If you’re reading this, it means you are probably finally scheduled to conduct your first training workshop.
Or perhaps you are getting back into training after a hiatus.
Or maybe you are just looking to brush up on your training skills and confidence.
Regardless of your situation, we all get a little nervous time to time when it comes to presenting information to others. As a trainer, being the “expert” in the room can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Below are our tips and tricks for easing your nerves when running your training sessions.
PREPARATION IS KEY
This may be the number one way to ease nerves when delivering your first training session. And the reality of this blog post is that many of the tips and tricks boil down to this one simple concept: preparation. By reviewing and developing training content ahead of time, we increase our familiarity with it. Familiarity decreases nerves. If you go into your training workshop with a clear and comprehensive knowledge of your content and how you want to deliver it, you will significantly reduce any fear of the unknown, because you have eliminated it. There’s no doubt that preparation for a training workshop is time consuming, and a lot of work, but it will be worth it when you are able to confidently deliver your training. And luckily, our training materials allow you to have a strong baseline for your content to jumpstart your workshops.
CONDUCT A TRAINING NEEDS ANALYSIS
Employee training is sometimes an obvious solution to fixing an organizational challenge. But ensuring you are training on the correct topics is crucial to making your workshop worthwhile. Sometimes training can be a quick and simple solution to overcoming organizational challenges, but it is important that it is done strategically and with intention. If you can understand the needs of your trainees, you can give them impactful, captivating training that you can feel confident in. Conducting a training needs analysis will help you ensure that you are deliver training that is actually conducive to fulfilling your organizational needs.
CONSIDER YOUR STRUCTURE
Structuring your training ahead of time will be your roadmap to successful training. Having an agenda for your training session can help you stay on track and even keep your trainees more engaged. By having a structure, you can provide preview statements. Preview statements let your trainees know how you will present your information overtime. An example of a preview statement is:
- “First I will define Unconscious Bias, then we will spend ten minutes describing ways it may come up in the workplace, finally, I will go over how to create an Unconscious Bias awareness plan for your workplace.”
Making these statements using transitional words such as “First, second, third” or “Then, next, finally” and providing timelines keeps your audience in the loop on what is to come and can actually keep them more engaged throughout the training session. It also mentally prepares them to take in the information and can increase knowledge retention.
Considering your structure also means deciding what to include in your training to make it interactive. This could be through breakout rooms, gamification, quizzes, etc.
Another simple way to structure your training workshops is through asking questions. This is more than simply asking if your trainees have any questions. Consider check-up questions pertaining to the training as well. Questions could be as simple as:
- “Has anyone ever heard the term unconscious bias before?”
- “A few minutes ago, we went over signs of unconscious bias in the workplace. What was one of those signs?”
- “Does anyone want to share how their last job handled unconscious bias?”
These simple knowledge checks throughout invite trainees to share their experiences and compare and contrast different ideas being taught. Starting with simple one-word questions then moving into questions that require more discussion will ease your trainees into meaningful conversation that complements your training.
When providing training for the first time, it can feel much easier to simply stick to the script of your training. When nerves are high, it can be intimidating to go off the path you’ve have had time to prepare and revise and feel confident in. However, being personable with your trainees, while it can require you to go a little off script, can be very helpful in building trust and rapport. It can be as simple as starting your session with some conversation. And it doesn’t even have to start with conversation on the training topics. Start by asking about their weekend, or their hobbies. Share things about yourself to contribute to the conversation and encourage them to do the same. This informal practice may seem trivial, but it accomplishes a few different things. It can open up the door to conversation and allows your trainees to feel safe talking about anything, including the training content. It also builds momentum for a conversational tone throughout the entire training session. If you make sure your trainees feel welcome to speak up at any time in the presentation, creates more engagement and allows you to get more feedback on your training. Furthermore, this eases any nerves for both the trainees and you as the trainer. By breaking the ice with these more approachable conversation topics, you can ease your way into topics relating to the training content by asking about their position in the workplace, their work experience, and how they most prefer to be trained. Making your participants comfortable with opening up in lower stakes conversations will make them more likely to open up in more advanced conversations pertaining to your training.
Another way to be more personable in your training workshops is through adding commentary to your training. If you are working off of premade training materials and PowerPoint Slides like ours, consider going beyond your reference materials to provide personal input. This could include the importance of certain parts of your training, how it may be relevant to your trainees’ roles, or personal stories of how it has impacted your professional life.
Remember, your commentary is the value you provide to the trainees. It’s the purpose of having you stand up there and deliver the training, rather than simply having everyone read the content themselves. This conversational tone is what will make your workshops memorable.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Like we said earlier, when you are delivering training to a group of employees, you are the “expert” in the room. To get to where you are, you have built some creditability and have developed a strong awareness of the topic you are training on. Despite all this, a lack of confidence in trainers is all too familiar. This can lead to imposture syndrome, which can result in underexplaining your training content due to low confidence, which will make your training less effective. Building confidence may be the most important step other than preparation in easing your nerves for your first training workshop (mind you, preparation builds confidence, so they go hand in hand). The reality is that you are the trainer, and your input means something. Be sure to remember that going in and the confidence will grow overtime with experience.
LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
It is crucial to give yourself grace when conducting training for the first time (or when doing anything for the first time for that matter). In your first training session – and probably in training sessions to come – there will be moments where things don’t go according to plan. Even if you have done everything listed above to help prepare you, there will still be external circumstances that may impact the delivery of your training. Once you accept this and willingly prepare to have to sometimes solve problems on the fly, you will confidently be able to deliver your training no matter what gets thrown at you. And don’t forget, feedback is your friend.
We hope this blog post has helped you feel better equipped to deliver your first training session, or ease your nerves about future training sessions.
Originally posted by Katelyn Roy on