Monday, 29 December 2014

Qualities of a Good Trainer

Train the Trainer
One of the activities I include in my Train the Trainer courses is to get participants to think about the skills and qualities needed to be a good trainer.

With this in mind, I’d like to offer you the three qualities that I think are the most important to be successful in the training room. This, of course, is in addition to having an excellent subject knowledge.


Communication

I’m going to start with communication. This is the key to ensuring a dynamic and effective training session. Good communication skills help build rapport during the vital early stages of the session, and ensure the training remains on track. 

Perhaps the greatest communication skill a trainer can possess is the ability to listen. As simple as this sounds, listening to what is being said by your group (and, in some cases, what is not being said) is paramount in creating a perfect harmony in the training room.

Communication is also the key to adapting your training to meet your participants’ needs. For example, you might deliver an employability skills course that covers such things as CVs, application forms and writing speculative letters. But don’t expect to be able to deliver it the same way with every group. You need to listen and communicate with your participants. Do they already have good CV writing skills but need more help with application forms? It’ll change from group to group, and communication will help you decide the appropriate amount of time to allocate to each part of the course.


Patience

A trainer who lacks patience is in the wrong profession. Patience is the underlying quality that drives you to try different ways of teaching the same thing when the first approach didn’t work. Patience is what makes you succeed with a learner who has behavioural problems. Patience is at the heart of supporting a learner who is struggling with self-confidence issues. Without patience, you will fail miserably in these and many other areas of the profession.


Empathy

Although empathy is, itself, a wonderful quality, it goes hand-in-hand with patience in the training room. The key to helping your group in a learning situation is, firstly, to accept they are all different, and then to empathise with the different barriers that each of them are facing. For some, it might be difficulties with reading or writing. Others might struggle because English is not their first language. Or maybe they have a medical condition such as poor eyesight or limited hearing. Additionally, they may have barriers to actually being there in the first place. This could include problems at home, resistance because they don’t see why they’re there, anticipated boredom, or unable to see the relevance. A trainer with empathy will consider all these issues and see things from the participants’ perspective to find solutions.

When I’m working with a group that has these types of barriers, I will often put 30 minutes aside (or more, if required), to get these concerns “out in the open.” This is where the combination of communication, patience and empathy is at its peak. Get things right at this stage and the rest of the session can be plain sailing.

Empathy also links closely to learning styles. When you’re working with a group, you’ll have participants who absorb information in different ways. This will include visual learners, auditory learners and tactile learners who prefer a “hands on” approach. With an empathetic approach, not only to their barriers, but also to their learning styles, you’ll develop training sessions that meet the requirements of all participants. 

Gary Bedingfield is the owner of Gary Bedingfield Training, based in Glasgow, Scotland. A fully qualified trainer with more than 15 years experience, he is the author of the amazon best-selling "Training for Trainers Manual". His Train the Trainer courses are among the most popular in the country and used by voluntary organisations to the world’s largest conglomerates. Visit www.garybedingfield.co.uk email info@garybedingfield.co.uk or call 0845 003 9571 to find out more about training that will meet your needs.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Bring Your Training to a Successful Conclusion

Train the Trainer
Train the Trainer courses by
Gary Bedingfield Training
In my job, I get to observe a great deal of training. Most of it is very good, but one of the things I often see is a poor ending. So many training sessions just fizzle out with no real conclusion, almost as if the trainer has “run out of steam” after the final learning outcome has been achieved.

In my opinion, the end of a training session is as important as any other part. So much so, that my Train the Trainer courses have a whole unit devoted to the process. It’s the time to draw all the threads together, emphasise the key points and congratulate the group. It’s important that training ends on a high note and that the attendees are clear on what they have learned and how they will apply it. 

Here are some things you can use to ensure your training comes to a successful conclusion.

Aims and Objectives
I always remind my group of the aims and objectives. They were told about them at the start of the course, so now it’s time to look at them again. Have they been met?

Key Points
Revisit the key learning points. If it’s been an all day training course this simple exercise will be a good reminder of what we covered first thing in the morning.

Expectations Exercise
Many courses start out with an expectations exercise – finding out what the group hope to learn from the training. The end of the course is the time to refer to it. Were all the expectations met? If not, are there other courses they can attend to help them meet these expectations?

Start – Stop – Continue
This activity can be used to generate a discussion or can be used in a more formal way as, perhaps, a written agreement. Attendees, individually or in pairs, decide what they will start doing as a result of the training they have just received, what they will stop doing and what they will continue to do.

Questions
The last thing you want is for people to be going home wishing they’d had the opportunity to ask a question, so there should always be sufficient time for questions. I often take this a step further and encourage the group – either individually or in pairs – to come up with a question they can ask.

Feedback
A vital but often overlooked, or more to the point, undervalued part of the training cycle is feedback: the process of finding out how close you have come to achieving your aim and how satisfied the attendees are with the process. Many training sessions conclude with “happy sheets” where attendees are asked to tick boxes regarding what they thought of the day’s training. Correct evaluation, however, can provide extremely valuable feedback to a trainer and is relatively easy to capture. First, we need to understand why we are gathering feedback.

Evaluation might be to:
  • Improve the learning process for current attendees
  • Improve the learning process for future attendees
  • Provide data to judge your own effectiveness
  • Provide data to estimate the value of the training to the organisation
  • Provide information to help you further develop the course
An evaluation sheet should be given to each participant near the end of the course. Notice I said NEAR the end of the course. It should not be an afterthought as they are putting on their coats and heading for the exit. Evaluation will help to ascertain the level of success of your training. Evaluation questions you can ask your attendees include:
  • How will you benefit as a result of this training? 
  • Which part of the training did you find the most useful?
  • Did you enjoy the training?
  • Do you consider the training relevant?
  • What could have been included?
  • Did you like the venue, delivery style, time, etc?
It’s important to encourage attendees to be as honest as they can. Heaps of praise about what a good job you did is wonderful for the ego but doesn’t help a great deal with regards to further course development.

Self-evaluation
At the conclusion of each training session, you should complete a self-evaluation. What went well? What could have been better? How was the timing? You should be committed to providing better training opportunities for your attendees and managing your own long-term development. Evaluation questions you can ask yourself include:
  • What went well?
  • What could have been better?
  • How was the timing?
  • How was the relationship with the attendees?
  • Was the course at the right level for the group?
And when is the best time to do this? As soon as the training has finished. That’s when everything is fresh in your mind, so when the attendees leave, put a few minutes aside to complete a self-evaluation and help yourself make that course even better the next time around.

If you’d like to learn more about being an effective and dynamic trainer then visit the Gary Bedingfield Training website at www.garybedingfield.co.uk or call us 0845 003 9571. We deliver training throughout the United Kingdom.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Professional Telephone Techniques Training

Telephone Techniques Training at www.garybedingfield.co.uk
We've recently launched a telephone techniques training course that has been receiving excellent customer reviews. 

The course has been designed to help staff develop the skills and techniques to handle all types of telephone calls, including answering and making calls in a professional manner, gathering and recording information, building rapport and dealing with difficult callers.

Link to the website page

Here's a little taster of what's included in the course.

Building Rapport

Building rapport is the cornerstone of any good relationship, and that's exactly what we want to do when we speak on the phone with a caller...build a relationship. There are a number of things we can do to help build rapport. Here are some of the important ones:

Obtain their name as soon as possible and use it
The caller may well supply you with a reference number, but always take the time to ask their name and use their name throughout the call.

Be adaptable
There is absolutely no reason for callers to all be treated the same. Use personal experience to build rapport so the caller really feels their call is important.

Make their problem your problem
By taking ownership of the enquiry and developing a one-to-one relationship you will quickly have a much better rapport with the caller.

See things from the caller's persepctive
Don't forget to use empathy with the caller and try to see things from their perspective. Put yourself in the caller's shoes.

Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions naturally encourage the caller to share more information and, therefore, build rapport. If you start a question with who, what, where, why, how or when, you can't go wrong.

Remember the value of an apology
A simple, genuine apology can easily defuse a difficult call and breakdown barriers.

Avoid assumptions
Don't make assumptions that you know what the caller is telling you...use your active listening skills and here exactly what is being said, not what you think is being said.

If necessary, give the caller an idea when they can expect a call back
"I'll get back to you when I have an answer," is not good enough. Give the caller an indication as to when they can expect a call back. Will it be within the hour, before 5pm today, or tomorrow?

What's being said about our Telephone Techniques training course?

"I will now be more confident when answering the phone."

"As a result of this training I'll definitely be more confident and calm, especially when dealing with difficult calls."

"Voicemails, this is the first time I've been shown how to leave them correctly...very helpful!"


"Useful tips on how to deal with difficult customers."

Visit the Gary Bedingfield Training website at www.garybedingfield.co.uk

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