This is the first in a series of posts regarding training. I’ll cover how to train, types of training, pitfalls to avoid, and share a few training outlines. But first, I want to start with how not to train people.
Training is defined as the continual process of raising the competency of individuals and teams through education, instruction, and discipline. Achieving your business and personal goals is directly connected to the team you build through dedicated recruiting and ongoing training.
Don’t Expect Everyone To Learn In The Way YOU Learn
Too many trainers only teach how they learn. Too often, when a trainee does not grasp the information, we think less of them (What are you … stupid?). Consider the question, “How do I adjust my training to their learning style?” How should I train people?
Try this free learning style assessment. As you will see, the three most basic learning styles are:
- Kinesthetic or Tactile
Most individuals use a combination of many learning styles including musical (rhythmic), inter and intra-personal, visual (spatial), logical (mathematical), and verbal (linguistic) — but for our purposes—let’s consider the basic three.
How To Use The Assessment
- Begin by completing the assessment
- Score the assessment
- Be aware your tendencies are to train within your own preferences
- Select “types” for a summary of how each type may best retain information
- Have all team members take the assessment
- Adapt your training to the learning styles of the team
Follow Up By Asking Team Members How They Learn
- How have they learned in the past?
- How do they study?
- What training procedures have helped them?
- What training procedures have not been effective for them?
For example, my modality is kinesthetic. If you tried to teach me a procedure, such as a computer program, by showing me, I would struggle to retain the information. However, if you walked me through it, allowing me to operate the computer, hands-on, my retention would be high.
Osmosis Is Not The Best Way to Train People
Do you truly believe self-training is the best? People will learn on their own without training and direction – just not as quickly, completely, or correctly. I’ve heard managers say, “I treat them like adults, so they should just do it!” What I hear is, “I don’t take the time or have the confidence to give my team guidance and direction.” You must tell, show, do, and review. If your team would do it on their own, without training, and direction, they wouldn’t need you! You’d be out of work. Don’t worry — not going to happen.
Don’t Lose Your Patience
I once read, the average person needs to be exposed to new information six times before it is retained. It may not be retained until the 6th repetition. After six times, it’s usually remembered. In other words, after 6 times it’s not easily forgotten. It takes six times to retain. Six times. My point is you shouldn’t expect to train only once.
We’ve covered a few basic don’ts; let’s cover some do’s next.
What don’ts would you add to this list?
So, What’s Next?
Let’s look at some points to consider before the training begins.
- Who should participate in the training? You must be comfortable with the size and diversity of the group. Sometimes, it may be more effective to break into sub-groups.
- Where will the training be conducted? The facility must be clean, quiet, and suitable for training, with white boards or technology as needed.
- When will the training be held? Consider the best times for training to reduce work production interference.
- How long is the training? Think about how much time is needed to share the information without losing the trainees’ interest.
- What are the expectations? Begin by sharing expectations including note taking, participation, quizzes, and asking questions.
Do You Want Questions? The Answer Should Be… “Yes!”
Questions are not an interruption or delay — they’re information. Tell the trainees you want questions.
- Explain there’s no such thing as a dumb question. The only dumb question is the one not asked. Tell them if they’re unsure, they should ask.
- Promise not to show impatience through body language, tone of voice, or your words. The first time you project annoyance or sound condescending when answering a question — the questions will stop.
- Let them know their questions offer valuable insight into their understanding and retention.
- Tell them it’s, “just us in the room,” so get over the fear of sounding dumb because they ask a question.
- Inform them you will check their understanding throughout the training by periodically asking, “Do you understand?” If they say yes, you’ll follow up with, “Great, explain it to the group.”
A trainee may ask a question that is ahead of schedule; in other words, you’re on page 5, and they’re on page 15. Establish a parking lot of questions, which will be covered in time. Let them know not to feel put off if their question goes to the parking lot because the question indicates they’re listenning, and they’re thinking.
Let the trainees know you expect everyone to participate. Encourage participation by calling on everyone. Participation includes staying focused and in the moment. Explain, occasionally, everyone losses focus; it’s okay to ask for a do-over. Let them know if you catch them drifting off, they should expect to be called upon — it’s less embarrassing to ask for clarification.
Set the expectations by explaining the importance of note taking and follow-up by periodically checking your trainees’ notes. My friend, and Principle D.B., distributes an outline when facilitating any training session, meeting, or discussion. She follows up by MBWA (Managing By Wandering Around). Many companies, such as IBM, have encouraged managers to be “in” their department not in their office.
Set The Stage
- What do the trainees need to know before the session?
- What would enhance the training?
- Consider any information you may share before the training.
How Can I Help You?
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.