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General Tips for Trainers

  • State Your Goals! This insures that everyone knows what they’re there for. You’d be surprised at some people’s misconceptions of what they are there to learn. Offer them the chance to leave if it’s not what they thought!
  • Don’t Panic. Remember, they don’t know exactly what you’re going to teach, so if youmiss a little something, they won’t know unless you panic about it. Be aware that mistakes will happen; it’s how you handle them that counts.
  • Be Prepared, as the Boy Scouts say. Instructors are much more effective when they have prepared a plan and are focused on the material they are presenting. Participants appreciate well-organized lectures. Being prepared also helps you anticipate possible questions, difficult concepts that may need additional examples, and points in a presentation or lecture which may “demand” a change of content delivery or pause.
  • Bring Handouts! Even if you think it’s easy, it’s not for the participants or they wouldn’t be attending the workshop. You want them to be able to use the resource after they leave the workshop, and most people want some sort of handout to take with them. At the same time, if your handout only provides information about the product and not the practical, “how to” it information, it won’t be as useful to the participant.
  • Strike a Balance between the attention being focused on you and the attention being focused on something else (the screen, whiteboard, etc.). At the same time, make sure you make eye contact with your participants, especially those who seem to be drifting away.
  • Be Engaging! Make your audience want to listen to you by being an effective public speaker.
  • Breathe!! You need time to catch your breath, and the participants need time to comprehend what you’re saying — when you ask them if they’re with you or if there are any questions, give them a minute to answer you! Check in with your audience and make sure they’re following you, especially if you can’t see their monitors.

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