There are a lot of reasons why someone may not like being asked to train others in your organization.
Perhaps they’re busy and don’t have time for “one more thing.” Maybe they have anxiety around speaking in front of others, especially their peers. Perhaps they feel like they’re not an expert, or worse, they suffer from a touch of “Imposter Syndrome“.
Whether or not they like to do presentations at work, it is essential that high performers have an opportunity to share their expertise. In his book The Leadership Engine, Noel Tichy writes, “Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. all… had strong ideas, values, energy, and edge, but without disciples to spread their mission, both during their lifetimes and after their deaths, their legacies would have been short-lived.”
Organizations need disciples to buy in to their mission and carry out the myriad tasks that keep the organization running. To do this, organizations need people who will embrace training others. How can we set people up for success every time they present, and perhaps help people across the organization embrace the opportunity when they’re called upon to train others?
There are three components that can help set non-training professionals up for success when it comes to the opportunity to train others around the organization.
Training Design Support
If someone isn’t a professional trainer or a naturally gifted educator, they’re going to need some support. Here is a more detailed picture of what this could look like, but in short, they need someone with a training or instructional design background to help them through the process.
Without support, they’ll spend way too much time throwing information on slides, tweaking those slides to make them marginally better, or stressing over what kind of silly joke they should begin with.
Remember, most people who are asked to train others have a whole lot of other things they’re paid to do. Expecting them to be skilled in adult learning, instructional design, and public speaking is unrealistic. Support is essential.
Outside the Box Thinking
Lecture, which in my experience is the default way that working professionals choose to transfer their wisdom to others, has limits on its effectiveness. It’s also the predominant information delivery method because it’s what most people have been exposed to themselves. It’s all they know.
Equipping trainers with a series of ideas on how to present their content (beyond mere lecture) can be a helpful first step in moving toward more effective and engaging training sessions.
Here is a list of 20 training activities.
I’m willing to bet you $5 that you could pull several of these activities together and create an effective training session for any topic. ANY TOPIC. Use the comment section to come up with a topic at your organization that these activities couldn’t be used for and I’ll Venmo you $5 immediately.
Why do people immediately open PowerPoint and begin to get their ideas down on slides? My hypothesis is because it’s the only way they know to present. They haven’t been exposed to other ways of organizing their ideas and thoughts.
What if you liberated everyone at your organization from the tyranny of PowerPoint?
Here is a lesson plan template that I use every day, for every presentation. Using this template, I’ve been able to organize some sessions without needing to use a single PowerPoint slide.
Sometimes PowerPoint is an essential tool in a presentation. Even then, I’ve used the structure of this lesson plan template to reduce the slide count in one training program I was asked to overhaul from 319 slides to 19 slides. Most of those 19 remaining slides had instructions for activities, not bullet point after bullet point of content.
With some structure, some specific ideas on how they can actually present content that doesn’t include lecture, and most importantly, with presentation design support, your organization may increase its ranks of effective trainers. A core group of high performers that are not just people who are able to train, but also able to inspire others to be disciples of the organization’s culture and to be budding experts in technical skills they’ll need to help the organization get its work done.
Where have you faced barriers when getting high performers to deliver training and give presentations at work? Would you consider using Soapbox? If so, we’d love to talk to you about how it could help.