I have been training REM clients since I started almost 5 years ago. In the height of my training days, I used to train clients 2-3 times a week. When I was promoted to Account Manager/Project Manager the number of training sessions that I led became less frequent. Now my training is limited to new REM employees and our clients if our primary support staff are on holidays or unavailable.
I enjoy teaching our different tools and I have become an effective trainer during my time at REM.
Here are some general rules that I follow in my approach to training.
I Come Prepared
I make sure that I understand the tools that I am teaching. If I were to second guess myself or fumble over my explanations, I could very easily confuse the person that I am training. I could also make myself, and the company, look foolish if I were underprepared. I take the time to learn the tools that I am teaching inside and out. Being prepared allows me to speak confidently and answer any questions that I am asked.
I Keep on Track
Quite often our clients will begin to ask questions that start to lead the training down a different path. Although I encourage our clients to ask questions, I recognize that answering their questions right away isn’t always the best approach. In many cases the questions that are asked will be discussed at a later time, so in the interest of keeping the training organized, I will acknowledge the clients question and let them know that it will be answered at a later point. This allows everyone to stay focused and on schedule.
This may seem like a no-brainer but it is imperative that I actively listen to the individuals that I am training. I listen to what they are saying so that I can correctly address their questions and concerns.
I Am Patient
Yes, training sessions need to keep moving but I also need to give our clients a reasonable amount of time to jot down notes, look at the examples that I am providing and allow them to see what buttons I am clicking as I navigate through the system that I am showing them. When I train a client, it is typically the first time that they have ever seen the tools that I am showing them, so I slow down a bit so that they can absorb what I am teaching them.
I Provide Training Documentation
The documentation that we provide at REM for training is limited. We provide a small synopsis of what will be covered but we do not provide step by step instructions. We do this for a few reasons but the biggest reason is that we want our clients to be paying attention to us, the trainers, not reading along to a lengthy “how to” document. The documentation that I hand out allows our clients to add their own notes on the points that are important to them and forces them to become a more engaged listener.
I Am Ready to Explain a Process Multiple Times and in Different Ways
A set of instructions that I give to one client may not resonate with the next. I must be prepared to explain and show processes more than once and in many cases, in different ways. Sometimes this means that I simply walk through the process again and sometimes I am required to explain the process in an alternative way, such as using different terminology.
I strive to lead training sessions that are relaxed and informative. I want our clients to leave my training sessions feeling comfortable with what I have shown them and empowered that they can use our tools with minimal, to no assistance. I believe that I am able to accomplish this by following my self-imposed rules listed above.