The trainer plays a key role in skill development and ongoing improvement of collaborators. However, to deliver an efficient, or even absorbing training, being a good expert is not enough.
During a round-table animated by Carine Alavoine and Thomas Raffin at Wemanity Learning Center, we explored good practices that turn a good trainer into a rockstar trainer. How to create a link with participants to the training in order to give impact to your words? How to anchor the learner’s knowledge and ensure what’s learned will be applied after the training?
We share with you the most essential reflections, pieces of advice and tricks to become a talented trainer!
Note: Those pieces of advice are must-go-to in our opinion, but many others exist. The most important is to know yourself, to be able to give a style and a true signature to your trainings.
1. Focus on the Trainer’s Role: The Cornerstone of Any Successful Training
Being a trainer means you pass on knowledge – theoretical, practical, and professional – to an adult audience who is often eager to gain new skills and expertise.
At Wemanity Learning Center, we opt for experts in their fields to conduct trainings, rather than people whose main job is being a trainer. We recommend every expert to dedicate part of their time to training others and put on their trainer’s hat now and then in order to offer impactful and engaging trainings.
Wemanity Learning Center is a community of over 80 trainers who gave over 600 training days and trained over 3,000 people in 2022.
Passing on knowledge comes with a good training conception and efficient training programs. Trainers can lean on many proven teaching techniques in order to achieve a quality training, such as:
- Learning and doing: It usually consists in 3 steps, which are showing, reformulating, and reproducing. The trainer shows what’s expected, participants explain with their own words, and then reproduce it.
- Learning by answering: As its name says, it leans on taking part in a series of questions (quiz, questionnaire, etc.)
- Learning by doing: It consists in putting participants in an actual situation, for example with case studies or role-play.
- Learning by experiencing: Quite close to learning by doing, it combines action and reflection to upskill participants.
Trainings are divided into sessions. Those sessions are training periods of time whose length and format can vary depending on the training’s goals and the trainer’s teaching techniques: Workshops, conferences, webinars, etc.
Choosing a good trainer allows for collaborators to get quality training, but not only…
Calling a talented trainer can have positive repercussions that could go beyond the actual training: A higher motivation of collaborators, a stronger performance, an enhanced enterprise culture, an improved competitivity, retention of talents, a support for enterprise transformation, etc.
2. The Good Practices of a Good Trainer
Many required qualities came out of the round-table ‘’How to Become the Rockstar of Trainers?’’, including adaptability, credibility, dynamism, passion, and patience.
Some major qualities appear as fundamental for anyone who wants to be an excellent trainer.
Of course, mastering your subject is a prerequisite for quality training, but it’s far from enough. You have to be able to pass on your knowledge.
This ability to engage an audience is really what’s going to make the difference between a good trainer and an excellent one. Without this card up your sleeve, it’s going to be very complicated (if not impossible) to capture the interest of participants. Being a pedagogue also means being able to adapt to your audience and engage them, making them active participants in their own learning: depending on the people you have in front of you, it’s not necessarily the same mechanisms that will be most effective.
When a training is conducted 100% online, having everyone engaged is even more difficult. We need to go even further and use more imagination to catch participants’ attention.
A good trainer must be able to change their way of teaching, to surprise the audience, involve them,… in summary, he/she must have a creative streak.
Varying teaching methods and training formats will allow for the training to have a bigger impact. In order to find the ‘’recipe’’ that will best match with your participants, don’t hesitate to explore, test, experience. Dare! We share with you the latest training trends to follow in 2023, so you can offer innovative teaching formats and methods and choose the right pace for your trainings.
Active listening and adaptability
Paying close attention to feedbacks from learners and comments about the training allows the trainer to improve themselves and continually adjust the approach.
Every learning group is different, with varied needs and expertise levels. A good trainer must adapt to those differences and adjust the approach accordingly.
How to create relevant training groups? Ninon Stref, co-leader at Wemanity Learning Center, gives us her pieces of advice on the matter.
Communication goes beyond simple transmission of information. A trainer must be capable of listening actively to the learners, asking relevant questions and promoting participation.
In order to achieve this, the trainer must instill a benevolent atmosphere in which participants will feel confident. Trying to know your audience will allow you to better communicate with them: What is the knowledge level of participants before the training? What do they expect from this training? What are their jobs and with which spirit do they come to the training?
The first impression is often defining. We share with you how to make your kick-off meeting a success in our article.
Finally, a good trainer is self-confident: He/she is capable of exploiting his/her inner strengths rather than trying to match an expected preconception of what he/she should be or do.
When in a position we can be listened to, it’s essential to be aligned with what we say and promote: Sincerity gives impact to our messages. The audience isn’t dumb and will always be more resonating with a trainer who truly embodies what he/she says than a trainer reciting a discourse without living it.
Many skills can be useful to conduct an excellent training: Your narrator skills, your mastering of some tools and technologies, your ability to have an overview of the situation, etc. Find the talents that belong only to you and that could be applied to a training session.
3. Becoming a Good Trainer: Traps to Avoid
Here again, exchanges at our round-table allowed to identify many traps to avoid: A bad stress management, not letting your audience speak, going to the training without being well prepared, not adapting the training to participants, etc.
Thomas Raffin shares with us two common traps in which every trainer can fall, even the most seasoned ones.
Only leaning on acquired knowledge
We all got to know teachers who deliver the same course, with the same material, year after year. It’s a trap trainers can easily fall into as well: When we must prepare a training without much time ahead, it could be tempting to simply re-use parts of a training without adjusting the content, the keynote, the way it’s explained, etc.
The result is that, shortcut after shortcut, trainings freeze and don’t evolve anymore.
In order to animate engaging trainings, you must avoid easiness and be ready to run the extra mile, for example:
- By adapting the content and the format of the training for the audience, which changes at every session;
- By testing new tools to improve interaction between trainer and participants.
A rockstar trainer is a trainer who can understand that improvement is never-ending.
Delivering a one-way training
While being aware of your own value and your training’s quality is important, you must keep in mind that participants are not there only to listen to you talking for 45 minutes.
When we master a topic, it’s easy to talk, talk, talk, … but you simply risk losing the audience.
‘’It’s recommended to give dynamism to the session’s pace with the help from regular ‘’rupture’’ moments, such as workshops, Q&A moments and experience-sharing. If a choice has to be made, it would be preferable to increase the number of participative moments and decrease moments of monologue.’’ – Thomas Rafflin.
Crafting participative training sessions will maximize the audience’s engagement.
4. The Preparation of the Good Trainer
A good preparation is one of the key ingredients for the success of any training session. Many recommendations can be followed to be well-prepared. Here is a non-exhaustive list:
- Crafting the content of the training in accordance with the audience and objectives: Before crafting any session, you must make sure to know the client’s expectations and the target of the training.
- Sharpening the material: Good visual media are a must-have for teaching. Each slide must partner an idea with a visual.
- Taking time to master the tools: You’ll avoid losing time during the training sessions because of a few things that wouldn’t work, or at least not as you expect.
The list could be much longer, but the most important to keep in mind is that it takes time… A good trainer is a trainer who dares testing new things. With time and practice, the trainer keeps pushing with what is working and leaves behind what’s not working. That’s how we improve and become the best trainer!
5. The After-Training: The Most Neglected Phase
We could say once the training is over, so is the trainer’s job. Well, not for a rockstar trainer! The after-training must be as carefully dealt with as the training session itself.
Advice from our best trainers is:
- Keep the link active: There are many ways to stay in touch after the training session and the least would be to share the keynote (1 or 2 weeks after the session, for example) so that participants can read it any future time. It’s a classic, and very efficient. Keeping that link between you and participants is also an open door to future business opportunities like a new training, a workshop, some coaching, etc.
- Measure the impact: Having a follow-up with participants allows to make sure they benefited from the training (new skills, new tools, …). Your learners must take new habits within the two weeks following the session: The more time passes, the less they will be motivated enough to instill change in their routine.
What are the key skills of an excellent trainer?
Many qualities turn out useful to be a rockstar trainer.
Pedagogy: Perfect the way you pass on knowledge, and don’t lean only on your expertise on the matter.
Authenticity: Get to know your talents to create and animate unique trainings that resembles you.
What are traps to avoid to be an excellent trainer?
Here are the most frequent traps that trainers could fall into:
Resting on your laurels: One of the keys for success for an excellent trainer will be to have the training’s content and support evolve through time, but also by considering the audience.
Listening to your way of speaking: An efficient training has pace, with changes every 10/15 minutes to keep the participants’ engagement at the highest level.
How to handle after-training?
An efficient after-training will include:
Keeping in touch: This will lead to a higher satisfaction from your audience and might lead to future business opportunities.
Measuring the impact: It’s the only way you can make sure your learners started using their new skills and expertise on a daily basis.