Training & Development For Dummies
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Training and development can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also filled with challenges. This Cheat Sheet aims to cut to the chase in several key areas that trainers deal with all the time. You'll find succinct tips on avoiding pitfalls, designing great visuals, and loads of quick ideas to improve your sessions.

A dozen training dos

Have you ever wondered why you spent the time to train your employees, but they still don’t seem to do what you trained them to? Include this 12-pack of good ideas in your training, and you can guarantee success.

  • Be prepared.

  • State the objectives.

  • Be organized.

  • Use visuals.

  • Answer questions.

  • Be enthusiastic.

  • Provide feedback.

  • Be flexible.

  • Prepare for emergencies.

  • Encourage participation.

  • Establish rapport.

  • Be yourself.

Characteristics of effective visuals when training your employees

If you really want your training to take hold and be retained, you need to have effective visuals. Visuals must enhance — not detract from — your training delivery. Be sure that you follow the VISUAL laws.

  • Visible: Words on visuals are large enough, and you don’t block the view.

  • Interesting: Oriented to the learner, visuals make use of pictures, graphs, color, and bullets.

  • Simple: Information is concise, and key concepts are highlighted.

  • Useful: Visuals help the trainer and the learner stay on track.

  • Accurate: Information on the visuals matches the participants’ materials.

  • Long-lasting: Visuals facilitate retention and help the learner transfer and apply concepts.

Finding ways to ensure participation in training and development

You have many ways to ensure participation in training and development. Mostly it comes down to your reaction to the learners and their learning situation. How do you react to ensure an environment that encourages the best opportunities for participation? How do you react to create the best learning experience? The REACT mnemonic helps you remember the basics for encouraging participation:

  • Relax and establish an informal atmosphere.

  • Encourage participants to take control of their own learning.

  • Accept participants where they are.

  • Communicate openly and honestly.

  • Tap participants for their ideas.

7 sins of trainers

Everyone makes mistakes, but some are bigger than others. When you are training your employees, your mistakes can make the difference between business success and failure. Steer clear of committing these sins:

  • Starting late and wasting time

  • Being poorly prepared and lacking content knowledge

  • Displaying distracting habits

  • Ignoring participants’ needs and interrupting their questions

  • Lacking enthusiasm

  • Reading from a script

  • Neglecting to tell participants WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”)

Tips for better training design

Developing a more effective training session is definitely in your best interest. When designing a training session, ensure that you maximize the learning that occurs by doing the following things:

  • Build in practical, relevant examples.

  • Make it interactive; learning is not passive.

  • Enrich with content; don’t underestimate your learners’ potential.

  • Enhance content with visuals.

  • Provide opportunities for practice, review, and summary.

Training & development: what you can't glean from a book

You want your training session to be specific to your goals and provide information that can’t be found in generic training resources. To set your training apart from materials your participants can get online or from a book, be sure to do the following in your training:

  • Create a supportive learning environment.

  • Let participants know how they will benefit from the training.

  • Find out what participants need and expect and fulfill that need/expectation.

  • Involve participants in the training from start to finish.

  • Show a high degree of respect for each participant.

  • Assure that the training mirrors the actual job situation.

  • Reinforce positive participant behavior with recognition and encouragement.

  • Put your heart into the training session. If you’re giving it your all, your trainees will, too.

  • Take a personal interest in each participant.

  • Allow participants to get to know each other.

  • Know and polish your communication and training style.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Elaine Biech is president and managing principal of ebb associates inc, an organizational and leadership development firm that helps organizations work through large-scale change. Her 30 years in the training and consulting field include support to private industry, government, and non-profit organizations.

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