCopyright © 2001 Cy Charney and Kathy Conway
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTrainers: Top Ten Tips
Focusing on key tasks will ensure success in the classroom.
1. Stick to an agenda
Everyone needs a plan. The agenda is the road map that will lead to the achievement of the learning objectives. Discuss and display the agenda, and outline times for each section. Point out where you are from time to time.
2. Focus on the learning objectives
Keep your eye on the ball. If you allow the workshop to stray too far and for too long, you will disappoint participants. Not using the tools on the job will produce no measurable performance improvement-the most important indicator of success.
3. Train adults as adults
The days of show-and-tell are long gone. You need to:
º Challenge participants.
º Respect them.
º Allow them to influence the process and content of the session.
º Give them the opportunity to learn through self-discovery.
º Provide a safe learning environment.
º Give feedback professionally.
4. Ensure equal participation
It is easy to allow the few confident extroverts to dominate discussions. You can ensure that the time is shared equally:
º Use a round robin, giving everyone the opportunity to comment, one at a time.
º Avoid eye contact with those who want to continue to dominate the discussion.
º Ask the quieter people questions directly.
º Privately make people aware of their tendency to dominate. Ask for their help in drawing others out.
º Thank people for their willingness to contribute, then say, "Let's get some other opinions."
5. Deal with dysfunctional behaviour
There is seldom a workshop in which at least one person does not seem disinterested, hostile, or withdrawn. These behaviors can be ignored only at your peril. In all cases, intervene whenever the behavior is affecting others in the workshop:
º Approach the person.
º Make the person aware of your concern.
º Focus on the problem. Do not make a personal attack.
º Listen to any complaints the person may have.
º Offer help, insofar as you may have control over the problem.
º Ask for the person's cooperation by appealing to his or her maturity. 6. Give your best
People have high expectations for training delivery. You need to give 100 percent of your enthusiasm and knowledge to be appreciated. If things aren't going as planned, though, and you've tried to rectify the situation:
º Don't apologize for any shortfalls. Your participants may not even be aware that there is a problem. º Be assertive in dealing with the problem. Weakness and a lack of decisiveness on your part will erode trainees' confidence in the program.
7. Review the agenda
At the end of each day or the beginning of the next day, review what you have covered. This can be done through:
º A brief summary by you.
º A round robin, asking people to call out one thing that they found useful so far.
8. Listen to the trainees
Never work in a vacuum. You ignore participants at your peril.
º Listen to what they say and how they say it.
º Observe body language. Negative signs may include:
* Rolling eyes * Avoiding eye contact
* Crossed arms and legs
* Folding arms behind the head and leaning back
* Leaving the room frequently
º When you notice a problem, listen closely to questions so that you can fully answer them. You can do this best by:
* Rephrasing their questions, to confirm your understanding.
* Not filling your mind with a rebuttal or even a better idea as someone is
9. Provide a safe environment
People need to practice skills before they can be expected to use them in their work environment. You can create a sense of security by:
º Using humor and self-deprecation.
º Stressing the importance of learning from feedback.
º Being a role model, then inviting feedback on how you are doing.
º Establishing a learning contract that stresses the importance of helping one another through feedback.
10. Have fun
People learn best when the environment is relaxed and they are enjoying themselves. This will not detract from the importance of the task at hand. You can help to keep a smile on participants' faces by:
º Telling appropriate jokes.
º Laughing at yourself.
º Illustrating theory with amusing anecdotes.
º Using short activities that are fun.
º Keeping an upbeat tempo.
Excerpted from The Trainer's Toolkit by Cy Charney Kathy Conway Copyright © 2001 by Cy Charney and Kathy Conway. Excerpted by permission.
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