‘How do I get started as a trainer?’ is a question I’m often asked (that and, ‘how do I get a job doing training work with the U.N?’).
Training to be a great trainer involves three steps:
1. Be a SME (subject matter expert) – no matter if you’re training people in heart surgery, human resources or horror films you gotta, gotta, gotta be a SME. You have to know your stuff. Know it in your head – keep up with trade journals, conferences, books, websites and other forms of professional development. And know it in your heart – if you’re not passionate about your subject matter your participants will know in a nanosecond and their attention will desert you.
2. Completely apart from your SME you must, must, must know how to actually train. Know your pedagogy from your dodgy one size fits all approach. In other words know how people learn. It’s amazing to me how many people teach without knowing how people learn. How you can do the one without knowing the other is beyond me but sadly it’s very common.
Similarly know how to:
- make training sticky
- increase participation
- increase retention
- evaluate learning
- design and deliver learning that is inclusive and accessible
And similarly with being a SME, know it in your head (the technical, theoretical, information) and in your heart (if you’re not passionate about learning and helping people discover new information, ways of being and doing and ways of looking at the world training isn’t the field for you.
3. Do it! Just as you can’t teach someone to swim without them getting in the water, you can’t learn how to be a great trainer without actually doing it. Find every opportunity you can to get in front of people and teach. You’ll learn volumes. Volumes that you won’t find in any book.
So there you have it – get your SME on, know how to teach and do it – and you’ll achieve lift off as a great trainer.
P.S. stay tuned for an announcement on August 15th about my BIG lift-off.
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