If you have prepared well, delivery of the training should be a breeze. A lot of the details depends on whether you are delivering the training in person or if you are delivering it remotely. These two modes are completely different and while they may have overlapping best practices, there are other things that you need to keep in mind based on how the delivery would happen.
Before I jump into the best practices for each mode of delivery, a good practice would be to always conduct a repeat training not far from your original training. This gives a chance to those who missed your first training.
Delivering the training in person
- Smile, express and be confident – This might sound stupid, but it is the key to making your audience listen to you. No body likes listening to a grumpy and serious speaker. Keep your audience in a happy and receptive mood by smiling, cracking a few jokes, recalling a few anecdotes, being expressive etc.
- Ask for phones/laptops to be shut – It is ok to ask people to shut their laptops and phones. It will be very distracting and discouraging if you see people on their laptops or checking their phone while delivering the training. So be assertive when you say that you will not encourage laptops and phones. But interested people will want to take notes. So ensure you have the handouts that I mentioned in my previous blog so that they can take down information from the training.
- Take cue – Look at your audience and take cue on what the mood is like. If you feel that the attention is dropping, it is a good time to take a quick 5 minute recess. This might go against the well organized time table that you have scheduled, but there is no point in continuing if no one is listening. You could also break the session for a short Q&A, or just thoughts etc. At the same time, if there is too much interaction going on and you feel that people might be digressing, remember to keep bringing people back to the topic.
- Respect your audience – You might get questions that you cannot answer. If you punt it for later, you might sound underprepared or not knowledgeable. So people tend to make up answers. Be smart about it. It is great to be able to think on your feet and wing it, but do not go overboard. Treat your audience with respect if you expect to gain respect from them. They are there because they want to learn or want to increase their awareness. Feel free to tell people that you will get back to them with the answers, but if you are having to do that for more than a couple of questions, then you might actually be under prepared.
- Don’t let it be a monologue – Very few people have the attention span to sit through an entire hour, let alone a day, just hearing one person speak. If you are in the office with the rest, make it interactive. Ask questions, pick on some people you know. For example, you could start with why this product was being built and ask a person in the audience to recount the story of what happened in a customer meeting due to which you decided to build the product (this is assuming that you have already done the homework and you know who to pick and what story to ask for).
Delivering the training remotely
- Speak slowly – It is very hard to concentrate on a presentation when you are just a listener and cannot see the face. So speak slowly. Repeat stuff that you are saying in different ways to get the message through.
- Stop often for questions – In an hours presentation, you should stop every 20 minutes at least to take 5 minutes of questions. Since you cannot see your audience, the questions coming in will give you an idea of how you training is proceeding. If you do not get any questions, then you could read out a few questions that you have prepared in advance and give the answer to them. You could just say “well if you do not have any questions, then you can think about these questions” and then say a question, give them a few seconds to think about it and then give the answer. This helps give a break to a monotonous presentation.
- Do not have anyone else in the room – You might have some people at the same location you are in and others joining remotely. In this case, separate the two audiences. People in the room tend to be more engaged and will begin to have questions and cross talk during the presentation. This makes the others feel like they are ignored or they will not be able to hear or participate well. So keep the entire training remote.
- Repeat questions – If someone asks a question, repeat the question before you respond. Other people on the call might not have heard the question well, or the accent might not be easy for everyone to understand etc. So ensure that you repeat each question and then give the answer.
- Provide reference material – You should accept that a remote training will never be as impactful as a training done in person. So there will be concepts that people have not grasped. Create more reference material than you would for an in-person training and end the training with a link to all these materials that can refer to.
Irrespective of the mode of delivery, remember to have fun during your trainings. If you have fun, then your audience will also enjoy your training much better. Keep it light, keep it cheerful and keep it interesting.