One of the things I love about my 1:1 Presentation & Public Speaking coaching sessions is that I can tailor them exactly to the needs of the individual – because there is only the one person to take into account. However, a good deal of my past and current training is designed for groups – and being an external trainer, you rarely get to know who is attending in advance.
Each trainee brings their own baggage to the training session, meaning that each group you teach may need a different level of approach in terms of workshop content and skill/intelligence level, despite the overarching subject matter.
One of the worst things we can do as trainers is to imagine that a given topic can simply have a ‘one size fits all’ methodology to the planning and design. One size fits all may be great in some instances – but training is not a pair of tights – you can’t just stretch them over the ever-expanding pair of legs and hope for the best.
If the content in a workshop is not pitched at the right level for the delegates’ needs, then it won’t work. When you are an expert in your field, it is only too easy to overcomplicate material for your course. This risks you pitching the content too high, resulting in novice students losing interest out of frustration, or feeling under-confident and ‘stupid.’
If the content is too easy, more advanced students may lose interest out of boredom or feel patronized. Either way, your training then becomes perceived as a waste of time and resources – and the value of the information becomes downgraded. Word gets around that the workshop is ‘teaching granny to suck eggs,’ which means future delegates arrive with preconceived notions that they will neither enjoy, nor benefit from it.
So the best thing to do is gather as much information about your delegates as possible and be prepared to add or remove difficulty as you go through the sessions.
Here is some possible ‘trainee baggage’ to help you tailor your next training more accurately:
- How many will be attending?
- What is their current skill/knowledge level in your planned topic?
- Background information – what have they encountered in the past – was it a positive or negative experience?
- What do they plan to do with their new knowledge?
- How long the session should last to ensure the new material starts to embed and trainees get the opportunity to try using it in a safe environment?
- What might add interest to the session for competent/knowledgeable delegates?
- What level of skill do they need to attain – is there a test or exam they need to pass or can you set your own standards?
- Attitude – how interested and enthusiastic do you expect the trainees to be in this learning process?
I’m off now to haul a pair of Medium tights over my XL thighs! Whadda ya mean ‘’there’s no chance Sonya’?