Have you ever spent more time preparing for a training than the actual training itself? Have you ever gotten flustered mid-training because you realized you’d forgotten a critical handout or supply? Ever do the same ol’ same ol’ training because it would take too much time to design something new?
Training is both an art and a science. Follow the 7 tips below and you’ll be able to focus on the magic instead of the mundane.
The art of training is magnified by the science of systems. Training tends to create magic when it’s built on a foundation of systems. In short you gotta get organized in order to do great training. The systems make the rote stuff automatic so you can focus on what makes magic.
Systems without the magic equals training that is boring. My mind is cringing at remembering a university prof who lectured from notes so old they were yellowed.
Training that is magic that doesn’t have an organizing foundation tends to be hit and miss. I’m remembering a captivating speaker who got so carried away that he didn’t cover all the content he was supposed to.
Here are seven tips for how to combine systems with magic, bringing automagic to your training.
1. Reach out to Ma Bell: If you frequently do training at a variety of venues get your client’s cell phone number and give them yours. There’s nothing worse than butterflies wings scraping the insides of your belly because you’re lost, can’t find the venue, the training’s about to start and you have no way to reach your client.
2. Make friends with a database: invest some time and create a simple data base with all the activities you like to use in your training down the left side and what topics they address along the top. Then go through your list and check off, for each activity, which topics they are relevant for. Keep the list up to date and continually add to it. Then when you’re looking for a new way to spice up a workshop you’ll have a plethora of ideas before your very eyes.
3. Fill your hip pocket: always bring extra activities that you can do if you find yourself with extra time (which are commonly known as ‘hip pocket activities’). Even if you never use them they’ll help build your confidence.
4. Underline underline: make things easy for youself when you’re up in front of your audience. In your agenda underline the spots that have accompanying handouts. If you’re nervous or things have gone sideways your brain won’t have to work hard to look for where the next handout is.
5. Highlight highlight: again, make things easy for yourself. Highlight the bits of your agenda that have an accompanying powerpoint slide. Easy peasy means you can focus on the more important stuff rather than frantically trying to match up your agenda to your powerpoint.
6. Beat the clock: put the time that each section of your workshop is planned to happen (e.g. 10:00 am to 10:20). And because we all know that time shifts when we’re training, I also recommend putting the amount of time that each section of your workshop is likely to take (e.g. 20 min). Both will help you partition your time accurately.
7. Supplies: on your agenda break down the supplies that each workshop needs into two categories – the ones that you as the trainer will bring and the ones that your client is supplying. Be detailed. This helps the aforementioned butterflies not trying to escape your stomach through your nose because you’re all prepared and don’t realize mid-workshop that you’ve forgotten something critical.
Training is hard enough without worrying about the mundane. Use the 7 tips and you’ll be able to focus on creating magic.
Footnote: I’ve borrowed the word ‘automagical’ from my social media mentor Julie Szabo from Capulet Communications. Thanks Julie.