How to Conduct an Exceptional Training Session
So… you’ve been asked to conduct a training session and you don’t know where to start. Or, you’re looking for a way to take your current training process to the next level. Whatever your level of experience, the following tips will help you make your next training session exceptional.
1. Know the subject
The first step in giving an exceptional training session is being deeply familiar with the subject matter. In the words of Albert Einstein:
You may think you know a subject through and through, but to be an exceptional trainer you need to be able to pitch you delivery to a variety of levels, often to the same audience!
If you aren’t extremely confident in the subject matter, you will struggle to keep things engaging for your audience. Questions may break your flow, you may find it difficult to fully explain a particularly tricky section – but most crucially, you won’t feel confident. The trick to providing a great training experience is having the confidence to speak about your subject for hours.
Can you give a good training session without being a subject matter expert? Sure you can.
But it will never be exceptional.
2. Plan your structure
It doesn’t matter if you’re giving a 1 hour or a full day training session – you need a plan.
Keeping your audience engaged is a careful balancing act of giving enough new information that they are actively learning and paying attention, without becoming mentally exhausted or burning out.
With the best will in the world, people can generally only concentrate fully for at around 90 minutes at a time, so you want to plan for your training to have at the most 90 minute blocks of content (ideally less), with a break to allow your audience to rest their minds, check their emails, pour another cup of coffee or nip to the loo.
Bonus tip – We’re all familiar with the post-lunch crash. Bear this in mind and try to avoid putting a particularly heavy section right after your lunch break.
The secret to giving exceptional training is not speaking, but listening.
Exceptional training rests on the connection you have with your trainees. Before you start, take time to understand what motivates them, what they want to get out of the session.
As you talk, try to take note of who’s ears just pricked up, and who has just switched off and slouched in their chair. You want to try to keep people engaged, so if a particular section has everyone in the room fidgeting and yawning – move on! This leads very nicely on to the next section
4. Be Prepared to Improvise
Every Google Analytics Training session I have ever run has been different. The actual content I cover, the order of the sections, the time I spend explaining different sections – this varies wildly depending on…
-how many people are in the room
-what particular job each trainee has
-the level of experience of each trainee
-the room you’re in
-the weather, the time of year
-the time of day
Because of the number of factors which are not in your control, you will have to make changes to your session as you are conducting it.
If your structure is too rigid or you are not confident in the subject matter, then you will find this difficult. You should plan for some breathing room in your schedule should a particular section start a segue into another conversation – and you should plan for extra content in case you run through the session too quickly.
To give your audience exceptional training you need to adapt your syllabus to suit their needs.
5. Have fun!
Giving a training session can be a hugely rewarding experience.
If you’re a subject matter expert, if you’ve planned the session well, if you take the time to listen to your audience and if you adapt your session to suit their needs – you’ve got what it takes to conduct an exceptional training session!
You now get to enjoy a day talking about something you know well with a bunch of new people, helping them learn and finding ways to make their jobs more efficient! I must admit, its one of my favourite parts of my job.
At Measurelab, training is our bread and butter. We have 8 years’ experience as Digital Analytics specialists in the Google stack – so you know our Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Data Studio and Google BigQuery training sessions are run by industry leading experts.
We’ve been running training for many years. Our team of experienced trainers know how to work with you and your team to ensure you extract the most value out of a training session.
Book a place at one of our regular public training sessions, or get in contact to see how we can sculpt a custom training session for your business.