This seems basic. And we know the saying about fail to plan, then plan to fail. Make an agenda or outline of all the hot-button topics to cover. Practice reciting each topic and make notes. You’ll kick yourself after class for getting sidetracked and forgetting to mention an important detail.
2. Time Management
This can be the happy byproduct of planning, but sometimes great stories happen. When in the planning stages and doing a dry run through material, build in time for creating dialogue. The trainee being able to associate a task with a memory or story is proven to increase the chance of recall after training. If you were able to cover the material uninterrupted in 20 minutes, give yourself 40 for the training session.
3. Give Me a Break!
Build in breaks every 60 minutes. Taking breaks gives participants a chance to stretch and get the blood flowing. Audience members shifting in their seats is a clue that the body needs to get moving. A distracted mind is not one that is taking in information.
4. Encourage Participation
Engaging with the group through small quizzes or a show of hands encourages participation. This is a great tool for both in-person training and webinars. This is how we are going to gauge our audience’s alertness.
5. Know Your Audience
Do you have varying levels of experience and job titles among those in attendance? You must do your homework and be flexible with your material enough that you can make it worth everyone’s time attending. If the material doesn’t have room for adjustment, then be sure to know the level of knowledge of the attendees before arrival.
6. Breaking Bad Habits
Do you love to click a pen or have a gesture you have repeated so many times that you stopped noticing? Even mispronunciations can be perceived as idiosyncrasies that are distracting to the audience. Try recording yourself or having a peer sit in on a run-through of the material you will already be doing in prep. Give them 20 minutes of your best material to get a feel for any habits you might have. Use anonymous reviews to get feedback from your audience.
7. Broaden Your Expertise
I love reading about psychology and body language and it has improved my communication and ability to read my audience’s cues. I specialize in technical training, which I feel like is changing daily, but this even applies to customer service. Look at our multigenerational workforce and what a hot topic it has become on how to speak everyone’s language.
8. Early Bird Catches the Worm
Doing so can create a less stressful experience. Whether hosting an in-person training or a webinar, there is nothing that will throw you off your game like a technical difficulty. Starting on time not only shows your audience you respect their time, but it can be a confidence booster for you to get through your material.
9. We’re Not All-Knowing
This is O.K. Make peace with the fact you won’t know the answer to every question. Your class will respect you that much more for telling them so. But if you make a promise to find the answer, please be sure to stick to it.
10. True Retention
Things are not always what they seem. Be aware that someone can look like they are listening, but are they really learning? There is science to how people learn, and keep in mind that not all students learn the same way. I believe in the power of three when it comes to true retention. The first stage is simply the introduction to the material. You may see the audience nod their head, but they aren’t taking in what you are presenting. The second involves the opportunity to associate the material with a memory trigger. The third is practice. Offer the class a few takeaway questions.