Most of us have witnessed it or even experienced it – you know, those moments when the person delivering the training looks lost on their feet and starts to spiral into a bit of a wreck where the audience is disengaged, and there’s no way back; not a pleasant thing to experience or witness.  Then it’s often the time for the excuses...

You’ll have likely heard some of the excuses from a trainer, things like, “Oh, they were tired”, “They were a tough audience”, “It was straight after lunch” or even worse, “They’ve done all this before, so it was just a recap”, and of course there are many, many more.  Just what or who are they excusing though?  Is it justification or excuse about the audience when this happens or actually, are they justifying themselves being poor trainers?  Of course, It’s the latter, and it’s convenient and easy to try and pin the blame on the audience. Everything that happens though is because of the trainer; a great example of cause and effect!  Now consider the time and money wasted when this happens; ‘training’ sessions that are anything but training, they’re most likely dull, lifeless presentations where the ‘trainer’ stands and reads out information.  The trainer should be fully engaged with the audience, and when they are, you’ll hear no excuses because they won’t need them!  Here are some examples of what they probably didn’t have in their sessions:

A ‘What’s in it for me’ or WIIFM for short – They likely didn’t spell out the reason why the audience needed to be in the session giving a good ‘hook’ to receive that buy-in; this is an absolute must in every session!

They weren’t passionate about the subject – If you don’t convey that passion in everything you deliver as a trainer, the audience will see it and hear it and will then think, “Well clearly they don’t believe/buy that so why should we?”; a sure-fire way to achieve instant disengagement.

Their body language wasn’t open and positive – Negative, closed body language shows disinterest and nerves; the audience will have been seeing and reading this all session, and it will turn them off.

They didn’t engage the audience fully with questions and activities – A lack of engagement where the audience gets talked at, often with slides of PowerPoint filled with words isn’t training it’s telling!  Getting the audience engaged fully with questions, activities, shared experiences and expertise is true training.

Train with all four of the above, and you’ll have a recipe for success and then a lack of need for the same old excuses for poor practice we’ve heard so often.

Scott Fraser is a Master Trainer at Target Training and delivers our PTT Train the Trainer courses and our Advanced PTT Train the Trainer courses.  You can read more about him here.