Quite often on our Train the Trainer courses when our delegates do their practical sessions, they don’t quite go according to plan.  There are many reactions including sheer panic, but it really doesn’t have to be that way…

On our courses, I do emphasise organisation and the fact that it’s so important that you find your own individual style in your session prep to find a way that works for you. Lessons should always follow the basic structure and the framework of your lesson planning should then follow this too. However, the content you include in your notes prep could be completely different to what you perceive you need to prep.  Find the way that works for you and never decide that you can skip this crucial part to just “wing it” as that will set you up for a potential panic and crash to the detriment of you and your audience.

Let’s face it, you can be the best Trainer in the world and have your preparation and notes written wonderfully, but you can’t plan for one element that is always present in any training session – The human element!  And that’s what makes Training both challenging and rewarding in equal measure.  What then can you do when things don’t quite go to plan to get things back on track? Here are my five tips:

1. Throw the Monkey – The best trick is to go back to the last thing you covered and then set a question or an activity.  Throwing that Monkey will immediately re-focus the attention back to the training giving you some catch-up time in the process.

2. Take a break – Taking the opportunity to give everyone a break will disrupt any potential issues that have made your training go off plan and give you that crucial opportunity to catch up and then get things back on track when everyone returns.

3. Park it in the Garage – If you’re taken off track due to someone bringing in something that isn’t quite about what you are doing right then, tell them to “Park it in the Garage” and that you’ll come back to it.  If you do use this technique, then you must revisit the area in the garage else you have broken a verbal contract!

4. Carry on keep calm – Think of the experience as a way to learn as we will only ever improve when things don’t go quite right.  Embrace the fact that these experiences are a positive learning experience rather than a negative one.

5. Reflect and action plan – Think about what happened through reflection and then make your action plan to correct what you need to lessen the chances of the same thing happening again.

Special thanks go to all the guys at Richardson’s Milling for inspiring this blog

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.