Do these 15 things and you are guaranteed to lose credibility and bore the hell out of people who attend your training.
We’ve all been there. Praying for the torture to end. Anxiously looking around imagining you could bolt out of the room as if you were in the running of the bulls. Moving nervously in your chair letting out exhale after exhale hoping someone…anyone…would garner the courage to stand up and tell the trainer to shut up! We’ve all been there.
I coach and train people all over the world on how to master the art of exceptional training delivery. To develop mastery as a trainer often requires people to break highly resistant habits that, if left unchanged, lead to torturous training experiences for attendees.
No matter how long you’ve been training, you would be wise to avoid the 15 most common things trainers do to deliver training that absolutely sucks. Here is the list in no specific order:
1. Standing in the Same Spot
I call this the “deer in the headlights” position. Trainers who do this stand motionless with fear. It’s as if they move anywhere would cause them to be struck by lightning. For goodness sakes, move around. Your audience won’t bite you.
2. Using a Monotone Voice
If you want to disengage an audience, do this. After about 3 minutes, your attendees would rather be in the dentist chair hearing the sound of the drill approaching. Engage them. Be the drill, not the Novocain.
3. Overusing Lecture
Lecturing is a required part of training but it is not the only way to train. Trainers who overuse lecture do so for 3 reasons:
- They don’t know any better
- They don’t want to get any better
- They can’t get any better.
Fix the first reason by getting training on delivering content. Fix the second reason by helping the person overcome his/her ego. Fix the third reason by finding something else for the person to do other than deliver training.
4. Demonstrating Stiff Body Language
Watching someone train that moves around as if they are in a body cast is just downright painful. It completely distracts the audience and all but shatters any chance of learning. The best trainers constantly videotape themselves to eliminate any undesirable body language.
5. Overusing “I” and “Me”
How many times have you gotten tired of hearing a trainer talk about himself? This is an easy trap to fall into because anytime a person overuses “I” or “me”, it’s an ego problem. The easy solution is to simply ask questions to take ensure the focus remains on the participants.
6. Not Asking Questions
Not only does asking questions place the focus on the participants, it happens to be the #1 skill required for making training engaging. When you are not asking questions, you are overusing lecture. And when you are overusing lecture, you are boring!
7. Not Using (Appropriate) Humor
Adults want and expect to be entertained. They want training to have a fun element, and these days, getting them to occasionally laugh is an absolute requirement. Whether you do it spontaneously or manufacture it with funny videos, use humor. It makes you and your training memorable for the right reasons.
8. Using Limiting / Negative Language
Many people (including trainers) habitually use words like “problems”, “disaster”, and…my least favorite limiting word…”can’t”. Overcoming the habit of using negative language requires a conscious shift in thinking. If you need to improve in your language, make a game of it. Anytime someone hears you make a limiting statement, have them reinforce a consequence – pay them a dime, sing 1 line from your least favorite song, or whatever works for you to get you to change your habit in a non-threatening way.
9. Saying Inappropriate Things
Similar to #8 but not the same, making inappropriate comments will automatically shut a class down. I’m always amused by trainers who try to rationa”lies” their overly harsh and inappropriate comments. They’re only fooling themselves and building a reputation for putting the U in “you suck”.
10. Not Smiling
People who don’t smile look like Grumpy Cat to me. And while that cat is worth a mind-blowing $12 million, you won’t be able to profit off of your uninviting mugshot. Fail to smile and you’ll be known for being grumpy and boring – and that is the cocktail of future irrelevance.
10. Reading Your PowerPoint Slides
Most adults were taught to read before they were 5 years old. So trainers who read what’s on the slide instead of adding value beyond what’s on a slide are like piece of lint – you’re a temporary part of the fabric that people automatically have an urgent desire to get rid of once they realize you’re there. Be more than lint. Be the tailored suit that clearly and masterfully delivers massive value.
11. Writing Illegibly on Flipcharts and Whiteboards
You don’t have to have calligraphy for handwriting but we’d certainly like to read what you write. I usually laugh out loud when a trainer can’t read his/her own handwriting on a flipchart. Sure, my laughter is embarrassing, and it’s meant to be. If you can’t read it, don’t torment us too by writing it.
12. Placing Too Much Text on a PowerPoint Slide
Another one of those trainer 101 basics that seems to be violated as much as driving faster than the posted speed limit. While you won’t get a ticket for the PowerPoint violation, people are guaranteed to mentally check out. Reduce the text, add more visuals, and complement the slides with other techniques that increase engagement and learning.
13. Not Using Inspiring Catch Phrases
Everyone likes a little inspiration throughout the training. Stop being 100% focused on content, and be sure to add in some quotes and phrases that engage, inspire, and provoke your audience. You can get tons of captivating and motivational quotes from our Facebook page and by following me on Twitter.
14. Telling Boring Stories
Telling a story that drags on and doesn’t appear to be relevant to the topic is like using your nails to scrape across an old school chalk board. I know, you Millennials (18 – 33 years old) don’t know what I’m talking about so google it. Great stories are like mini movies – they have a challenge, a person who is seeking to overcome the challenge, and a person or group who supports the challenge. Point is, make your stories engaging using words that convey imagery, provoke emotion, and immerse people into the story. You’ll know you were effective when people come up to you at break to talk about your stories.
15. Not Having a Call to Action
Every effective training course has learning objectives that identify exactly what the participants should be able to do after attending the course. Often times trainers fail to remind participants to take action and apply what they’ve just learned. Master trainers are adept at making the call to action sound so compelling that people are excited and want to apply what they’ve learned. If you’re not getting that level of engagement at the very end, it’s time to step up your game.
Avoiding and fixing the majority of the 15 common mistakes trainers make is quite easy and costs very little. So audit yourself. If you find you are committing one or more of these mistakes, fix it. You’ll be better for it, and your participants will thank you for it.
As a coach who develops master trainers all over the world, contact us today to get more information on the proven approach we use. We guarantee measurable improvement and, in many cases, enable you to experience a truly life-changing transformation.
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