You know you’ve hit you training objectives when participants write on their evaluations: “Not what I expected, better!” and “exceeded my expectations-provided tools that are applicable to many types of trainings I do.” That’s the feedback TrainSmart received after conducting three-day in-house Train-the-Trainer at Ireland Home Based Services (IHBS) in Evansville, Indiana.

IHBS works with state, regional and local county offices to develop, deliver and improving service standards on behalf of children, families, and persons with developmental disabilities.  Team members can find themselves in life and death situations. Much of the training they provide deals with family situations. They also train families on day-to-day activities like how to safely put a child in a car seat to teaching clients how to make sure their homes are child proofed.  In addition, the training department is responsible for onboarding new employees who will be responsible for training their clients. In effect, they are Train-the-Trainers.

Over the past 20 years, more than 25,000 people have attended our flagship Train-the-Trainer program which is the only instructor-led Train-the-Trainer that is certified by the International Board of Certified Trainers. When it is presented to an internal group like IHBS, TrainSmart can customize the training to take a deeper dive in specific areas of needs.

In our pre-workshop planning session, IHBS had five specific goals it wanted the train to address. How to:

  • create and deliver engaging training sessions
  • communicate urgency in a calm manner
  • read a room or audience
  • be professional
  • use best training practices

Fortunately, all of these goals match material that we include in our training. However, by sharing these specific goals we were able to make sure that we took a deeper dive into these areas and when we were covering material we were able to relate it back to their training needs.

To emphasize the importance of creating and delivering engaging training sessions, the participants were given a challenge about five minutes into the workshop: Introduce one of their co-workers as if they were “training” the rest of the group about the person. The key criteria: the training had to be engaging.

To make sure they accomplished their challenge, we first had a discussion about what makes an engaging training. Once we agreed on that criteria, the participants were given 10 minutes to design an training on their fellow co-worker.  Then, each person had two minutes to conduct their engaging training.

The results were fascinating. Instead of a typical introduction where participants don’t remember anything 10 minutes after the introductions are completed, our trainers had us play two truths and a lie; they invited the audience to ask the colleague questions, and one person used Mnemonic Techniques based on the person’s first name to share key information.

The exercise served as a touchstone throughout the next three days to reinforce the energy and power of engaging participants throughout a training session.

As in any training workshop, different aspects of the session resonated with individual participants so that everyone left the workshop with a clear vision of how they wanted to revise their approach to training:

  • When she develops a training, one participant plans to start using a list of best practices that she can check her training against to make sure she is incorporating the best of the best.
  • With a deeper understanding of different communication and learning styles, one participant feels she will do a better job dealing with various personality types.
  • By focusing on the importance of engaging audiences in training, one participant says she realizes many of her past “trainings” were actually presentations and by taking this workshop she can make sure a training is actually a training.
  • Being able to measure results by developing goals and objectives that have specificity regarding what kind of proficiency the trainee needs to demonstrate is motivating one participant to revamp her training programs
  • Having the structure of Tell3 as a guideline when presenting material is giving one participant more confidence that she can start her trainings with a “bang” and end by “tying a bow” around the entire topic.

The most important takeaway for the group is that they now have a common language and benchmark to evaluate the trainings they develop and deliver. Instead of providing subjective feedback on why someone may like or dislike an aspect of a training, they now have the tools to discuss the features of training based on the best practices they learned in the Train-the-Trainer.