The most enjoyed elements of our PTT Train the Trainer course are the skills that are taught.  One of the most enjoyed skill sets shown is the ability to throw the monkey. For those that aren't aware, the monkey is the negative thoughts and feelings you get when you forget something or when something goes wrong.  It makes you feel anxious and nervous, which makes things worse.   This monkey causes massive problems, and if we are not careful, it will cause us issues when we are delivering training.  Furthermore, we can create a habit of keeping the monkey and therefore keeping the stress.  This is not a healthy habit to create and it can then become a self-fulfilling prophecy, occurring every time we stand up and deliver training or public speaking. When we throw the monkey, we are moving attention from us to others, we do this by getting others to do an activity or asking questions.  In other words, we are causing a distraction away from us!

Monkey throwing is an art; I have seen very nervous individuals smash their nerves by throwing the monkey.  In other words, moving the attention from you to someone or to a group of people.  Watching someone do this for the first time and then realising they can do this anytime they want to is a brilliant sight to see.  Additionally, groups and individuals want to be engaged, so they love the monkey being thrown at them.

Remember, don’t keep it with you, it will cause you problems.  When you’re feeling doubt or questioning your abilities, throw it.  Get the monkey off you and give it to someone else.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.