The first step to being an engaging trainer is to be engaged yourself, according to Eve Ash, Psychologist & Speaker, and CEO of Seven Dimensions.
In other words, it’s important to really love the content, she said.
Moreover, it’s good to make the effort to do something engaging when you first walk in to the session, she told L&D Professional
. This could involve creating trivia quizzes, and competitions within the room.
“If it’s face-to-face training, divide people into pairs or groups and have a competition to see who can do this or that,” she said.
“Making it very skills-related so people are getting a chance to practice relevant things is really good. The important thing is interaction and that’s the difference. You don’t want a didactic approach.”
Ash said that it’s especially important to look at the qualities of an inspirational trainer.
“Then it’s a matter of finding out what can we learn from them and then push ourselves,” she said.
For Ash, the biggest danger for L&D professionals is getting into a comfort zone and not trying new things.
That’s the biggest issue because when you get into a comfort zone you are not pushing yourself to make it more interesting, Ash added.
“This is a classic thing with teaching. Once you have developed the program it’s easy to fall into the trap of running it repeatedly,” she said.
Ash said it’s important to look for that special something that keeps people engaged.
“That’s the thing where people go: ‘Wow, that was so important for me’,” she said.
“You are looking for people coming up to you and saying things like: ‘I love it when you say this or that’.”
Ash also advices L&D professionals to be really open to feedback.
“Don’t just look for a pat on the back. Ask people who is the best trainer they have ever had and find out what it is that they did,” she said.
“Also, I think just be confident and persist.”
Moverover, being in a world that is very media savvy, PowerPoints are increasingly becoming the old form of training, Ash added.
“If you don’t have short lively clips and case studies you are missing out,” she said.
“It’s very important to think of your audience, and what they are doing every day. They are always looking at their phones, and they are always looking at multiple media channels simultaneously. You want to increase the amount of media that you put in at the same time as just talking.”