Category: Training Services

9 Ways to Become a World Class Trainer

At Alterity we spend all day talking to trainers. We hear their struggles and help them work through training road bumps, but our favorite part is hearing how they succeed every day to bring exceptional educational experiences to their learners.

As trainers ourselves, we are always looking to empower others. So here is a collection of thoughts from our Alterity team of experts.

1. Ask open ended questions.

While this seems simple, it often helps a learner to think through what they are learning if they need to process a response that is more than just a yes or no.

2. Listening is as important as speaking.

Pay attention to who is asking questions and what questions are being asked. As well as those learners who remain silent. While this is often more difficult in virtual sessions, using the chat tool is a great way to get people to engage.

3. Training is often not a one style fits all solution.

An amazing trainer finds ways to teach one topic to a variety of learning styles. Think about those you have taught in the past. Did you have people that didn’t understand what you were teaching until they got to do it themselves? Did you have others that simply had to hear it to become a master? Or maybe learners who seemed to ask endless questions? Being able to adapt to a variety of needs will help you meet your learners where they are in their learning journey.

4. For virtual sessions, don't forget your tech setup.

Nothing is worse as a learner than not being able to clearly hear the instructor. Make sure you have a quality external microphone, dedicated headset, proper lighting, and multiple monitors. Without even changing the way you are presenting, you can radically change the way you are perceived in your online sessions.

5. Utilize closed captioning technology when you can.

Even tools like Teams have closed captioning capabilities. Let learners know they can turn on this feature as an added enhancement. To use live captions in a meeting, go to your meeting controls at the top of the screen and select More. > Language and speech > Turn on live captions. As a trainer, you don’t need to change what you do to change how it’s consumed.

6. Know your audience.

Have you ever had the request to “Train everyone how to use Excel during our lunch and learn next week”. While we can all come up with something, it won’t be a success unless you establish a few things first. You need to know who you are training and what expectations they have and if there have been any questions or concerns raised about the topic. You also need to know what success will look like. Is this a group that has never used Excel, or can they already create pivot tables faster than most of us can remember what tab you need to go to for that feature. And make sure to start the training with the end in mind. Tell your audience what they can expect to learn during their time with you.

7. Encourage audience participation to help gauge their understanding.

Whether this is using a visual indicator in a classroom setting or the chat in a virtual setting, make sure to check in. Ask for a simple thumbs up or thumbs down if they think they can now do what you just taught them on their own. It’s a quick way to check in to make sure you can keep going. Be able to adapt to anything unexpected that may come up.

8. Follow through if someone asks a question you didn't know the answer to.

Either help them find another individual who has the answer or help them get to the bottom of their question. The learner is your customer and the assistance you provide will be remembered.

9. Borrow knowledge to build knowledge.

Use topics, processes, and ideas they already understand to hasten familiarity with the new concept. If you are teaching someone how to use PowerPoint, draw on skills they likely already know from using Word.

While every trainer has their own style and skill set, learning from others helps us elevate our skills.

Keep Training on Track with Virtual

How are you leveraging virtual training within your organization? What steps are you taking to set up learners for success? What follows are some of our favorite topics to success for Virtual Training.

1. Engage Your Audience Prior to Training

The reality is, that in any virtual connection, engagement is difficult. Participants may tend to multitask and not pay attention. One way to promote better engagement during the session is to develop an awareness campaign prior to the session. Utilize project sponsors (executives within the organization who have significant influence) to heighten people’s awareness of why the training is important, and their desire to lean in. People will learn, retain, and ultimately use information and skills to a greater extent when they want to learn it – that is when they are personally invested in the benefits. Many people will push back from required training because it takes them out of their normal routine and requires time, which is already in limited supply. However, if they see this time as valuable – perhaps how it will fix problems they already have or make them more productive – they will likely be more apt to participate. If done correctly, virtual training can provide better flexibility than traditional in-classroom style training, which could increase their willingness to participate.

2. Include Users in the Planning

Consider this human-behavior-related truism – “people support what they help create.” If I help create something, I will be more invested in it. As a result, my support of it will increase. Gain feedback from users on what their current pain points are. Investigate helpdesk tickets to discover common issues. Poll or survey users on what they wish they could do with greater ease. Enlist power users to take specific portions of the training to share their insights and expertise. Finally, form training around function, not features and employ a “just in time” rather than a “just in case” guide for training.

3. Use These Key Elements for Best-in-Class Virtual Training

  • Deliver with a Moderator – They can keep track of chats, troubleshoot technical issues and even step in to ensure the training carries on, should the presenter have any unexpected issues – technical or otherwise.
  • Conduct Full Rehearsals – Make sure all the elements you have planned, including interactions, work as expected. This is also a good opportunity to test equipment such as lighting, audio, and video.
  • Create a Warm Environment – Think about what you normally do to connect on a personal level with participants and double that effort when virtual. For some remote users, virtual training may provide their only chance at human interaction in this otherwise isolated environment.
  • Plan Frequent and Purposeful Interactions – Get people involved in the training as often as possible through interactions such as chats, polls, or individual and group activities. Utilize your interactions to measure the likelihood of behavior change after the training.
  • Follow Technology Best Practices – Use a headset for audio, frame your camera properly, look into the camera, eliminate background noise and use ethernet, as opposed to Wi-Fi.
  • Reinforce Learning Through Follow Up – Schedule time to follow up with participants before training even begins. Plan interactions that ask participants to indicate where they need additional assistance after the session. Then, follow through.
  • Try Not to Mix Virtual and Live Participants – Mixed participants may complicate matters as each group will have specific needs and challenges. If all participants are connecting in the same way, virtual training becomes much simpler.
  • Practice the 15-Second Rule – You might not like awkward silence but jumping in to answer the questions you pose to participants is a sure-fire way to kill engagement. If you want people to respond to questions, or participate in dialogue, wait at least 15 seconds before bailing them out. If the group is silent after about 7-8 seconds, re-frame or re-ask the question, but don’t give the answer. Do this once or twice, and people will figure out that you want them to participate. You can also encourage people to drop their answers into chat if they are hesitant to speak up in front of the group.

Let’s get creative with how you can continue to achieve your best results. Contact us today for more information on how you can utilize our content library to prepare your workforce for tomorrow.