What makes a good trainer? 2

How to be better...

Ever been on training and wished you were somewhere else?  Me too.

In our last blog on this subject, we looked at what it is about the trainer themselves that makes us like them.

Sketch - What makes a good trainer 2

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/kasto (adapted)

Today, I want to look a bit more at what it is that trainers do, that makes them good.

6 things that good trainers do…

Personally, I reckon it’s the personality and credibility of the trainer that attracts us to them. In that order.

Personality – them as a person – comes first, then what they have to offer. Here are some of the things that characterise really good trainers:

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/kasto

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/kasto

  • Humanity
  • Humility
  • Humour
  • Honesty, and
  • Honouring

You can read about these in a bit more detail here.

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But what is it that good trainers do that makes the difference?

Habits of good trainers…

Here are a few things that I’ve learnt from good trainers over the years. They come from doing lots of training and going on lots of training. (Please add your own suggestions here.)

  • Tell stories – this is part of the humanising aspect of training. It keeps things real and grounded. But it also gives us something we can relate to. Stories are a great way of illustrating ideas, too. Building a session or a whole course around a case study is one way of doing this. Or it can be just a short anecdote to help make a point. The more stories the better in my book.
  • Involve the participants – when I attend training I don’t just want to be sat “in the audience.” I want to take part. I also find I learn a lot from the other people attending. All the more so if they’re from different backgrounds and agency settings to me. Good trainers allow space for others to comment. Really good trainers positively encourage it.
  • Know when to be quiet – This relates to the last point. There are few things worse as a learner than a trainer who is overly fond of the sound of their own voice. No matter how good someone is, it’s rare they are so good that listening to them speaking all day works well. Allowing other voices to be heard breaks things up and adds variety – as well as expertise – to the learning.
  • Stick to time – tea breaks, lunch, finishing time; all these are important. I like to know when they’re coming. But that only works if they actually happen on time. I was at college, years ago, with a fella who used to mimic the sound of whistling kettle if a lecturer went over time. It worked! But good trainers will be very aware of the delegates’ experience and keep to time without the need for hints!
  • Image courtesy ©123rf/Corina Rosu

    Image courtesy ©123rf/Corina Rosu

    Minimise text in slides – I’m terribly guilty on this point, but I’m working on it. Powerpoint is fab (though I prefer Keynote, the Apple slide programme) and can really enhance a trainer’s performance. But when there’s too much text it gets tedious. Some say you should have no more than 6 words on each slide – I’m way behind on this! But when I’ve done it, it’s worked very well.

  • Dress well – now this is not a plea for trainers to wear suits or dress for a dinner party. Unless they want to… But I do think it’s important for clothing not to be a distraction. Whether we like it or not, some of a trainer’s credibility comes from not looking daft. First impressions matter. It won’t replace good content, but it will help to ensure delegates are inclined to listen in the first place.

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Final word…

Whether or not we like what a trainer has to offer, is a complex mix of factors.

But, for me, I find that someone who tries to put these things in place, won’t go far wrong in winning me over and giving me a good chance of getting something out of it.

We’re all a journey to improve what we do. So, for me, it’s back to the drawing board to see how I can do more of these things myself!  :0)

What do you think?…

  • What it is about good trainers that you like most? What’s the worst thing?
  • Please let me know your thoughts…   Leave a comment below or click here.

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© Jonny Matthew 2016

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