When 63 powerpoint slides seems like a relief- some golden rules for successful training

A couple of weeks ago I attended a training course.  I have just  recovered my humour and perspective which was somewhat lost during a very long and complicated presentation on a technical topic.

At the end of the session, I burst out of the room, cross, frustrated, having learnt  little.  I told  anyone that would listen (and some that didn’t want to) that I had just sat through a presentation lasting 93 slides.  I even rang some people to tell them all about.  My family had to make sympathetic  noises as I thrust the presentation under their noses.   It was in fact only 63 slides long, which made it slightly better but everything is relative.  Having had such an experience led me to reflect on how it all went so wrong and to articulate some golden rules of training.  It’s not an exhaustive list but it covers the fundamentals.

  1. Establish your objectives for the training what are delegates going to leave with at the end of the day?  How are you going to know you’ve achieved your objectives?
  2. Plan the day, not just the content but the pace, atmosphere and delivery style.  Vary it and keep your delegates engaged and on their toes
  3. Be flexible, if somethings not working (the presentation is tooooo long and complicated) address it.  Don’t plough on regardless, honestly, it makes thing worse.
  4. Prepare well.  It goes without saying but not everyone does it.  If success depends on a good oral delivery, don’t just read  your notes, practice out loud.
  5. Be organised.  Be early at the venue, find out where everything is.  Establish a good rapport with venue staff.  Have back up plans what will you do if the equipment fails?
  6. Know your topic.  You might be questioned or challenged on your material, you are not just reading an autocue.
  7. Understand your audience.  Establish who is coming to your training, what knowledge might they have of the subject.  Make time to chat over refreshments at the start of the training to get a sense of individuals in the room.  This is a key one for me.
  8. Start strong.  Group dynamics are great fun and understanding them are essential for a good trainer.   As a trainer you take on a leadership role .  Your authority comes from the delegates, who will give it to you if you have their confidence.  A strong confident start to any training event establishes the right atmosphere for a successful day.

Well having said that, I’m now going to turn my head to planning our training programme for 2013!

Happy Days

Nic