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Advice for new trainers

default-16x9 is putting together some tips for anyone starting out in their training career. We would welcome any thoughts from training managers, trainers or institutes, on the following question:

Q. If you had just one piece of advice for a new trainer, what would it be?

Many thanks indeed!
Christiana Tollast

Christiana Tollast

20 Responses

  1. Sense of humour and sense of perspective essential!
    The one piece of advice I would give to new trainers is to maintain a sense of humour and perspective at all times.

    While what we do is important, we are not brain surgeons, and therefore the odd thing going wrong really ISN’T the end of the world and probably WON’T ruin delegate’s careers forever(even though it might feel like it at the time)!

    So many new trainers I meet are almost crippled with nerves over things that will probably never happen, and more reassurance in the early days would really have helped me.

  2. It’s not about you …
    The main thing to remember, for me, is that ‘it’s not about you … it’s about them.’

    Too many people ‘fall’ into training because they are good presenters and many forget that, although that may be entertaining, their role is to facilitate learning in others.

    The best trainers are those that put their learners’ learning first and the worst are those who insist on showing off their skills and talents in the ‘John (or Jane) Doe Show!’

    The other thing that links very closely with that is a concept that we call ‘Pragmativity’. This is creativity in training, but only where it aids learning – ie where there is a pragmatic benefit. To me, there is little worse than a fabulously creative experience which, at the end, people say ‘that was fun – but what did it have to do with the course?’

    Use creativity pragmatically to achieve maximum benefit for your learners.

    Jooli Atkins

  3. Everyone is an individual…
    The one piece of advice I give all my trainers is to treat every delegate as an individual and don’t showboat. Making the learning experience one which is memorable as well as being business focused so that whatever they learn can be used when they get back to their desks.

  4. just one…
    Just one piece is difficult..
    the comments from the other trainers here are excellent – focus on the individual – don’t showboat etc..

    One I would add is plan, test the material with a suitable “audience” practice, practice, practice and practice some more, then on the day listen and meet the needs of your learners. Meet their needs not yours…

  5. Be flexible!
    As a new trainer it is easy to stick to one style of training that you have learnt and/or feel comfortable with.

    Whilst it is important to apply the principles of effective training, part of doing so involves adapting the style to suit the delegates, environment and subject matter.

  6. to go for one that hasn’t appeared yet….
    the one piece of advice I’d offer in this instance is….
    “Remember that “training” may not be the best solution for the issue raised, or the delegate concerned. Be prepared therefore to either offer another solution or, if that is outside your remit, to walk away and recommend another “supplier”.”


  7. Ask & Challenge
    As a trainer you are a service provider and the service you provide is only as good as the consultation and research you undertake to determine the root cause and the best fit solution to achieving desired objective.

    so in short, Ask Questions and Challenge your customer / stakeholders

  8. Ultimate Advice
    Here is my advice:

    New trainers have an eagerness to ‘tell’. After all they are an expert in a topic and are looking forward to sharing that with others.

    The problem is that training is not the same as presenting. New trainers might be used to giving presentations, but these presentations are usually short perhaps up to an hour. Presenting for the whole day is indeed stressful, and quite rightly so. That’s why a good trainer doesn’t focus on ‘presenting’ for the whole day, but instead focuses on ‘training’.

    So, what does this mean in practice? Rather than ‘telling’ them, keep ‘asking’ them. Get them to learn on their own. Ask them to give you the answer and you only have to ‘guide’ them if they are not right. Always put delegates at the centre of learning.

    This is one of those advices that a trainer has to ‘get it’ on his own. Once it ‘clicks’, you are off on your way to become a great trainer.

  9. Advice for New Trainers
    1. You’ll never feel prepared enough. Grasp all and every opportunities that come your way, feel the fear and do it anyway.

    2. Think of people on courses as participants – they’re meant to join in so let them do the work with you as a guide.

  10. One piece of advice
    Always ask yourself when designing, delivering and evaluating “What am I doing, Why am I doing it and what are THEY learning”

  11. Tips for new trainers
    To add to all the great tips so far, and keeping to the theme about encouraging the learners to think for themselves through guided questioning, I would also add to that: allow them to do for themselves too.

    People learn best by getting stuck in as soon as possible so keep demonstrations to a minimum and, in conjunction with helping people to think for themselves with guided questions, they and you will sail through the training.

    This will build your own confidence as well as theirs as the focus is on them rather than you. Relax, smile, open your body language, be yourself & enjoy.

  12. Managers on board
    Mine is to make sure the learner’s manager is on board with what they’re learning, or it will never be implemented back in the workplace.

    I’ve struggled with this continually in my current role and it’s why I’m now working my notice period.

  13. It doesn’t matter what they think of you
    My one piece of advice is that it doesn’t matter what delegates think of you, your skills as a trainer or the material you use, all that matters is that they are able to take their learning back into the workplace.

  14. Advice for new trainers
    On top of all the other great tips?

    Recognise that different people learn quite differently, may even want to learn quite different things, and their motivation and evaluation may be equally varied.

    So what about:
    – asking both the workshop sponsor and your participants what they want/expect at the very outset;
    – meeting all possible learning styles in your formal workshop-design – the pragmatics/activists/theorists/reflectors, those who may be driven more by facts and evidence/logic and rationale/service, comfort and utlity/vision and values, and all the other possibilities;
    – saying if you don’t know all the answers and ask others for their suggestions – you don’t have to be the ‘expert’ (hence: ‘no showboating!’);
    – and never believing in *all* the feedback you may get! Some may love all the training you offer; but some may love you but hate your content – and vice versa; some may just be delighted to have had the day off or to have been asked to attend and score highly, while others may score lowly because they didn’t know why they were asked to attend, couldn’t find the venue or were too cold/hot; some may just be inveterately inclined to be generous in any feedback and others inately more demanding than was even ever reasonable or practical.

    Quite a lot to take in I know – but start at the top?

    Good luck – and let your participants have fun! (That way, you will – and vice versa!)


  15. Get into their world
    Hello Christina,

    “Get into their world” – what’s challenging your participants at the moment – start from their perspective, not yours.

    All the best with what I am sure will be a great career. Anyone who is prepared to ask others for help is obviously off to a good start.


    Bob Selden,
    Author “What To Do When You Become The Boss”

  16. One piece of advice
    The one bit of a advice I would give a new trainer is to have a comprehensive resource kit bag e.g. flip pens, blutac, low tack tape (for painted walls), sharp pencils,extension lead, tent cards (A4 paper folded twice)spare flipchart pad, cardboard wedge (for sticking underneath their projector to heighten powerpoint image) – anything to reduce your stress level when you arrive at an unfamiliar destination, with 30 minutes to set up before the audience arrive.
    Also, put some bite sized sweets out for each participant – it seems to break the ice and make them smile when they walk into the training room.
    Hope that helps. Happy Days!

  17. Who are the learners?
    Dear Christiana,
    Your target population analysis will inform what you can help them learn. Ask yourself the question, “If my ‘training’ is a solution, what is the problem?” Then aim to help the participants solve that problem with the learning experiences you will facilitate.
    best wishes for super success in your new career.

  18. Questioning Skills
    If you can develop good questioning skills you will be able to facilitate effective, engaging workshops all day long.
    When I develop a training workshop I write down a series of open questions that I want the group to address. They would usually make some notes, discuss their ideas as a group and get them down on a flipchart. Then they present them back.
    The other bit of good advice I had when I started was ‘Don’t tell people things that they already know.’
    Using questioning skills you can get your group to engage and learn from each other. This means you don’t have to tell them so much.

    Good luck, Trevor

  19. One piece of advice?
    Be honest.

    Don’t flim flam; if you don’t know something, then be honest and say.

    If you don’t think it’s a training issue, be honest – state it’s ‘managing’ not ‘training’.

    If you know you can do the job better, improve what you do by being honest to yourself.


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