Corporate trainers often start out as subject-matter experts who have been selected for their expertise and asked to teach others. But no matter how well you know your subject-matter, actually teaching that content requires a completely different set of skills. To become successful, trainers need to be trained.Very few people are natural born trainers and know how to train other adults in an instructional setting. Here are five things you must do to become a corporate trainer.
If the idea of getting up in front of a group of people to run a training class makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Barely 10% of the population actually enjoys public speaking, according to Forbes, while 80% of us feel anxious at the prospect of speaking to a crowd.
The good news is that this common fear can be overcome. It starts with learning the skills you need to know to train others. Once you’ve mastered the techniques and mindset that will allow you to avoid mistakes and succeed as a trainer, much of that fear will vanish.
This is one of the most important concepts to grasp in the process of becoming a trainer. But it’s also a concept that is often overlooked.
Most subject-matter experts are understandably enthusiastic about the topic at hand. They are eager to share their knowledge with anyone who will listen. The problem is that, without a carefully designed plan, most people will default to lecturing. Unfortunately, this common mistake can actually make your training efforts less effective.
The urge to lecture is understandable. You have a great deal of knowledge in your area of expertise, which is why you were asked to train others. But giving a nonstop lecture, with no back-and-forth interaction between you and the learners, is usually counterproductive. After 10 or 15 minutes, it will likely start putting people to sleep. A lecture isn’t engaging.
To avoid this problem, it’s important to learn how to structure a good training session.
In reality, only one third of the class time should be spent on delivering the content. The rest of the time should be divided between the learners practicing what they just learned and getting feedback on their progress and understanding.
You might think that all classrooms are more or less the same. But that’s just not true. The structure that works for adults in an instructional setting is much different from what works in an academic setting.
In academia, professors have a captive audience. They can lecture at length, and the learners have to be physically present. After all, if a student wants credit for the class, they have to show up.
But in the corporate world, the reality is different. Learners aren’t in school anymore. Very little training is actually mandated, the way it is in an academic setting. In fact, most corporate training is optional.
Learners have busy schedules, and they don’t have time to waste. For the training to be effective, you need to demonstrate to them that it is a worthwhile investment of their time.
Being an effective corporate trainer requires knowing the principles of adult learning. You also need to know how to apply those principles to the design and delivery of your training. Good corporate trainers are well-versed in these principles and use them to build the foundation for successful training programs.
Today, more than ever before, becoming a corporate trainer often requires training in a virtual classroom setting. To become a successful virtual classroom trainer, there are certain core competencies you’ll need to have.
First, good vocal skills are a necessity. There are tremendous benefits to being able to speak like a broadcaster.
Second, multitasking is paramount in the virtual environment. At any given time, you’ll be watching the virtual classroom on your main screen, while at the same time looking at your lesson plan on a second screen, delivering the content, interacting with the platform, and waiting for questions or responses to come in. You need to be able to juggle several cognitively demanding tasks at once.
Third, you need to be proficient with the software. That means knowing what tools are available for virtual classroom training, and how to use the right tool for the job. There are a handful of popular virtual classroom software programs available in the marketplace today. It’s important to know which one will best suit your particular needs.
Finally, you must be familiar with all the features and capabilities of your chosen platform.
At the end of the day, being a corporate trainer requires solid people skills. To be successful, you need to be able to quickly connect with your learners and build rapport. If you aren’t a people person, and don’t enjoy connecting with others and mentoring them, then you might not like teaching.
But if you have a knack for connecting with people and making them feel comfortable in a learning environment, then you’re already on your way. All the other skills you need can be learned.
You can overcome any nervousness you may have about public speaking. You can learn how to structure a good training session to avoid lecturing and encourage interaction and learning. And you can gain proficiency in the tools you need to use. The best place to begin is to find a workshop and start mastering the skills you need to become a successful corporate trainer.
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