Another year and Training magazine’s annual Salary Survey is here. After reviewing the survey results on p. 36, you may be wondering what it takes to earn a higher salary or simply be in line with the survey results. There are fives ways to do that, and we will share them with you.
But first, we have a few observations. The common consensus on how to earn more is developing our skill sets. Learning practitioners tend to focus on acquiring new skills, but they often forget mastering and refreshing fundamental training skills to deliver learning in a variety of contexts more effectively. The fundamental ability to transfer knowledge to others is common across any learning vehicle, whether it’s the classroom, e-learning, Webinars, or coaching.
Unfortunately, people new to the training industry often practice a “spray the information and pray something sticks” learning approach. At the other extreme are experienced trainers who are complacent or lazy, simply coasting on past successes.
Training is a huge responsibility! When you’re asked to develop knowledge, people essentially are giving you permission to get into their heads. Regretfully, too many Learning practitioners slip back into bad habits and then blame external factors for training ineffectiveness.
Don’t blame. Take control. Whether you’re a new trainer or seasoned veteran, it’s incumbent upon you to sharpen your training skills. Here are five tips that will make you a more effective trainer—and perhaps your check a bit heftier:
1. Know and refresh the fundamentals. Effective trainers keep things simple and regularly revisit fundamental training skills such as:
- Having an awareness of participant expectations and what they want to learn
- Aligning participant learning expectations with the learning objectives
- Preparing to focus on the core content that addresses learning objectives
2. Be aware of and manage learning barriers. Effective trainers are attentive to anything that may interfere with the learning process. For example, they prepare for how to respond to participants who have deep experience, are resistant to change, have hidden agendas and/or a fear of failure. It’s your responsibility to reduce anxiety and eliminate the barriers.
3. Always plan training and follow the training plan. Think back to a satisfying training session you attended. It probably flowed effortlessly and you probably recall some key session takeaways. This didn’t occur by happenstance.
Rather, the trainer planned ahead to conduct the session this way, executing a training plan while continually adapting to the needs of participants like you. A training session plan is a roadmap that allows you to acquire appropriate resources and allocate your time accordingly.
4. Get participants to “do” rather than “hear.” Effective trainers recognize that people are more likely to retain learning by applying skills they learn rather than just listening or observing. First, set up the learning context appropriately prior to having participants apply the skill. Then, maximize the time by allowing them to apply their newfound skill through structured interactive training activities.
For example, say you’re facilitating a conflict resolution session. Explain why and how the conflict would happen and then quickly transition participants to role-playing a real-life conflict.
5. Continually evaluate and revise your training. It’s your responsibility as a trainer to ensure participants apply the skills upon completing the course. It’s also your responsibility to adapt and improve the course to the participants’ needs.
Effective trainers quickly adapt to changing group dynamics. They focus on what’s relevant while maintaining direction and focus on the primary training message. Post-session, they identify what went well and where to improve.
We’ve been training for many years, but we still continue to apply this advice today—in fact, we recently developed a Lynda.com train-the-trainer course where we revisited fundamental training skills. Some things never change!
Ajay M. Pangarkar, CTDP, CPA, CMA, and Teresa Kirkwood, CTDP, are founders of CentralKnowledge.com and LearningSourceonline.com. They are employee performance management experts and three-time authors—most recently publishing the leading performance book, “The Trainer’s Balanced Scorecard: A Complete Resource for Linking Learning to Organizational Strategy” (Wiley)—and assessment specialists for Training magazine. Pangarkar was named ELearning Magazine’s 2016 Thought- Leader. Help them start a “Workplace Revolution” at http://blog.centralknowledge.com or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.