Let me share a recent experience. I had invited a trainer for a session. The session was for one and half hours. The trainer spoke very well, invited questions and answered them well. However, an hour into the session, she was only on her second slide. When reminded of the time, she had to rush through the remaining 30-plus slides to be able to conclude in time. The end result: the session’s objective was not achieved though participants appreciated the knowledge of the trainer. The trainer felt she could have done better with more time.
I am sure most of us have come across such situations. Each training programme is a great learning experience. I have carefully observed people who are excellent trainers and have tried to learn from them. I find that the success of a training session depends upon three things:
A. Clarity of session’s objective: the destination one wants to reach at the end of the given time;
B. Time management: how does one space out the session. A session plan broadly has three sections — an introduction; the middle portion in which the core message/learning is shared; and the conclusion or recapitulation of key lessons; and
C. Methodology: This is the most important part. How do you engage the participants; how do you keep their interest alive; and how do you bring out the hidden knowledge of the participants. The key is to remember that you are not a lecturer, you are a facilitator.
To sum up, I would say that a trainer should be like a navigator who steers the session towards its destination — the session’s objective. Like a good navigator, he/she should also be able to keep the time and manage the diversions, which may come in form of questions from the participants. Questions should be welcome but only those which are relevant to the session’s objective.