The Internal Trainer Manifesto


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This manifesto is meant for a small minority of professionals who are willing to embrace the funkiness and the usefulness into their sessions.

How do you know if this is for you?
If you…
…Are madly in love with your job and would, if necessary, do it for free;

…Care more about your client’s well being than about receiving positive feedback;

…Have fun delivering memorable training sessions;

…See yourself as a guide, rather than a teacher;

…Are willing to walk the extra mile for your clients,
Then this manifesto is for you.

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The Internal Trainer Manifesto

  1. 1. guide by Robert BlagaInternal Trainer ManifestoTr aining I deas for Junior Tr ainer s January 2013 | First Edition
  2. 2. 2 This guide is free and does not contain affiliate links.It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, so you can freely share it with your friends and colleagues. © Robert Blaga 2013
  3. 3. 3 TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction or What ThisGuide Is NotThe Philosophy  Caring about your clients  Having funBefore and After the  Conducting a Needs AnalysisSession  Measuring the Impact  The Follow-Up  Involve Their ManagersLogistics  The 2-Hour Training Session  The Magic Number 12Delivery  Interactivity or Death  The Debriefing  Going Visual  I Believe in Informal FeedbackThis Is Just the Beginning
  4. 4. 4Introduction(What this guide is not) The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  5. 5. 5Introduction or What this Guide is NOTThis is NOT your usual how-to guide. The words are Also, I would like to stress the fact that this is NOT thewritten so that everybody can understand and use the ‘official’ way of doing training; it’s the way it works bestinformation. But this is not intended for all the trainers for me and my funky clients. That’s why, if you decide toof the world. In fact, I can say without regret that this go on, I can tell you what I always tell my participants:manifesto is meant for a small minority of professionalswho are willing to embrace the funkiness and theusefulness into their sessions.How do you know if this is for you?If you……Are madly in love with your job and would, ifnecessary, do it for free;…Care more about your client’s well being than aboutreceiving positive feedback;…Have fun delivering memorable training sessions;…See yourself as a guide, rather than a teacher;…Are willing to walk the extra mile for your clients, Then this manifesto is for you. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  6. 6. 6Introduction or What this Guide is NOT As for me… Im Robert Blaga and I have a passion for education and learning. I’m a full time trainer of leadership, communication and training process and I work for an European based multinational company. Back in 2005, when I first started as a junior trainer, useful resources were scarce, training programs were expensive and a mentor was hard to find. ​ This manifesto/guide is dedicated to those who have trouble finding their "north" in training, just like I had back then. ​Although you will find these resources most useful if you are still a beginner, you could still spend a few meaningful minutes reading if you are already a senior trainer. Enjoy! !Robert The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  7. 7. 7The Philosophy The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  8. 8. 8The PhilosophyThere is a clear vision behind every great achievement.I’ve learned this the hard way, back in high school,when my choice was to study… economics, accountancyand marketing intensively for 4 years. Why? No obviousreason other than the fact that my parents told me it’s agood choice for the future. And I hated it for the whole1460 days I was a high school student (yes, I countedthe days). He should genuinely care about his clients!That lesson being learned, the choice for college was100% mine: psychology. The vision behind it was honestand clear: I wanted to understand people and helpthem become more.After a semester spent studying psychotherapy, I found He should have funmy true calling: learning and education for adults. with his clients!This has been my passion for 10 years now and I’vebeen fortunate enough to be paid for something Iwould gladly do for free (and I sometimes do just that,of course).And over the years I’ve come to have two strong beliefsabout how the trainer (me and you) should think andbehave: The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  9. 9. 9Caring About Your ClientsWhen I write ‘clients’ I mean all the people that are And it’s not just about building competenciestouched by your work. I include here: (knowledge and skill).  My training participants It’s also about attitude.  Their managers  Their colleagues Being aware of the fact that my mission is more than to  Their clients deliver a session and go also allows me to honestlyThinking about all of them makes my approach a lot acknowledge the shortcomings of [my] training inmore people oriented. general.It’s not just about how people in the training room actdifferently after the session.It’s about how people will make their lives better andthe lives of their coworkers and even families andfriends better. It’s also about becoming better people,not just better professionals. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  10. 10. 10Caring About Your ClientsSometimes I have to decline a contract because I know And of course, there are some occasions I have tothat training is not the best solution for their challenge. decline because I understand the client is not lookingMaybe coaching or just a little change in the company for a partner, but for someone to do the job and go.policy could solve the problem better. And from my experience this almost never works well for the client or the trainer.Some other times I have to decline because I know I amnot the best option. Could be my style or my expertise,but I choose not to sign a contract just for the financialadvantages it brings. Being honest is the first sign that a trainer cares for his clients The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  11. 11. 11Caring About Your ClientsOf course, caring is not just about refusing clients when Two years ago one of my clients asked me if I could helpyou realize you will not help them achieve more. It’s him develop the necessary skills for him to facilitate thealso about going the extra mile for them, even if this workshops I usually facilitated.means less money and time for you. He explained that his budget for next year was zero and that they will not be able to pay me to come and deliver. So all the progress they made would vanish because of this. I said yes without flinching. I lost a contract, yes. But I cared too much about the client to let him suffer just because the money was gone. And I also gained a client that was so happy I accepted that he recommended me to three other potential clients. Everybody won! The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  12. 12. 12Caring About Your ClientsI know trainers and training companies that build Did they lose money? In the short run, yes. But in therelationships based on the principle of caring. long run, the company became more stable in a market deeply affected by the crisis. They showed their clientsOne of my favorite training companies, Achieve Global, they are not just another training supplier, but the truestarted offering their clients extra services at no extra partners every company deserves.cost when the financial crisis struck in 2008. Theyunderstood it is good business to help people when There are many stories like this in many fields, not justthey most need it, even without the immediate in training. Some companies base their entire existencefinancial reward. on caring for their costumers. Like the famous examples of Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom or Ritz-Carlton Hotels (Google them and you will find out why). The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  13. 13. 13Caring About Your ClientsAnother way of caring is helping your participants after I take time to share with my clients new pieces ofthe session. information I come across well after the contract has ended.One counterexample is a famous training company(I won’t name it for obvious reasons) that delivers one If I know that one of the issues that troubled them wasof the best Presentation Skills courses on the market. creating a culture of feedback, when I get my hands on some new research or book on that subject I gladlyWhile the feedback is fantastic, their commitment to send them a summary. They always appreciate it andtheir customers is very low. the relationship becomes stronger because they understand that I care.When I asked them for some sort of a follow-up aftertheir session with my company and for a way tomeasure the impact, their answer was blunt: we don’tdo that, we just deliver. For the past 10 years, this has been the mostThat was one very short business relationship. important principle in my life as learning professional and I don’t see myself changing it for the next 30 years to come. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  14. 14. 14Having FunThis is the second principle. My entire existence One example is splitting a group into smaller teams.revolves around the principle of having fun, in life and in Instead of the boring ‘this side of the group is team Awork (and sometimes in-between). And because of and this side is team B’, I engage the participants into aprinciple NO.1, I make it my mission to also help others short game that will naturally show them witch teamhave fun. they will be in.In training, I carefully design the process so that people On a Communication Skills session I ask them to form awill be engaged in fun learning activities. I strive to line based on their upcoming birthdays (first person intransform even the most trivial tasks into fun (or funny) the line would be the person who will celebrate theirexperiences. birthday first etc.). And they have to do it without talking. After they finish, I simply split them into two equal teams (first half of the line formed a team and the other half formed another). It is fun for them not only to discover ways of communicating without talking, but also finding something personal about their colleagues. Look… Short activities like this one can make training more active and the participants more willing to participate in even this guy more “serious” tasks. thought it’s OK! The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  15. 15. 15Having FunAnother example is the review of concepts in a two-day Also, after the session has ended, there are ways tosession. In the morning of day two, instead of the continue the fun part by sending a thank you note “forclassic “let’s see… what did we learn yesterday” you can being nice” with an easy puzzle containing one keyask them to draw a picture that represents the main point of the session. You make it fun to review content.lessons they learned. Sometimes I also have a contestbetween two teams, something like Jeopardy or Who Or if I need to send participants some materials, I makeWants to Be a Millionaire. Everybody loves a friendly sure to include one or two pictures from the session.competition.And you can use this approach for almost every aspectof training: introductions, icebreakers, energizers,discovering new concepts, ending sessions and so on. Learning should be fun.You can use this principle even before the training If it’s not, you are doing itstarts. I sometimes send a funky invitation to the wrong!session that sets the mood for the entire event.Like writing ‘all people bringing laptops will be forced todrink tea instead of coffee’ or ‘the session will end atexactly 17:23, but my watch is known to be somehowinaccurate’ The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  16. 16. 16Before and After the Session The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  17. 17. 17Before and After the SessionIt is my strong belief that training success has more to For appropriate learning to take place you need more than thedo with what happens before and after the session than 16 hours of training. You need:what happens during the session.  To know exactly what the initial challenge, problem orIf you don’t believe this, think about one great learning situation isexperience you had. Was it in a classroom? Probably  To measure the impact your session has, so you can takenot. corrective measures  To conduct a well designed follow-up, so concepts areThere are rumors out there that say training courses reviewedonly count for about 10% of the learning that occurs in  To involve their managers in the learning process.the professional environment (I think they areextremely optimistic, these rumors). The other 90%happens through experience and mentoring. In the following pages I will briefly explain what each of these points are all about. Training success has more to do with what happens before and after than during the session. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  18. 18. 18Conducting a Needs AnalysisImagine you are a chief engineer who wants to build a The distance betweenbridge. How do you make sure your bridge is useful?How tall, long and strong should it be? How much the current andmaterial do you need and what type of materials?Where is the starting point and where is the end point? the desired level of competenciesAll these questions need an answer before you evenconsider laying the first brick or putting the first pillar in is called theplace. performance gapJust like building a bridge, before creating and deliveringa training session you need to answer some questionsthat will help you make it useful for your participants.Because we don’t want people to cross our bridge andafterwards say “This Bridge is fantastic, but it didn’t help me get where I wanted”.So, to build the training bridge we must first establishwhere to put it: what is the current state of affairs (thecurrent level of competencies) and the desired outcome(the future level of competencies). The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  19. 19. 19Conducting a Needs AnalysisSometimes, training sessions have different desired Whatever method you choose, keep in mind the factoutcomes than building competencies. Often we only that, for the session to be really helpful,want the participants to know something new aftertraining, which is only half a competency.When conducting a needs analysis, you must usuallychoose from a list of methods. For the process to bemore valid, you need to select at least two of thefollowing methods: people need to cross your bridge  Direct observation  Interviews with the future participants and get to the side  Interview with their managers they need to get,  Interview with their colleagues, clients or suppliers not on the side  Interview with the HR representative you want them to get.  Questionnaires for the future participants  Questionnaires for their managers  Questionnaires for their colleagues, clients or suppliers  Questionnaires for the HR representative  Performance reviews. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  20. 20. 20Measuring the ImpactCongratulations! Your bridge building project is over Let’s have a quick review of the model, so you canand people have already crossed the bridge. You should better understand what we are talking satisfied with your work and should give yourself anice tap on the shoulder. Or should you?! It is no understatement to say that almost everything we know about evaluating training programs comesMost trainers stop their efforts after delivering the from only one person. And that person is Donaldsession (but you are not most trainers). Not continuing Kirkpatrick, who published a four-level model foryour training efforts after delivery misses the main training course evaluation back in 1975. The model ispoint of the training process: really making an impact. very easy to understand and apply, while also being very effective. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  21. 21. 21Measuring the ImpactThe Four Levels of Learning Evaluation1. Reaction. 3. Behavior.This level evaluates how the participants perceived the This level evaluates the transfer of knowledge, skills andsession. attitudes to the participants’ job.Question to ask: how happy were the participants with Question to ask: How much of what was acquiredmy session? during the session do the participants apply in theirWhen to evaluate: at the end of the session. day-to-day job?How to evaluate: feedback form. When to evaluate: after 3-6 months. How to evaluate: observation2. Learning.This level evaluates the skills (knowledge and behavior) 4. Results.and attitudes that the participants acquired during your This level evaluates the impact of the training in thesession. participants’ job, department or company.Question to ask: how much knowledge did the Question to ask: what is the overall impact of thisparticipants acquire? What behavioral changes have training in the organization?occurred? When to evaluate: 6-12 months after the trainingWhen to evaluate: during or right after the session. session.How to evaluate: test or demonstration. How to evaluate: very hard. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  22. 22. 22 Measuring the Impact The Four Levels of Learning Evaluation Most training sessions end with a feedback form (level Of course nothing changed. People don’t change 1). Some end with a test (level 2). Very few conduct an overnight! They need more practice than you can analysis after 3-6 months to observe how participants squeeze in 16 hours of training. To create a new habit apply the new skills in their day-to-day jobs (level 3). we need a high degree of repetition (and some other And only big corporations tend to make a ROI analysis stuff, as explained by Charles Duhigg in his brilliant book after 6-12 month (level 4). The Power of Habit) But limiting yourself to the first level can kill your career And the situation is also no better regarding knowledge. very fast. Imagine you deliver a powerful training In the 19th century there was this German psychologist session. The participants love you and give you the best named Herman Ebbinghaus. In 1885 he published a feedback ever. The HR Manager that hired you is groundbreaking book, On Memory, where he first pleased. Everybody drinks the champagne and you described something that we still consider to be valid leave satisfied and with a big check in your pocket. Six almost 130 years later: the forgetting curve. This months later, you find out that the same company is concept explains that after 30 days without repetition, hiring another trainer for a similar project. What most students will only remember about 20% of the happened, you ask the HR Manager. And he answers: studied material. The other 80% is forgotten. ‘nothing changed after your session, sorry.’So what can you do to preserve learning and increase the impact? The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  23. 23. 23The Follow-UpIf there is something that kills the results everybody While the evaluation only gives you information aboutexpects after a training session, it’s the lack of a well- the impact of your session, the follow-up is a tool useddesigned follow-up. to further consolidate the skills that the participants acquired.Some people make the mistake to consider the trainingevaluation and the follow-up one and the same thing. I am repeating myself on purpose here: most training courses end the moment the participants exit theSo what is the difference? training room. By accepting this situation (and sometimes encouraging it) the trainer misses the chance to really have an impact on people’s lives. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  24. 24. 24The Follow-UpWhen I design a follow-up I keep in mind someguidelines:  Make it shorter than the actual trainingExample: for a 16-hour training course, the follow-upsession could last 2-4 hours. To assure 90% retention and  Focus on how they applied their new skills in their jobs, and not on teaching new concepts integration of new skills  Focus on the challenges they encountered after acquired during training, the training and what solutions they found (or you can participants should refresh the all find together during this session)  Engage people to recall the concepts they information acquired and to refresh the course information 6 times in the first 90 Days.  It is continuous (for example: twice a month for 1 hour for 6 months)  Use different methods (we’re going to be talking about this in a minute or two)  Respects the Rule of the Follow-up: The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  25. 25. 25The Follow-UpIf you choose to respect the Rule of the Follow-Up, thatmeans you will have to find 6 ways of refreshinginformation and skills in the first 3 months or 90 daysafter the training has finished.It’s unrealistic to assume you will be able to meet twicea month with the group to conduct face-to-facemeetings, so let’s look at the alternative.You can use email, phone calls, video conference,sending a gift or a poster, writing a letter and the list isactually unlimited.I believe in the power of follow-up like in no otherlearning instrument. But even this will not work unlesseverybody is on board. You, the participants and their Without the managers on board,managers. appropriate learning may occur, but change will not. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  26. 26. 26Involve Their ManagersImagine you attend a wonderful session on feedback The participants need support to change after training,and you are determined to apply what you’ve learned. no doubt. This support can best come from the peopleBut when you return at the office, the atmosphere is who are actually in charge of supporting and directing.close to hell: you have 200 emails that need an urgent The managers have this on their job description.answer, two reports are due by the end of the day andyour manager needs you to take care of somethingreally fast.By the end of the day you are exhausted and youhaven’t applied anything you learned in training. Thenext 3 days are pretty much the same. After a while,you forget about the session and you enter the dreadedroutine. Nothing changes. The money and time you andyour company spent with organizing and attending thesession are wasted. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  27. 27. 27Involve Their ManagersI take time to talk to managers and explain the concepts The second thing I usually suggest is to ask thewe are covering during training. They also receive some attendees to prepare a short 10-minute presentationinstruments to measure the way people apply what about the main concepts they learned, how they plan tothey’ve learned and advice on how to sustain further apply it and what help they need from their manager.learning. This is such an effective strategy because it creates a partnership between the manager and the employee.The first thing I suggest, though, is something theyshould do before the session starts: explain to their Everything else involves frequent one-to-one meetingspeople why they must attend. What is it the manager where the two discuss the progress made, thethinks they should accomplish? What are their challenges and how the manager can further help theexpectations? This sets the tone for a very effective employee achieve The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  28. 28. 28Involve Their ManagersI honestly think that the manager has the potential tohave more impact on learning than the trainer. This iswhy I cannot deliver a powerful session without helpfrom the upper hierarchy.This diagram shows the relationship between the three Manageractors involved. Trainer Participant The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  29. 29. 29Logistics The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  30. 30. 30LogisticsThere are many things that must be covered before you The length has much to do with our neurological wiring, sincesay “Hello and welcome to this session”. There’s the we now know for sure how much time the brain can stayvenue, the food, the tools etc. There are theories about focused with understanding and retention. The news is nothow the room should be arranged, where to put the great. According to John Medina, a brain scientist turned writer,video projector and what type of chair the trainer we are actually wired to focus for no more than 10 minutes.should have. That’s why when teaching, professor Medina turns an hour into six mini modules.But for me, the true impact of logistics comes only fromtwo sources: Group size has also been discussed extensively over the years. Like the famous Dunbar number, advanced by Robin Dunbar in1. The length and spread of the training session. 1992, witch stresses that a person cannot maintain stable social relationships with more than (roughly) 150 people. Also, three2. The number of people attending. researchers (Marcia W. Blenko, Michael C. Mankins, and Paul Rogers) are credited in an article in Harvard Business Review Stats for discovering the optimal group size for decision-making: seven. How many people is optimum to have in a training room? I have my own view on the matter. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  31. 31. 31The 2-Hour Training SessionOn the market, most training programs last for two It’s not that I don’t believe in two-day sessions. I deliverdays. Trainers and training companies promise long them just as often as the next guy. I also deliverlasting change in people’s behavior and attitude for only sessions that last for one day or four hours. This is just16 hours of training (just to be precise, those two days because not all of my clients are willing to invest inonly have about 12 hours of classroom training, the rest funky ideas, so I have to help them the best I can andare just coffee and lunch breaks). If you felt some meet their constraints. But for sure there is a way Isarcasm, you felt it right. think training is most memorable, useful and fun. This method has been invented long before I started as a trainer and is widely spread as it is in one field: language courses for adults. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  32. 32. 32The 2-Hour Training SessionImagine you want to learn a foreign language… let’s say This strategy allows for old material to be easilyGerman. Would you consider learning for two remembered and new material to be easily integrated.consecutive days, eight hours each day? Would you find Spreading the sessions over a long period of time allowsthis useful, memorable and fun? I can tell you from my the student to repeat (and repetition is the mother ofown experience learning French with a mad teacher, learning, some say). But more than this, spreading thethat the experience was tiring, boring and I forgot sessions puts the student in the same mind-frame for aeverything in less than two weeks after finishing. longer period of time, eventually transforming the new knowledge into new habit.What the sane language trainers do is to split thenumber of hours into very small digestible bites.Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours is the averagesession length. The first half an hour is designed forreviewing the homework and previous notions thatwere taught. Then some new concept is presented andthe student spends the next hour or so practicing. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  33. 33. 33The 2-Hour Training SessionJust like in language courses, my ideal training session is I found one week to be enough time between sessionstwo hours long. If the client is willing to invest the time for the participants to practice the new concepts.and money, then I will choose to spread the 16 hours oftraining (without the breaks) into 8 sessions of 2 hours A classic training program will end after 8 weeks.each. How many companies are willing to engage in this typeMy ideal structure of a session has four parts: of program? Not many, I admit.1) Review the collective homework (30 minutes)Here I ask people to share their experience with theconcept they discovered last time we met. How didthey practice? What were the challenges? What werethe results? We don’t go into so many details, just aquick review and some clarification of the main points.If there are big challenges, we may decide to spend thewhole session clarifying (although that never happened But those who doyet). enjoy the far better results.2) The participants discover a new concept (10 minutes)3) Understanding and practicing the new concept (50minutes)4) New homework (30 minutes) The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  34. 34. 34The Magic Number 12A few months ago, someone posted a question on I told you all of this because I want you to take my “magic number”LinkedIn: what is the optimum number of trainees as it is: my preference for the type of sessions I deliver, not somein a training course? The answers were a bit law you should live by.confusing at first glance. Eight, Twelve, Sixteen,Twenty… Everybody had some magic number ontheir mind. At some point, someone just said: it And of course,depends. It depends on the course structure anddesign, the objectives, the type of course… This last as the title suggests,person had a very strong point. my magic number is 12.I attended a training session with 24 people once. Atfirst I thought the trainer was crazy to allow so manytrainees. It turned out to be one of the best sessionsI’ve ever attended. I’ve learned a lot of useful stuffand I solemnly swear the objectives have been met.On the opposite side, I once delivered a six-daytraining session for four people. They said it wasbeautifully unconventional while been extremelyuseful. Also, one of the trainers I work with told meabout a client that contracted him for a SituationalLeadership II ® course for… one person. He madesome adjustments and delivered. And it workedwell. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  35. 35. 35The Magic Number 12 When I have that many people in the room, I can play a lot with the design. I can form three equal teams, if team work is needed. I can form four equal teams, if I need two people doing something and the third observing. Also, if individual work is what’s happening, I can allow one minute for each person to report back their findings and spend only about 10-15 minutes with this. I found it is harder to debrief and only a handful of people actually speak in groups larger than 12. With 12 I can conduct a half an hour debriefing where everybody has enough room to speak their mind. I don’t mind having less or more… But the best feedback and results I’ve got when 12 people were in the room. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  36. 36. 36Delivery The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  37. 37. 37DeliveryI usually start Train the Trainers sessions by asking a So it mustn’t come as a surprise that most authors treat thisvery simple question (you can also answer, if you’d like): topic extensively. What could be a surprise is the fact that IWhat is the first picture that comes into your mind don’t. If everything before and after is rock solid, I think learningwhen I say the word ‘trainer’? will happen and people will have a good time.If you are like most of my trainees, you will probably So when I write about delivery, I only think about a few thingssay: a man with a flipchart, a man in front of an that I believe will make the difference. Four, to be more precise:audience or some variation of this. It’s obvious thatpeople disregard the work a trainer does before and  What is the interactivity level I strive to get and how do Iafter the session. The delivery is the star of the show. get it  How I debrief activities  How I use visuals to create memorable learning experiences  How I ask for feedback and how do I use it Of course there are many more topics worth mentioning, like how to use a flipchart, how to deal with difficult participants or how to deliver a powerful presentation. While each of them is important, I feel those four options from above have the strongest impact on learning. That doesn’t mean I ignore them. You will find articles about these topics on my blog. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  38. 38. 38Interactivity or DeathThis may sound harsh, but it is also true. If a session Beginners, I’ve noticed, think interactivity can belacks interactivity, participants will be bored to death to achieved by playing games. In my work with juniorthe point where they would actually prefer drinking trainers I’ve heard on numerous occasions “Robert, canpoison instead of listening to the trainer’s babble for 8 you give me a game I could play with my participants?”hours. I’ve been there myself.Ok, maybe not poison, but I trust you got the point. My answer is always the same: what do you want to accomplish and why necessarily a game?But what does interactivity mean? Interactivity can be achieved in a variety of ways. Group discussions, a project, working in pairs, filling in a survey, drawing something, analyzing a case-study, a role-play etc. What all this has in common is the percentage of intervention from the trainer versus the intervention of the trainees. As a general rule, the trainers input should be no more than 30%, while the rest is up to the group The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  39. 39. 39Interactivity or DeathBob Pike, an actual guru for trainers everywhere, offers There are many ways to make a session interactive, buta formula for interactivity: you should involve the I think the best practices come from a philosophy Iparticipants every 8 minutes, you should change the mentioned on the first page of this manifesto: if youteaching method every 20 minutes and you should give consider yourself more of a guide than a teacher, thenthem a break every 90 minutes. Together with John you most likely want your trainees to do most of theMedina’s 10 minute rule, discussed in the section about work, since it’s their adventure, not yours.the length of a training session, I think these form thebasics of interactivity.I even try to make the 30% I am supposed to fill in withmy input as involving as possible. For example, insteadof just telling people what the situational leadership If you consider yourselfmodel is all about, I ask them questions about how they a guide instead of alearned to drive. After that, it’s easy to link the model to teacher, then you mosttheir experience. likely want you trainees to do most of the work, since it’s their adventure, not yours. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  40. 40. 40 The Debriefing During a training session, people learn in different ways. But when do you debrief and how do you do it? It’s They will learn from you, from each other, from a more of a science than an art, because it all comes lightning that comes down and strikes them in the down to how people learn. middle of the head or in some other crazy way. I’ve had a guy in training that told me the biggest lesson Each person has their own learning style and there are he learned was actually during lunch. several theories regarding this aspect. But for all I know, the debriefing is the most powerful My favorite is Peter Honey and Alan Mumfords model, learning tool a trainer has (and probably the hardest to witch is simple to understand and apply in a training apply). When you debrief, all the lessons are surfacing, context. What the model states is that there are four all conclusions are drawn and the usefulness of stages of experiential learning, each stage matching a concepts is acknowledged. preferred learning style.“the debriefing is the most powerful learning tool a trainer has” The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  41. 41. 41The Debriefing This is what the model looks like: Activist Reflector [having [reviewing an experience] the experience]Because in a training room you will mostlikely have all four types, it’s important todesign things so that you ‘touch’ everypreferred style.A game, role-play, case study or any activitywill only address the first stage and the first Pragmatist Theoristlearning style. [Planning [concluding from the next steps] the experience]The debriefing addresses the other three(notice the letter ‘D’ for ‘debriefing’ on thecorners of the three boxes). The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  42. 42. 42The Debriefing: How To!FIRST, you offer the trainees an experience. It could be THIRD, challenge participants to learn something fromanything that puts them in a learning situation. this experience. Ask questions like: what can we learn from this? How would you do it differently? What areSECOND, turn back and talk about what happened. You your conclusions? What are the key learning points?can ask questions like: How was it? What did younotice? How did you feel during the exercise? How did FORTH, apply what’s been learned to their day-to-dayyou decide on the appropriate course of action? What life. Ask questions like: How does this activity resemblemade the task easy? What made it hard? real life? What are the things you can apply immediately in your work? What are the thinks you need to adapt to be able to apply in your work? What will you do differently when you go back to the office? 2. Talk about How will you apply what you learned? 1. Experience what happened 4. How will 3. What can you apply we learn from what you this? learned? The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  43. 43. 43 The Debriefing: The Missing Link in Team Building The best moments I’ve had in training were during the The best feedback I’ve received after a team building debriefing stage. I’ve seen people have that ‘AHA’ was from a guy who told me it was the first time when moment that every trainer craves to see. I’ve heard they actually learned how to work better as a team, not people who initially said the exercise was stupid only have meaningless fun. His final statement was changing their mind in a split second when asked ‘how something I will never forget: “We’ve been doing does this resemble the way you do things at the office?’ teamdrinking before, not teambuilding.” For me, debriefing is also the missing link in most team building programs. People have fun playing silly games, paintball or extreme outdoor activities… and then they go back to their jobs and nothing ever changes. In my experience, the debriefing makes the difference between good team building programs and bad ones.“We’ve been having team-drinking before, not team-building.” The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  44. 44. 44Going VisualYou probably know the famous saying apicture is worth a thousand words. And ofcourse you think it’s sort of true, right? But towhat extent is it true? It’s so true it actuallyreceived a scientific name: PSE - picturesuperiority effect.Compared with other forms ofcommunication, like text or oral presentation,pictures perform way better: we rememberthem better and for a longer period of time.In his wonderful book that I keep quoting,John Medina tells us that after 72 hours people remember about 10% of information presented orally. That figure turns to 65% if we add a picture. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  45. 45. 45Going VisualVision is so important that it wins in the face of all the With PowerPoint, the idea is straightforward: instead ofother senses. text describing a concept, how about projecting an image and asking the group how they understand theThat is why it is my firm belief that we, as educators, image? I’ve found some powerful pictures on websitesshould use MORE pictures in our classes. We can like Fotolia, Dreamstime or iStockphoto. They are cheapexpress anything with pictures, from simple concepts to download and come in different ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to complex notions like ‘leadershipis not a popularity contest”.I use two visual channels to transmit memorable ideas:1.Projected images on a PowerPoint like application. But drawings make my world go round. When I draw to2.Drawings illustrate a concept, people are paying attention. Their interest for the topic increases, because they can see how a concept is taking shape. And they are more likely to remember the picture, because they were there as it was built. Yours truly, drawing a team concept The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  46. 46. 46Going VisualThere is something magical about drawing. It may be But I can’t draw, you may say. Neither can I. My talent isthe fact that our unconscious transforms the experience zero, but I’m a hard worker. I don’t do complicatedin a childhood play. Or the fact that we visualize the things. Just light bulbs to represent ideas, hearts toworld around us more than we hear or smell it. express feelings, little people, sad or smiley faces, someWhatever it is, since I started drawing in my sessions easy animals… nothing too fancy. But if you put it allthe learning took off, feedbacks improved and results together, it makes a lot more sense to people than justwere obviously better. writing words on a flipchart.And after the session, I can take pictures of the If you don’t know where to start, ImageThink has a listdrawings and include them in the presentation I send at of interesting resources. Also, there are some books youthe end. I’ve had teams who loved the drawings so could buy from Amazon; here are the search results formuch they decided to hang them on their office walls, ‘visual facilitation’.so they can better remember the lessons they learned.One time I’ve been surprised to hear a team memberreferring to the drawing on the wall when people weremaking a mistake they said they wouldn’t make aftertraining. There is something magical about drawing The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  47. 47. 47I Believe in Informal FeedbackWe are almost at the end of our journey together and Ihope it was as useful for you as it was fun for me towrite it. It is only appropriate to end with a short pieceon feedback.While I think any kind of feedback is better than nofeedback, I also believe informal feedback is better thanformal one. But before I explain myself, on the nextpage you’ll find some rules that guide me when I solicitfeedback. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  48. 48. 48I Believe in Informal Feedback: 9 Rules1. Tell them why it is important to give feedback! 4. Make it easy!Mention the fact that you need to improve yourself and Same as above.the best way to do this is to learn from their feedback. 5. Make it personal!2. Make it anonymous! There’s nothing worse than using a standard feedback form for all your trainings. Add some things that arePeople are more honest when they are absolutely sure specific to that session, like the training objectives.there is no way they can be found guilty ofbadmouthing. 6. Give them space! Don’t look over their shoulder, you will intimidate them3. Make it short! and the answers will not be accurate.Imagine this: it’s the end of the session. You are tired.You are hungry. You want to go home. If the form is not 7. Do not read the feedback while they are still in theshort, you will further frustrate the participants. It room!!!should take a participant no more than 7 minutes to This is just bad mojo!complete. 8. Read, weep and learn! Don’t be too sad (or too happy) about the feedback. Overall, it’s subjective thinking. Just draw your own conclusions and strive to do better next time. 9. Collect and compare! Make a database and collect all your feedback there. It’s useful to compare your progress from time to time. The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  49. 49. 49I Believe in Informal FeedbackI’ve discovered some years ago that the most useful What this little exercise does is more complicated thanfeedback I have ever received was on a post-it note, the actual activity: it forces people to think about yourfrom a woman who told me in a couple of short session through both lenses: negative and positive,sentences what she liked and what she considered in while a formal survey, I’ve noticed, makes them moreneed of change. This gave me an idea that I’ve been likely to give you one or the other.using for quite some time now, with excellent results: This also helps you to admit that no session is perfect “Draw a vertical line through the middle of a (or a complete failure), and helps you get used to flipchart page, creating two columns. Draw a receiving critics also. smiley face on the first column and a sad face on the second. Ask participants to write a Whenever I use this I learn something new about my positive feedback on a post-it (something they session and the impact it has on people. And I improve enjoyed or something they think you should my training style and my sessions with every little keep doing) and a critic on another (something colorful note I read. they think you should improve). Now ask them to stick the notes on the appropriate column.” Talking about feedback, I would really appreciate yours. That’s it. You can send it at Thanks! The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  50. 50. 50This Is Just The Beginning… The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  51. 51. 51This is Just the BeginningWhatever you choose to adopt or to adapt from thismanifesto, I hope it helps you achieve the results youand your clients deserve.But if I were to give you one final piece of advice, thatwould be to really care about the people you work forand to have fun. Without these two it’s not worth it.With these two, I’m sure you will be successful, not onlyin training but also in life.I hope you enjoy[ed] the ride.Thanks for reading! The Internal Trainer Manifesto – Training Ideas for Junior Trainers. ©Robert Blaga, January 2013.
  52. 52. 52Self-Advertising If you liked this, you may also like the articles I write every week onmy blog, .Also, there are more goodies coming in the shape of guides (like thisone), customized training packs for you to deliver and more.I will announce them on my blog and publish them you have questions, suggestions or you just want to say hi, you canemail me at or follow me on twitter@internaltrainer. I promise to answer back!!Robert