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When you’re the trainer

How to lead a seminar that gets results

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

Even if you’re not a professional trainer, you may have to stand in front of a group of employees on occasion and teach them a new skill. If you’re not careful, they may fall asleep before you’re through. That’s why lecturing almost always works against you.

Enliven your training session with these techniques:

Distribute key learning points in writing. You want your students to know at the outset what they’re supposed to learn by the time the session ends. Prepare a written outline of what you’ll be teaching them and what they’ll need to know when you’re through. Example: Compose a list of questions that captures all the points you’re going to cover. Then hand out that list a day before the training session begins.

Choose the best method. You can train others by using experiential, instructional or self-paced learning. It depends on whether you’re teaching theory or practice. Self-study may work well for teaching a computer program, while the experiential approach may help managers handle adversity.

Spur involvement. One of the main precepts of adult-learning theory is that students need to feel a sense of control over the learning process. By including plenty of participant-driven exercises, such as small break-out discussions, diagnostic tests and role plays, you maximize the odds that the group will pay attention. It’s particularly important that you let individuals demonstrate what you’re instructing them on and give them feedback. Have them learn by doing, not just watching.

Maintain a flexible agenda. Once they know what you need to teach, let the group help you shape how you’re going to get there. Early in the session, ask them to go through the material with you and help you choose the sequence of events. They may be especially curious about learning something right away and then building on it later in the session. Or if they have experience trying to master a complicated task, they may warn you that it’s better to devote extra time to this topic.

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