Great trainers are great communicators, but communication is unfortunately one of the easiest things to get wrong.
Communication can slip, be rushed or ignored entirely as we focus on things that we believe to be more important.
When it comes to training, there are some common character traits that will always keep you from being a great communicator - until you identify them.
You’re a good person, clearly - you want everyone around you to be happy and not experience any form of negativity.
There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, we’re all people pleasers in one way or another, because making someone happy makes us feel happy, but in a training scenario, trying to please everyone in the room can have the reverse effect.
If you answer “yes” rather than “no” to a question from a trainee simply because you feel it will enamour them, you may be delivering incorrect advice. And, while that might please them for the duration of the course, when they come to put it into practice, the results could be rather bad (particularly if they’re studying manual handling!).
People pleasing as a trainer can result in solid facts and governed advice being delivered incorrectly in order to be liked. It’s more common than you might think, but if you feel this character trait slipping in, it’s time to step back and ask yourself what you stand for and what’s negotiable in your training sessions.
Honestly, integrity and authenticity should always trump people pleasing.
It’s not particularly nice being wrong, is it? This is certainly the case in a training scenario when you’re the person stood at the front delivering the session.
Everything’s going fine, until you reach a section you’ve long struggled with. In your mind, your way has always been right, yet the training plan has always suggested the opposite.
What’s more, when you query the people in the room, they appear to agree with the plan. But you don’t accept it - you can’t, and you continue with your own belief.
Because you want to be right.
Cognitive dissonance is something we all exhibit throughout our lives. Detecting it and cutting it off at source isn’t easy, but it’s a key skill if you want to be a brilliant trainer who doesn’t let the desire to be right get in the way of communicating a session effectively.
Clearly, you don’t want to wander into a training course looking like you’ve just fallen off a skateboard; looking good in front of your trainees is important in order to feel confident in yourself and demonstrate that you’re taking the session seriously.
However, spend too long on your appearance, and it might get in the way of your ability to listen and speak effectively.
As noted - there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good and be as professional as possible in your appearance, but make sure you don’t let it get in the way of delivering a session that people will remember.
If you exhibit one or more of the above character traits, it’s important to remember that you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re only human, after all.
Just remember - great trainers can identify these elements and fix them in order to become even better communicators.
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