The fastest way to lose the attention of your trainees is to lose their respect. To lose their respect, all you have to do is show them that you’re reciting a cookie-cutter program back to them.
Wait, that’s not what you want to do? Then you must personalize your trainings.
What is Personalization?
If you want to be an effective trainer, your audience shouldn’t feel that you’re talking at them instead of talking to them .
To that effect, personalization is when you’re able to make a trainee feel like they’ve been heard. That means your trainee should have a voice in the session, and that you will adjust your session to help them.
Simply put, personalization is when you’re willing to take the trouble of changing your presentation to accommodate your audience.
How can you personalize?
There are two important phases of personalization: pre-work, and adjustment.
As a trainer, you should research your audience. It will be of great benefit to you.
This can be as simple as reaching out to your client to learn the name and background of each trainee, or as complicated as sending each trainee a Google form to ask them specific questions that help you modify your session. It all depends on how much effort you’re willing to put in.
In this context, adjustment means your willingness to change your session based on the interaction you have with your audience.
This can be as simple as skipping a few slides in your slideshow, or as complicated as dropping your agenda altogether and going “off-script” to add value to your audience based on what they want.
The most sought-after trainers do the latter. The best trainers have the courage and the presence of mind to be able to adjust their session to the needs of the audience.
How can you personalize your training?
If you want to speak for an hour, you need to prepare material worth four.
As part of your pre-work, add elements to your presentation that specifically seek audience input. Common examples include polls and MCQs. You could also pick an audience member at random and ask them a question.
Whichever technique you choose, make sure to prepare material that addresses all answers of your audience input. This allows you to take your training in various directions.
For example, if you’re doing a session on teamwork, you could ask a multiple choice question: “What is the most important trait of a teammate?” and have the following answers:
For each option, you should have a segment ready, so that no matter which option gets the most votes, you have material prepared.
Another example, if you want to go above and beyond: you could ask the same question beforehand, and based on people’s answer, you could prepare a 1-sheet bio on each of them that helps them understand their priorities, which helps them understand how to be a better teammate.
Training is not supposed to be unidimensional. Training is a living, breathing conversation between a teacher and their students.
The unfortunate situation is that people join this industry because they see a relatively quick and easy way to make money, because of which we end up with snake oil salesmen who couldn’t care less if their trainings were effective at all.
Don’t be that person. Personalize.