MY BIGGEST MISTAKE in running ‘Train the Trainer’ (TTT) was expecting that all my trainees should be able to deliver just like me. The reality is, that the world’s best trainers are 100% themselves. Yes, they may have learned a few tricks along the way. Yes, they understand the trainee’s needs clearly. Yes, they can build materials that give the right balance of information and self-discovery. Yet at the end of the day if they are attempting to ‘be someone else’ in their trainings, the group will see straight through it.
I remember delivering a TTT in Shanghai a few years ago and we had an older Texan gentleman in the class. He has worked for a major biscuit manufacturer in the US for many years and had an enormous amount of experience. When he spoke, he had the typical Southern American slow, soft considered speech. In my TTT and showed everyone how to show energy and enthusiasm in their class, how to get people moving around the room, how to project your voice. While these are all valuable skills when he went to deliver his first workshop in what he called the “Andy Style” he came back exhausted. He told me “Look, I don’t want to be rude, but that’s just not me… perhaps I am not cut out for this.” He seemed dejected, but according to the client he had done a great job, so I encouraged him to keep going and be more himself. He came back from the next session beaming and told me that the trainees had started asking him to share his experiences. Long story short, by being himself and playing to his strengths both he and his trainees were much happier.
So what to learn in a TTT, if at the end of the day the ‘real you’ needs to come out? Well, for you to be 100% yourself in a training you need to be extremely confident, which in turn comes from getting the details right. The details every trainer needs to have down are:
Know your client!
What is their experience level? Their current frustrations? Their critical success factors? What are some of their stories? What will make them laugh? The more you know the better and the more time you spend researching their current work samples the more value you can provide
Both your presentation and the workbook need to be packed with value, but allow space to learn. The most common mistake here is to overload trainees with too much info that simply overwhelms.
Trainees need a mixture of Theory, Application, Practice and Evaluation with a selection of different activities to keep it interesting. Make sure to move between role-plays, discussions, puzzles, group tasks and individual tasks to keep engagement levels high
This may seem obvious, but when running a full day seminar that are often quite a number of moving parts. Run through all the cues beforehand and put yourself in the trainees shoes to ensure everything runs smoothly. Get all the details right, including knowing the break times, lunch arrangements, equipment and facilities.
So if you get these details right, you’ll more likely be a success in the classroom – even if you are just yourself!