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 to make 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.
- 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 and their levels of skill and knowledge. 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.
- Make your program ongoing. People learn better when they have a chance to review. Consider scheduling a refresher course in the future.
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 with an overview of what you’ll be covering so people can anticipate the major points.
- 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.
- Give a test. Testing is one of the best study aids. Let people know in advance that you’ll be giving a quiz. They’re likely to focus better and absorb more.
- Schedule break times. Incorporate break times into your agenda. It gives people time to deal with phone calls and other tasks to be less distracted during the rest of the presentation.
- 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 them online.
Adding Special Touches
- Offer incentives. Employees may feel stressed if they’re trying to squeeze in attending a training course while covering their usual workload. Show your appreciation with an appropriate payment or small presents as a gift certificate for a popular deli or coffee shop.
- 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.
- Get out of the office. Leave the building if at all possible. A location change reduces distractions and makes people more alert. Even on a tight budget, you may be able to book a private room at a local restaurant or swap conference rooms with another organization in your community.
Training is becoming part of everyone’s job description these days. Get ready to shine by mastering the basics and adding your distinctive style. You’ll sharpen your skills, contribute to your organization, and help your trainees accomplish more.