1. Be Organised
Organisation is the key, don’t leave it to the night before. Run through the itinerary as if you were attending the course. Ask yourself – does it make sense? Make sure the venue is suitable and know what your requirements are. Have all the contact details for the delegates just in case there are any last minute changes. When I started as a trainer, we had arranged a pre ACS course at a golf club near Portsmouth. Unknown to us the organiser who had sent the course details out, had sent all the attendees to another golf club 60 miles away! It was the curse of “copy and paste” because we had in fact been there just a few weeks earlier.
2. Gear Content To Pupils Understanding
A trainer, or the course content cannot make a course, it has to be an inclusive exercise. Too many times I have been on the receiving end of a shut up and tell course, sign here and off we go. You need to agree a starting point, depending on experience or knowledge the group has, otherwise you may lose a few attendees by slide number 2. The starting point is very important; you can then build and tailor the course from there. Getting your starting point right is important to the success of the course/presentation.
3. Avoid Death By PowerPoint
Death by PowerPoint is another problem heating engineers complain about during training. In the heating industry the clientele is not the type of individual who will sit for hours watching something on a screen. The set period of time allowed must give way to practical hands on tasks, this will keep their minds interested. Natural time away and discussion zones should also be set away from the classroom.
4. Allow Time For Questions And Breaks
It’s important to establish if your class has understood the information. A good way to correct misunderstandings is by answering questions from the class. If you’ve not allowed time for questions pupils can get frustrated, and you can lose them.
Make sure the itinerary includes time for breaks and refreshments – the mind can only take so much!
5. Adapt Content To Find Your Style
Adaption of the information is also very useful, if allowed adapt the presentation to suit yourself and the group, unless it has to be done in a mandatory style, as long as you get the information across in a fun and informative way then you have done your job.
Within my time as a trainer at British Gas most of the information we taught was Safety and Legislation based, but in the team I worked in we all had our own style, some would do a particular item on day 1, others would leave that until after lunch on day 2.
It’s important to find your own style.
We also need to understand we are not the authority figure on all that we present, there will always be someone in the room with more knowledge than yourself. Any questions that cannot be answered must be answered before the end of the training.
Lastly, learn from your mistakes and improve the next course, and one last tip don’t forget the bottled water, you will need it…..