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Interacting with Your Audience in Training Sessions

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Training and teaching adults requires a certain amount of interaction. As a good trainer or teacher,  knowing and practicising these skills helps your trainees learn and understand.

1) Respect your audience by being prepared, organised and on time. Make sure you start on time and end on time. Everyone's time is valuable and people appreciate efficiency. If they feel their time is being wasted, this can have a negative effect on your training. 

2) Ask what outcome the audience wants from the training session. By doing this at the beginning, you can establish rapport with your audience and check that your planned training session is on the right track.

3) Know your training style and work to your strengths. All trainers have their own style.  You may aspire to have the enthusiastic style of Tony Robbins but if that's not your natural style, you may come across as fake. Your training style will evolve over time and with practice, and its important to ask for feedback.

4) If your trainees want to know more about a particular topic that changes your training session, be flexible. If you can adjust the planned session to meet the audience needs, you are giving your trainees more value as its information that they want at that time. You could give your audience the choice to extend one training session and shortening another. Or you could put a note on the whiteboard to come back to later if time. Be careful not to go over the scheduled finish time though. 

5) Have a sense of humour and have fun with your training. If you are enjoying it, then it's likely that your trainees will have a better training session. Have a few ice-breakers at the start but only tell jokes if you are comfortable and can deliver them well. And, of course be selective with any jokes so you don't offend anyone.

6) Get feedback throughout the training session from your trainees to check for understanding. You can ask questions to encourage participation and ensure your audience is getting value from your training.

7) As a trainer, asking for questions at the end of your training session can be terrifying. What if you don't know the answer? Well we are all human and whilst you need to have a solid understanding of your area of expertise, there are techniques you can use if you don't have the answer. For example, you could ask the audience by saying "That's a great question, let's put it to everyone - what do you think?" You could put that question on hold until later by saying "That's interesting, we need to move on with the training and we can answer it later". If you honestly don't know, don't be afraid to admit it, but offer an alternative. "I don't know exactly but I do know..." Offer to find out after the training.

By using good interaction with your trainees, it will help you to know that you are communicating effectively and that your training is getting the results you want. If not, it helps you identify how you can change things for the better.


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