Training techniques for non-training specialists

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Rey Elbo

In The Workplace

Our HR manager has challenged me to handle our training programs. It’s an additional work assignment for me as a recruitment clerk which I’ve been doing for three years. My boss tells me that if I can perform better in this new assignment, I will be promoted to supervisor after two years of consistent, above-average performance. Could you please tell me how to do well in this new job? — Greenhorn.

A young man asked a successful manager for the secret to his success in management. The manager said: “You have to jump at every opportunity that comes along.” The young man asked how he would know if there’s an opportunity coming. The manager replied: “You can’t. That’s why you have to keep on jumping to discover what’s on the other side of the fence.”

At least, you’re in luck as you don’t have to keep on jumping as the opportunity is being offered to you on a silver platter. Now that the ball is in your hands, what would you do to perform the best job as a training specialists? It depends much on your current experience, interests, and knowledge of the subject. Just to give you the fundamentals, you may consider the following:

One, conduct an annual training needs analysis. The best respondents to this exercise are the line supervisors and their managers. Simplify the form into a one-page format to make it easy for them to cooperate with you. They can take the cue from the result of their employees’ performance appraisal or you can take it from the morale survey. Just like other similar surveys, you need a good majority to understand what’s best for the organization.

Two, have a good command and knowledge of the subject. This means you cannot handle all management topics thrown at you. Choose and specialize in certain topics that are close to your heart and mind. Start with the basic programs like orienting new employees on the company’s working conditions, facilities, and related concerns. Specialized topics should be assigned to your boss or other senior managers. Then learn from them.

Three, use the “show and tell” style in your training program. If you can’t explain things clearly to your kasambahay (domestic helper), then you can’t explain it well to your office colleagues. Use a lot of photographs or graphics with not more than two to three words per slide. Explain them using every day language fit for your audience. There’s nothing more effective than having a clear and crisp presentation.

Four, know well your target participants and their interests. Anyway, you can’t choose your audience. Be prepared how to deal with people with varying personalities. This requires tweaking your style to suit their tastes. In general, many are bored with long lectures. Therefore, reduce your lecture to not more than average seven minutes to coincide with the attention span of most people.

Five, build and sustain the interest of your audience. You can do this by telling a story, showing an interesting visual or props, sharing a relevant anecdote or fictional story. Then follow up this with an issue that is close to the hearts and minds of the participants. Sometimes, you can ask questions so they will be glued to their seats to listen to your presentation for the correct answers.

Six, use effective teaching techniques to maximize understanding. This may include actual photographs taken of certain basic issues in the office or factory. To change the monotony of your presentation, you can use the group discussions to draw the opinion of people on certain issues. You may also use individual personal assessments, online quizzes, videos, and physical activity to demonstrate the theme of your lecture.

Seven, allow the participants to be mentally active during the program. Allow, if not require them to ask questions. If they are too shy to ask embarrassing questions, you can use a free online feedback system designed to feel the pulse of the audience during the lecture, while allowing them to express their sentiments anonymously. When you do this, be prepared to receive sarcastic or unfriendly comments or questions that could challenge your credibility.

Last, ask for a written, online participants’ feedback. Aside from number seven above, you can solicit feedback from your audience one or two days after the seminar. Allow the audience to give their honest opinion about your impact as a trainer and the result of the program. Don’t be afraid of the result. Treat it as part of your learning process. Whatever is the result, everything should help you build your trust and confidence.

As soon as you have gained confidence, you can handle other difficult topics. You can start doing this by working in tandem with management specialists like your HR manager who can handle heavy and sensitive topics like employee discipline or motivation techniques.

Remember that training is a major part of the people management equation. As Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group put it: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

ELBONOMICS: The best way to understand everything is to teach it.


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