As a human resources consultant, I’ve observed many approaches to corporate training, and most focus on content. Decisions involve what should be taught, and in what format. While delivery is equally important, sometimes it’s overlooked. I’m familiar with situations in which someone totally unfamiliar with the subject matter is pegged to teach an in-person course, and others where someone with no public speaking experience at all is expected to rally a group for a full day or more!
You can make the most of your corporate training initiatives by ensuring that the person who delivers your materials is as good as the materials themselves. Here are a few recommendations to that effect. Strong corporate trainers:
Can Appropriately Customize Material
Course materials that may have been developed months or even years ago for a different audience in a different location may not be an appropriate fit for the audience or the trainer herself. Not only do good trainers understand instructional design, but they are able to rework material in a way that targets a specific group and accomplishes a specific business objective.
Can Bring the Content to Life
Edutainment refers to a style in which course participants are entertained while learning. The best corporate trainers have an engaging style that prompts people to listen, pay attention, and apply learnings. They use substantial interactivity, including videos, quizzes, and exercises – to encourage active participation. They walk around the room, write on boards, and converse with the audience in a friendly and enthusiastic tone.
Possesses Relevant Life and Business Experience
In my experience, it’s difficult for trainers to connect with an audience when they have no firsthand knowledge of participant challenges. For example, as a trainer on workforce issues, I rely frequently on anecdotes and lessons learned from my 10 years in the corporate world. Without these, I don’t know that I would have the necessary credibility to be effective. After all, what can I possibly have experienced about the challenges of working in an office when I basically sit in my house all day?
Is Prepared But Flexible
Good trainers come in knowing the material inside out. While they may make use of a Facilitator Guide, they don’t use it as a crutch. Rather, they can answer most questions about the course material without “looking them up” and are generally considered experts on the topic at hand. At the same time, these trainers can read the audience and understand when material is not resonating, and adjust their approach on the fly for better results.
Can Facilitate Change
The best corporate trainers inspire participants to consider new angles and try different ways of doing things. They inspire a vision and future state in which the participants’ jobs are more successful and rewarding because of the training. They understand that most humans naturally resist change, so they anticipate objections, and school participants in managing obstacles and staying on the right path.
Promotes Blended and Continuous Learning
Along those same lines, good corporate trainers know that learning – and particularly the application of learning – must continue after participants have left the training room. They provide access to supplementary eLearning and self-study vehicles that reinforce lessons, and periodically reconnect with participants to assess how training is being used in role.
Can Evaluate Success Properly
Finally, good trainers don’t simply hand out smile sheets and call it a day, because they know that just because participants say they liked a course doesn’t mean they actually learned anything. Rather, collaborating with business stakeholders, they set concrete metrics (for example, increased sales or quality ratings among participants) that prove training effectiveness and assure learning goals are achieved and sustained over time.
Corporate training has a lot of moving parts, but it’s important to select an individual with the right skills and experience to best steer the operation and maximize your investment.