Being asked to present or train in a corporate setting is a huge compliment. Take a moment and celebrate the fact your boss sees your skills and expertise and trusts you to share it with others. Maybe now that you’ve stopped and thought about what that means, the excitement of being asked is being overshadowed by a case of the nerves. Maybe you’re nervous because your boss expects you to pull together a workplace training event, and this is your first time having to do something like this.
Relax and use this step-by-step guide to prepare and lead a rewarding training session that will make you look like a rock star and participants want to come back for more.
Preparing for Your Training Session
- Clarify your purpose. Ensure your plans match up with company objectives. Be specific about what you want to achieve. If you’re unsure, sit down with your supervisor and talk through your presentation ideas.
- Strengthen your communications. Skillful marketing creates enthusiasm. Give your course a catchy title. Let employees know how the training will benefit them. Talk about how it will make their jobs easier, enhance their skills, or lead to job advancement.
- Survey your participants. Communications are a two way process. Check with your audience in advance to get a sense of their interests, as well as their levels of skill and knowledge. If you can’t send out a formal survey, use your office connections and breakroom conversations to get idea of where people are at. Invite suggestions for topics and formats.
- Design your seating plan. Seating plans vary according to the size of your group and what you’re going to do. Classroom style is good for a lecture. Small circles encourage more discussion.
- Work on your materials. Handouts and slides provide additional information and help guide participants through the agenda. Balance visuals and text. Color code papers for easy reference.
Leading Your Training Session
- Provide an introduction. Ask someone else to introduce you, especially if you’re new to the group. An introduction will help you get everyone’s attention. Start out with an overview of what you’ll be covering so people can anticipate the major points. If no one else is there to do it, share a bit of your journey so your audience has a chance to connect with you.
- Close with a summary. End the day with a recap. Repetition makes the lesson more memorable and gives you a chance to fill in the gaps if anything is still unclear.
- Encourage interaction. Give the participants plenty of time to talk. Welcome questions and comments. Break into small groups. Use tabletop activities and other activities to break up the program.
- Schedule break times. Incorporate break times into your agenda. It gives people time to deal with phone calls and other tasks so they’ll be less distracted during the rest of the presentation. There’s a saying, “The brain with retain what the butt can endure.” Don’t leave people sitting for long sessions.
- Check the AV. Double check all the electronic equipment the day before if possible. Keep contact information for the AV staff handy in case of emergencies.
- Ask for feedback. Provide multiple options for filling out an evaluation form. Hand out hard copies and post it online.
Adding Special Touches
- Offer appreciation. Employees may feel stressed if they’re trying to squeeze in attending a training course while covering their usual workload. Make sure you acknowledge their time and energy.
- Take a picture. Any gathering can be a photo opportunity. Rally everyone together for a group photo. It builds a sense of camaraderie and gives everyone something to share.
Training is becoming part of everyone’s job description these days. Get ready to shine by mastering the basics and adding your own distinctive style. You’ll sharpen your skills, contribute to your organization, and help your trainees accomplish more.
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