Learning from my Mistakes as a Trainer

My First PowerPoint Presentation

I was not yet used to using PowerPoint presentations in my training, in fact it was my first time to create a PowerPoint presentation for a training session and use it during the session. I was volunteering to deliver such a session at some local place in my hometown. At first I was not planning to use a PowerPoint presentation for the session but the team organizing the training requested that I use one. I huddled and assembled a group of slides in which I kept listing points in bullet form in one slide after the other.

Saving the Day

During the training itself, I experimented by using the think and listen technique. It was my first time to use it after reading about it online. I had not even experienced it in any training I had attended before. Although the elements of interactivity I have used combined with my confidence in speaking to an audience helped save the day for that training session, which I was delivering for the first time, yet the dry sequence of bulleted slides I had been using was poor enough to reduce the overall quality of the training. The PowerPoint slides I had prepared contained no images, graphs or photos at all! My slides consisted of nothing but bare text in bullet form.

Poor Evaluation

The average evaluation of the training session as per the training evaluation forms for the trainer performance section was “good”. Compared to other trainers who had been getting “excellent” for their performance at that place my performance was considered pretty modest.

Feedback from Organizers

I remember those organizing the training politely suggesting to me, after the training session was over, that I add some images to the PowerPoint presentation to give it some visual appeal. They noted, however, that participants were “happy,” which seemed to surprise the organizers in light of my bland PowerPoint presentation.

Photo Slides

This experience I had gone through preparing and using my first PowerPoint presentation during a training session was enlightening and resulted in a powerful transformation of my skills later on. As I prepared PowerPoint presentations after that incident I started including some photos to provide visual appeal. This kept developing till my PowerPoint presentations were largely nothing but a sequence of full size photo slides with a few captions and minimal bulleted text which I found to be way more effective than cramming lots of text in bulleted form into the heads of participants.

Learning from Mistakes

Without having gone through the difficult and stressful experience of presenting my first bare PowerPoint presentation I would probably not have learned in such a powerful way the importance of using images and visual appeal in a PowerPoint presentation and would not have had the strong energy propelling me towards creating highly visual PowerPoint presentations later on.

Lessons Learned

Although a trainer should prepare well for the training program he is about to deliver and should practice before actually delivering it to participants yet poor performance and mistakes a trainer makes during the training itself can be a powerful way by which he learns and transforms his skills from a mediocre state to an exceptionally effective one.

So next time you make an embarrassing mistake while delivering a training program do not dwell on it, just use such force to fuel your efforts in developing your skills further in order to avoid such an embarrassing mistake or such poor performance from taking place once again. You will be surprised at the great positive transformation that can result in yourself after going through such an initially stressful situation.

Is there a difficult or embarrassing situation that you have been through which has helped transform the way you see things and has resulted in a positive transformation in your skills? Share your it with us.

Using Storytelling in Training

Story telling is an important skill that any professional trainer should master and be able to use effectively during training. The human mind is designed to accept, enjoy, seek, retain and make use of stories effectively. Stories are the natural way through which rich information is passed to the human mind.

Benefits

Stories may contain emotions which reinforce the learning process, boost retention and improve comprehension. Stories include time sequence which also help create a natural sequence between events. Stories are very rich in connections and relationships among various elements of the story which makes them a very powerful and effective learning tool. Stories are anti-boredom tools that can be used in the training room.

Reflection

One additional interesting thing about stories is that they can be a very rich source for reflection. Trainees can draw lessons from a story on their own and make discoveries. They can even keep discovering new lessons from a story long after they have listened to it.

More Benefits

Another reason that makes stories very powerful is their ability to convince trainees and influence them through touching their emotions and providing a logical sequence of events. Stories also evoke trainee imagination which creates a high degree of trainee engagement, enjoyment and retention.

Storytelling

Types of Stories

Fictional/Fable

One type of story is the fictional story or the fable. Although such story is not real yet it still enjoys the elements of engagement, enjoyment, time sequence, reflection and retention.

Real Life

An even more powerful story is a real story that has actually taken place in real life in the past and that the trainer might have heard or read about. If the trainer has learned about such a story firsthand by listening to it directly from someone who has experienced it this provides for an even stronger type of story. The trainer in such case should mention that he has heard it from a person who has experienced it himself.

Firsthand Experience

The most powerful type of story at all is one that the trainer has experienced by his own self and has learned from. This is the most powerful type of story and the most engaging and convincing.

Past Mistakes

One sub-type of such a story is when a trainer talks about his past mistakes which makes the personals story even more powerful and influential. Personal stories also help create an even stronger bond between the trainer and his trainees.

If there is no personal story covering the concept being explained the trainer can resort to stories he has heard or read about or to fictitious stories. Storytelling is a very powerful tool that every professional trainer should master and be able to use effectively during training.

What else makes stories so enjoyable and important?