Becoming an Excellent Trainer Beyond WDA and Skillsfuture

I was reminded by Facebook about what I posted some years ago. These still hold true. I think anyone who wants to start their journey in training should begin to assimilate practices for speaking. You can join my Persuasion Academy program to kickstart your ability to speak powerfully and authentically. However, I also hope that the folk at IAL don’t condone mediocrity. Had a chat with one of the associate trainers there who also realizes that the quality of the training there has declined. Here’s what I said before and I’ll repeat:

After hearing so much about the SkillsFuture program in Singapore, I thought to implore anyone who speaks, teaches and trains for a living to consider the following. To have learners benefit, you must have trainers who are dynamic and able to engage their learners. Or else, no matter how much money the government gives to learning, it will be a drag. And a waste of taxpayers money. As speakers/trainers involved with SkillsFuture, you shape the mindset of people toward the topic. To ensure people grow, the skills you teach must be of the highest possible quality.

This means, just because you have a certificate from someone, you can’t rest on your laurels: you have still got to better yourself!

1. Claim airtime by speaking more;
2. Get feedback as much as you can from the audience as well as from mentors;
3. Deepen your skills beyond WDA (ACTA, DACE, etc): those are basic skills and you have to surpass those standards by upgrading skills, mindsets and beliefs about what you can or cannot do as a speaker/trainer;
4. The same explanations don’t work well for everyone. If you truly care about your audience, you will make sure you can explain the same thing in multiple ways according to the need of your audience;
5. Teaching different levels of age or education or experience simply requires you to practice with a wider and wider audience over time. Volunteer your time if you have to, don’t get rusty;
6. There are multiple ways to reach an audience no matter how defensive. Learn to establish rapport through your content;
7. There is no excuse for boring content other than a lack of time spent on preparation and thinking about your audience;
8. Excellence in speaking begins with a clear foundation on personal growth and sharpening your own saw. You can practice what you don’t preach, but it’s like playing a musical instrument perfectly but without expression or feeling… you’ll still lose an audience;
9. Your responsibility is to the audience first, not to the content. You have to adapt the content to the audience, not the other way around;
10. The manner of your explanations is just as important as the content of your explanation. Nobody likes to be put down even if they are less educated;
11. Connection with the audience cannot be understated. 90% of the success of any talk or training depends on the value of your connection with the audience;
12. Read 20 to 30 books in the area of expertise you wish to build. Of you’re not reading, you’re probably outdated.

The typical trainer needs to know the following:
1. Audience needs analysis
2. Rapid learning techniques
3. Lesson planning and scheduling
4. Active training with depth and meaningful debrief
5. Personal energy management
6. Dealing with impromptu events and situations
7. Rapport on and off stage
8. Crowd control and management strategies
9. Preparation techniques
10. Stage and ambience management
11. Audience energy management
12. Converting technical topics into learnable nuggets
13. Mastering a difficult audience
14. Measuring effectiveness of a talk or training
15. Converting content into learning objects and representations for ease of cognitive load
16. Design of activities for learning complex tasks
17. Giving effective instructions for activities
18. Mastering slides
19. Mastering learner guides
20. Enhancing trainee self-efficacy
21. Modeling effective best practices in training
22. Demonstrations and use of illustrative props
23. Understand and leverage social dynamics for engagement
24. Humor
25. Motivating an audience

There’s probably more but if you are a speaker/trainer or aspiring one, mastering all this will take years not months. If you are passionate about it, focus on what’s important in your development first.

About Stuart Tan

Stuart Tan, MSc, MBA, SDCG, BA (Hons), is a Licensed NLP Trainer since 1997, and is Singapore's first Licensed NLP Coach Trainer, a trained counselor and trauma and depression therapist since 1999, a Master Motivational Coach with the Institute of Motivational Coaching and a leadership, team performance and change management consultant. He certifies NLP Practitioners and NLP Master Practitioners, NLP Business Practitioners and NLP Business Master Practitioners and Certified Motivational Coaches (CMC) as well as Licensed NLP Coaches. Register on this blog for notifications and information about his free and paid talks and events.
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