11 Blunders of amateur corporate trainers

I find the attitude of my 8 year old son amazing in so many ways. And one of them is his trust in “Professionals”. He has many times told me, “They know it better than you Mom, they are professionals.” This could be the driver or the chef… I resent it tremendously when he says it but have to reluctantly agree that they probably will do a better job than I would.

Now come to think of it, we have “Professionals” and “Amateurs” in every profession. I have bumped into many amateur trainers over my career. I too was an amateur #trainer once (sigh).

What distinguishes an amateur trainer from a professional trainer? Not their experience though that matters, not their attitude though that impacts….it is their actions.

In my opinion, these are the 11 blunders that scream amateur trainer:

  • Low understanding of client objectives – As a trainer, it is very essential to understand why is the client paying for #training. That they want a “Presentation Skills Workshop” or a “Time Management Workshop” or a “Leadership Workshop” is not sufficient unless we understand what are the pain areas they are trying to address and why. If we do not understand this we might be barking up the wrong tree and will fall flat in the training room.
  • Low knowledge of adult learning principles – Training attracts people from various streams and functions…however it is more complex than merely presenting some material. We need to know what needs to be done to ensure that learning occurs. You might want to go over http://larkslearning.com/how-to-create-effective-trainingcontent-as-a-corporatetrainer-part-1/
  • Insufficient planning – Just creating a PPT, getting some video’s, role plays and games together is not preparation. We need to have a thorough plan…which clearly delineates what will be done when, how and why. We need to then practice that flow in our head to the point that the flow seems natural. Plan our games, activities, videos, examples, or stories, look at queries that might come up and prepare the best answers.
  • Not reaching early – As a trainer, we need to be at the venue 45 minutes to an hour early. Gives us time to catch our breath, examine the room, freshen up, arrange or rearrange the room as we want, hook up our laptop, place the handouts, take out all material etc….and look very poised and shake hands when the first participant walks in. When we shortchange this…it shows.
  • Low subject matter expertise – We absolutely need to know our material – inside out. Not just what’s on the slides….but the kind of questions that may come up, the questions behind the obvious.
  • Mechanical manner – Monotonous voice, blank face and bored look, these can destroy the best prepared content. Absolutely essential to develop enthusiasm for what we are training on. We should convey our enthusiasm through our voice but most importantly through our eyes. We need to connect with the participants.
  • Reading from Slides –Entire paragraphs on the slide and a trainer with back towards audience reading it out verbatim. That’s a killer.
  • Nervous movements –We should not be pacing excessively or repeating ourselves or rambling. Preparation helps tremendously in this area. A few stretches (done discretely in the wash room), a sip or two of water can help calm nerves.
  • Attitude Issues – As trainers we need to be careful of becoming prejudiced or judgmental as our attitude is perceived by the participants and their ability to learn from us is impacted if we harbor negative attitudes towards them. We do not want to either be Mr. Know-It-All or Mr. Clueless Wonder.
  • Not been present in the here and now – After we are very well planned and have our session planned to the minutes, we need to be cognizant of the participants in the room and adapt according to their needs. We need to cater to the here and now. This is critical in #behavioral training but I think is relevant even in functional and technical training.
  • The dentist’s clinic look: We shouldn’t be looking like we are getting our teeth drilled. As a professional we must enjoy the process so that the very act of training invigorates us. After all we are going to spend a great amount of our time training.
  • Can you think of any other actions that scream amateur? Please do share in the comments box.

    Lovely Kumar is a facilitator, trainer, psychometric assessor and is co-founder at Larks Learning Pvt. Ltd. She has a unique background which combines economics, management, advertising, sales, teaching and training. She has worked with a range of corporates and academic institutions. Additionally she has obtained international certifications in training and psychometric assessments.

    Learn more and reach Lovely Kumar for training workshops or DISC assessments at www.larkslearning.com, lovely@larkslearning.com or 91-9899108659.