Communication Skills as a Trainer
Having excellent communication skills is a crucial part of delivering training that resonates with your participants. Being able to clearly convey your message will keep trainees engaged and help them take in the information being presented. This makes for more successful workshops and better organizational outcomes. The more you work to improve your communication skills throughout your career, the better trainer you will be. Below is the beginner’s guide to strong communication skills to keep in mind for your next training workshop.
Creating a safe, non-judgmental environment in your workshops will allow everyone to feel comfortable speaking up and asking questions. This means being able to understand other people’s perspectives, and being able to show flexibility when hearing opinions different from your own. This can make for more honest conversations that everyone can learn from.
Welcoming new ideas and opinions can be an excellent opportunity to see things in a new light, and can even improve how you deliver your training. If that’s not enough, research has shown that open-minded people tend to be happier and generally more satisfied with life.
To build trust with your participants, you must establish a sense of knowledge and pride in your material. The delivery of your training is no exception. Speak clearly and at an appropriate volume so everyone can hear. Make eye contact through different parts of the room to keep your entire audience engaged. While showing confidence, don’t forget to remain warm and approachable to your participants, you should still be able to listen and empathize with your trainees.
It is also important to remain confident even when things don’t go according to plan. If you find yourself having technical difficulties, remain focused and simply thank your participants for their patience as you work to solve the issue. If someone asks you a question that you do not feel you can give an accurate answer to, it is best to get their contact information and tell them you will give them an answer at a later date once you have done some research. This prevents you from giving inaccurate information but still ensures participants get their questions answered.
Communication consists of more than the words we are saying. In fact, a well-known study by Albert Mehrabian determined 7% of communication is verbal, 38% is the tone and inflection, and a staggering 55% was body language. This means body language is the most important part of the way we communicate, yet it can still be neglected. This can include facial expressions, body movement, gestures, and the use of your space. It is important to note that body language can be perceived differently based on culture.
Body language sends a multitude of messages to your audience. Having an open posture – straight back and relaxed shoulders – shows confidence and ease. Aligning your body with who you are speaking to shows you are engaged. Using hand gestures while speaking has been shown to increase credibility. When delivering your training, it is important to be mindful of the nonverbal messages you are sending.
To help your participants get the most out of your workshop, you should encourage two-way communication. Encouraging your participants to contribute in your workshops will help them gain a deeper understanding of what is being presented. Two-way communication can also involve encouraging participants to ask questions. An individual’s question can give everyone more clarity.
Give opportunities to hear from trainees throughout your workshop by presenting scenarios related to your training content and asking to hear their thoughts. This can also help you gauge their understanding of your material. Our video-companion kits allow opportunities to show examples and encourage topic-related discussion.
As important as it is to deliver clear and concise content, having to ability to listen to your participants is equally important. Effective listening skills involve noticing the words, tone, inflection, and body language when being communicated to. It also means having the ability to summarize what you are being told to confirm your understanding.
Author Joseph DeVito divides the listening process into five stages: receiving, understanding, remembering, evaluating, and responding.
- Receiving is initially hearing a message, which involves focusing in on the speaker and blocking out other distractions.
- Understanding is making an effort to understand what the message means. It is important to be mindful of our own backgrounds and perspectives that can sometimes impact the way we understand.
- Remembering allows you to recollect information in the future. You can improve your memory by finding ways to meaningfully apply information to yourself.
- Evaluating involves deciding the value and your opinion of the message, evaluations of the same message can vary widely from one listener to another.
- Responding indicates your involvement in the conversation. Responses can be verbal or non-verbal and positive or negative.
Feedback for your training can take place both during and after your workshop. Asking your participants for feedback throughout your workshop ensures everyone is on the same page and getting the most out of your training.
It can also be useful to provide an opportunity to ask for feedback after your workshop, so you can make changes for future participants. Giving out a survey or comment card to your trainees gives them an opportunity to communicate their feedback in a less direct way – which some may be more comfortable with. Keep forms short and simple in length and tone. Use both positive and negative feedback to adjust your content and delivery to improve future workshops.
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Like any skill, communication takes practice. Being mindful of the types of communication skills listed above and putting them into practice can help deliver more effective training.
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Posted by Zachary Myers on