12 Apr 7 Power-packed tips for Train the Trainer
During a recent conversation, one of my enthusiastic participants of an internal Train the Trainer capability building intervention, suggested to share top 7 tips on facilitation and training delivery. The request inspired me to write this article for him and other train the trainer participants.
Among many other tips, I found these 7 tips personally very effective in conducting several train the trainer programs and they are not necessarily in any order of importance.
1. Draw out the existing deep insights and awareness of your participants to find a solution. During one of my deep conversations with a client, I shared that test of facilitation is in bringing out the deep insight and awareness, to act differently or innovatively, in an individual without lecturing or telling him or her. This is most effective when facilitating with an experienced group as they already have rich insights.
2. Inspire and challenge your participants existing way of perceiving and doing things. Most of the regular trainers and facilitators play to the gallery. They do not like to rock the boat for the fear of getting poor feedback score on that smiley sheet. In one of my own sessions, I realized that letting the heat on by challenging the participant’s perception for some time leads to melting of deep-seated icebergs or beliefs. Instead of confrontation, we can do carefrontation-handle the participants with care.
3. Ask powerful questions instead of directly telling or proposing an idea or solution. Bite your tongue whenever you are tempted to give an answer or provide a solution. Instead ask participants on how they would handle the same situation or technical problem differently using specific concept or framework. As you progress on your facilitation journey, are you also regularly reflecting on what you could do more to sharpen your questioning skills?
4. Be passionately enthusiastic about your contents, yourself and the participants. Your enthusiasm will catch up like fire amongst your participants. The sure way to find that out is when they say “we do not need long break..please continue”. They are wide alert even after lunch-breaks. Thereafter you need not say that post-lunch is a great challenge, because your enthusiasm rubbed-off on them and they remain fired up. What keeps them fired up is facilitating and sharing cutting-edge information, concepts that bring either transformation or innovation in thinking. As a fuel, sincerely encourage and praise your participants on their slightest improvements in thinking or performance. Apart from goodies and giveaways, I make it a point to reward participants in different and unpredictable ways, like asking them to facilitate or share their expertise on their area of passion or be a mentor for the group on certain challenges etc.
5. Always make them work or take some action on the concepts, tools, framework, model, processes shared during your session. Performance change happens only when mental or physical action is taken on the learnt principles and not just by listening or memorization.
6. Bring variety in the way you deliver your contents. To begin with, use variation in your voice by changing your pitch to convey various emotions. Lower your pitch when you want to convey reflection, mistake, sadness, sorrow, grief and raise your pitch when you want to convey passion, draw their attention etc. Avoid maintaining the same pitch or else your participants could start snoring! Did you hear it even if you have fantastic content and you may even be a subject matter expert?
- Use various methodologies of delivery to appeal to participants of different learning styles and intelligences.
- Use models and frameworks in presentations to appeal to those who are conceptual thinkers, conversation and syndicate discussions to appeal to people who enjoy social interactions and demonstrate interpersonal intelligence.
- Give always time for reflection after any activity like discussion, reading etc. to appeal to participants who prefer reflective observation.
- Use case studies and role plays to help participants apply and use the newly learnt concept in new situations.
- Most of the learning events, except for seminars and conferences, are meant to be practice and application-oriented and therefore trainers and facilitators should use actual case studies and scenarios from the participants work-context.
7. Use storytelling as a way to train even on technical and domain concepts. I remember one of the participants used the story of two good friends who went for online shopping and how they discussed on their encounter with different types of bugs on the website. The participants were asked to identify those bugs faced by those friends and asked what would they do differently in their testing and coding so that the friends give a positive view on the online shopping experience. While narrating case studies of the problems solved by you or anyone else using a framework or model, share all the people who were involved, dramatize the issues –by enacting different role-players in the case studies and their reactions to the problems.