Post-Training Review Checklist: Don’t Let Your Trainers Sink

I spent this past weekend at my daughter’s swim meet in Wenatchee, WA (which is the Apple Capital of the World!).

It was one of the first meets I’ve been able to attend. After her first race, I saw her grab her towel and walk toward where I was sitting in the bleachers. I wasn’t sure she knew exactly where I was sitting, so I stood up and made my way toward the pool deck. Then she stopped. It dawned on me she wasn’t walking to meet me.

What she did is what every person who attends a training program or professional development session should be doing.   Continue reading

A (free!!) form to investigate the effectiveness of your presentation design


Last week I had an opportunity to co-facilitate a webinar for the Early Childhood Investigations webinar series. The focus, of course, was on presentation design.

One of the key points I made, late in the webinar, was how to increase the likelihood that your learners will transfer what they learn from your presentation into their own work flow when they return home. A key piece to this transfer is finding a way to engage your learners’ supervisors.

What are we, as presenters, to do when we don’t have access to the learners’ supervisors?   Continue reading

Trainer Observation Checklist: A Tool to Support Presenters

Recently I was asked to give feedback to someone who wasn’t quite ready to represent the organization as a facilitator in front of a live audience.  To prepare for this conversation, I developed the following form to observe this person, take notes and organize my thoughts.

Trainer Observation Checklist - Facilitator Feedback Form

Download a PDF of the Trainer Observation Checklist to use as often as you like.

Feedback, especially when it’s critical of someone’s performance is tough to give.  Use a Trainer Observation Checklist to be prepared with specific observations that can lead to a more constructive conversation.

What would you add or change about this observation form?

Smooth Co-facilitation: A 7 Step Program

Co-facilitators should be sure to bring their game faces, planning and preparing is serious business

Co-facilitators should be sure to bring their game faces, planning and preparing is serious business

Two of my direct reports stood in front of the room and an argument began to break out.   I was horrified. They were supposed to be leading a training session for 12 new employees but the session quickly disintegrated into a verbal confrontation. You could feel the discomfort in the room among the rest of us as we looked on. Finally one of the trainers threw her hands in the air and then stormed out of the room, she seemed to be in tears. The other trainer looked down for a moment as if to gain her composure, then she stood up to give the lesson.  The show needed to go on; these 12 new hires weren’t just going to train themselves. Then she grinned.

“You can all relax, it was actually just a little skit we planned to show you what could happen if you don’t spend some time working with your co-facilitators to get on the same page prior to getting in front of a group.”

It was a very effective demonstration of what can happen if two people who have never presented together aren’t intentional about the way they prepare to give a presentation. Co-facilitation is an art form. Below are the 7 crucial steps in the process of smooth co-facilitation:

  1. Contracting: Co-facilitation is a partnership and the first step is simply getting to know your partner. Are you ok with your partner chiming in during portions you’re leading?  Will your partner need you to take notes on flipchart during a portion she is leading? Will you both take questions during your components, or will you prefer to have the audience hold their questions until the end?
  2. Aligning on objectives: Once you’ve gotten to know one another’s facilitation styles, now you can turn your attention to the presentation itself. What do you both feel that your audience should be able to do with the information you’ll be sharing? It’s essential to be on the same page about the end goal(s) of your presentation, or conflicts may arise when you actually map out the presentation, lesson and/or activities.
  3. Creating the lesson: Once you’ve aligned on goals and objectives, you’ll need to map out the specifics of how you’ll be able to achieve those objectives. What will be your balance between instructional techniques such as lecture, group discussions and other activities?
  4. Establishing roles: Once the lesson is mapped out, it’s time to decide who will lead which parts of the lesson. What do you expect your partner to do when you’re leading a component of the lesson? Will you both be standing in front of the room the entire time? Should the person not leading a component take a seat? Will the non-lead need to help monitor small group activities? Can the non-lead step out of the room to use the bathroom or take a phone call?
  5. Rehearse: The lesson you’ve created on paper may look very different than the lesson that is actually delivered when you begin to say the actual words. Your partner may be super-passionate about a specific topic and may take 25 minutes to explain a concept that you only budgeted 5 minutes for on your lesson plan. It’s much better to bring things like this to the surface during a practice session than to have this happen in front of your intended audience.
  6. Align on edits: Following the rehearsal, perhaps it makes sense to give your partner more time to explain a particular topic. Perhaps you realize that you’d like your partner to write comments from the audience on flipchart during one of your components. This is why a rehearsal is important, and de-briefing the rehearsal is your final opportunity to get on the same page before show time.
  7. Deliver in front of the intended audience: If you’ve made it through steps 1-6, this last step should be easy.

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Sweat the Small Stuff: A Training Materials Checklist

Nobody wants to walk into a training room to find an unprepared presenter.  Of course, I’ve never met a presenter who looked himself in the mirror and said: “I really hope that I look foolish and unprepared today!”

One of the best ways I know how to prepare for a presentation is through a well-designed lesson plan.  But even the most creative, instructionally sound presentations can quickly get de-railed if the presenter forgot to bring an important material or if a piece of equipment just wasn’t set up in time.  The following checklist could prove helpful in day-of-presentation preparation.

05062013 - Materials Checklist

On the day of a training workshop, I know there can be a lot of things happening – meetings, phone calls, emails, other project deadlines.  I’ve found having a checklist like this can help remove my anxiety around being certain I have everything I need as I head into the training room.

Is there anything missing from this checklist?  Drop me a line in the comments section.

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

A Checklist to Determine the Effectiveness of Your Training Design

When we ask someone without a training background – perhaps a subject matter expert or a colleague with a particular set of skills or experience – to present to a group, how can we set them up for success?

Offering tools such as a lesson plan template or a presentation guide is a start.  Offering ideas and examples of stellar visual aids can also make a big difference.  If you want to take presentation preparation to the next level, however, sometimes a presenter needs some help double-checking his or her plans – does their plan include everything they’ll need in order to engage a group?

04122013 - Training Design Checklist

I’ve used this tool (download the checklist here) during train-the-trainer presentations and participants have found it extremely helpful to check over their lesson plans prior to delivering a practice lesson.  I’ve also found it to be a useful tool to structure my feedback for colleagues who have asked me to look over their lessons.

Have something to add to this checklist that would help ensure a better presentation design?  Let me know in the comments section.

Think this tool could help someone you know with their presentation prep?  Feel free to forward this post.

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