Ideas That Shaped My Training Approach



Someone e-mailed me a few nights ago with an interesting request, namely: ‘’I have never gotten any formal training in being a trainer and I am now contemplating needing something. What would you recommend as basics? I need to have short and effective trainings (like weekend format), cannot commit to a master degree of some sort yet (if you know of any in my area please let me know for the future),

This was my response:

There are many different ways to learning to become a trainer – from formal to informal and indirect. You could attend many different styles of train-the trainer courses, but I will go beyond that and share some thoughts about the process that shaped my thinking as a trainer.

Rule Number 1: It is not about how brilliant you are as a trainer. It is about your students. Did they learn, did they change?

Don’t let anyone ever kid you. Sure the way you present and stand and dress can affect the learning, but if communication is really about the 7% impact in the words we use, 38% in tone and 55% non-verbal then intent will be more important.

I will never forget my first lesson in real training. I was involved in Toastmasters (excellent for speaking) and other organisations, and had some experience in lecturing, etc. I then got promoted and joined what was then South Africa’s foremost Small Business Development Corporation – a new training department. The first lesson the then training manager, Ken Fisher shared with me; was the aforementioned lesson. He told me that I will be dealing with prospective entrepreneurs and that was not about how brilliant I was, but on whether I could help them to become successful at what they do.

That lesson remains. By now I have had twenty years experience in training, I am an international conference facilitator and speaker, but the focus remains: "What can I do to unlock my audience’s potential?

The lesson; if you want to act becomes a lawyer or an actor.

Second Lesson: As a trainer you should become like a secret service agent and have a bag of dirty tricks. If one thing does not work, use another. Learn as many variations, anecdotes, stories, etc, so that you can get the message across.

Read as many books on training, NLP, communication that you can – it will help you. But while you read ask yourself: "How can I use this?" This is a tactic used by the world’s most professional sales people – the ones who sell millions.

IMHO the books that helped me the most was: "Super-Teaching: Master Strategies for Building Student success by Eric P. Jensen" and the book ‘’Active Training” by Mel Silbermann.

Absolutely essential reading IMHO.

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