MLA 2012: Train Like A Pro

For this rest of this week I’m attending the 2012 Joint Conference of the Maryland and Delaware Library Associations. Today were the preconference workshops.

Train Like A Pro: Improve Your Skills as a Trainer
Lori Reed – Owner, Lori Reed Learning Solutions

  • Doesn’t use PPT if avoidable – today just flipping through PDF of handout
  • Prefers to use flip charts instead of tech if at all possible
  • Trainers are managers and leaders
  • Facilitate conversations rather than lecture the whole time – leverages collective intelligence of the group
  • Nice to let some group dynamics emerge before introducing themselves – that’s why we rearranged tables & did a little “intro to the day” before that
    • Forming storming norming performing < look this up
  • Why do the “what do you want to get out of this?”
    • Hear other people’s challenges – comfort
    • Makes you think more deeply when someone says your thing
    • Helps presenter know if you need to tailor something
    • But – maybe not do this when you’re working on something like management challenges, interpersonal relationships, etc. Especially if the group is from the same place. (Have people move groups if there’s a conflict of interest within their group.)
  • Why do needs assessment?
    • People don’t know what they don’t know
    • Don’t want to design training that people don’t need
    • Make sure that you’re meeting a business need – think about the investment training represents (mileage, staff time, etc)
  • Trainers are not order takers!
    • When someone says “we need this” start asking questions
  • Training is about helping people with problems in order to meet [business, library] goals
  • Learning objectives – help you keep yourself on track
    • Measurable? So you can assess
  • Save the most entertaining part of your presentation after lunch – something interactive, get people moving a bit, interacting with new people, etc. keeps people awake!
  • Have you noticed we’re ¾ done and haven’t really talked about training yet?
    • All of this builds up to it. The training is the easy part
  • Dealing with distractions
    • Knitters are paying attention! They just need to do something at the same time – kinesthetic.
    • Electronic devices – you don’t know what they’re doing, don’t assume they aren’t paying attention
    • Toys – helpful for kinesthetic learners? Distracting for others?
    • Signs of people not paying attention (IRT toys) you’ve lost them.
  • People will only remember about 20% of what you cover – focus on the most important and then  put the rest in the handout
    • Go backwards from the task & only cover what they must have – put the rest and any background in a handout
  • Tell people up front if you’ll be giving them the handouts or slides – lets the note-takers focus on the meaningful stuff and not worry about what they don’t catch
  • To come up with a session quickly – narrow focus (few objectives). Ask around? Has someone done this and they can share materials? Speed up the needs assessment but be careful – don’t want to miss the mark
  • You’ll come up with a very different program depending on whether you’re presenting or facilitating
  • As a facilitator, you have to be open to the idea that you might be wrong, or open to totally new-to-you viewpoints
  • When you’re communicating, people are paying attention to body language (55%) and tone (38%) than the words (7%).
    • There are cultural things at play here sometimes
  • When you get the feedback – try to use it. If they say “too much of this, not enough of that” adjust the presentation next time you give it
    • Lori doesn’t like to give her evals right at the end – people are in a rush and want to leave!


Other things to look into:

      • Action mapping – good for information dump type presentations
      • Copy of 50 One-Minute Tips for Trainers by Carrie A Van Daele
      • master trainer programs
      • Elliott Macy (sp?) conferences
      • Programs for training via webinar – not software specific but technique
      • Online training program for online trainers – InSync Training