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Training the Trainer: 5 Basics

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Training the Trainer: 5 Basics

At Say Leadership Coaching (SLC) we concentrate our efforts on just that which our name implies; coaching the leadership in companies to reach their greater potential. Executives are but one group we work with; there are leaders at every level of a company’s official org chart, and we find that titles can be irrelevant when it comes to discovering leadership talent.

Once we discover leadership talent, one of our objectives is to get that person more “broadcast air time” in their company, so that they’ll get increasing comfortable with sharing their ideas.

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In my article here last week, I stated: “All managers must be able to coach, however sometimes their best tactic in the beginning of the learning process is having someone else do the initial teaching.” This week, I’d like to offer you some suggestions on where to improve upon the training that all your managers will do in-house, and for the sake of their own credibility as managers and as emerging leaders.

Why?

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Great Managers develop their own training skills and style, and in doing so, they simultaneous develop a stage presence which either adds to their credibility, or will unfortunately detract from it. When you train, your demeanor, this ‘stage presence’ gives your audience a clear message on both your command of the subject, and your confidence. This is pretty significant when your ‘audience’ is composed entirely of your staff.

‘Train the Trainer” classes rank up there with the most frequently requested curriculum assistance our customers seek, and it’s a win-win for us both. We at SLC eventually go away; by design we help train the in-house trainers (yep, those are the Great Managers becoming Great Leaders) who will seize our Managing with Aloha curriculum as their own, continually re-train it, and in doing so “kaizen it” into the sustainable culture of the organization.

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These are five basic ways you can help “Train the Trainer” in your own company;

  • Deal with stage fright by giving them early wins; ask them to make presentations to staff groupings on their strengths and on what they do exceptionally well first. Allow them to feel the thrill of being the expert. A huge part of confidence-building is being able to draw on past experience when fielding questions, and unlike those mixed-audience conferences to send them to, your in-company staff will not be shy or hesitant with asking pointed questions.
  • Start small and internal, then successively progress to bigger and external. Network broadcasters largely started in their home towns on the local news or morning radio show before they made it to the big time. Same strategy applies to getting emerging managers and leaders on stage in a company.
  • Start a company practice which reserves the last five minutes of every presentation for immediate feedback your trainers can learn from. Hand out a one-page sheet where you ask the staff in attendance just two questions, getting their responses in writing. First, “What are the top two or three take-aways you’ve gained from this session?” Second, “Is there anything we talked about that you’d like more clarity or discussion time with in the future?” Essentially this will help the trainer see where he or she succeeded or may have fallen short with the message to be delivered. The bonus is that they can also follow-up on those expectations as managers.
  • Video their presentations for them. Immediately pop out the tape and hand it to them for their own viewing later and in private; you will be amazed at what they will continually improve upon in their own performance without a word of coaching from you!
  • Require your Trainers to catalog their curriculum, and journal both their process in developing it, and their own feelings in what worked for them and what didn’t. The catalog will help them continually refine their subject matter. With the journaling, they will begin to see patterns in when they achieve flow in presenting, and when they don’t. Some people need extensive facilitation guides to help them, others do best ad-libbing to the right set of 3×5 index cards which trigger their story-telling style. There is presenting style akin to the existence of ‘management style’ and they will discover what training techniques work for them and which don’t.

A sixth, bonus suggestion for you; Get all your Trainers together in mastermind groupings which meet on a regular basis. Have them assemble with those curriculum catalogs (think of these as the intellectual property you share!) and personal presentation journals to share their lessons learned, and gain support and new ideas from each other. Partner with your local Toastmasters/Toastmistress chapter so your Trainers continually learn from others, and can practice in another forum.

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By the way, you can use these same tips for every person who conducts meetings, for after all, meetings are just another kind of ‘presentation,’ and if you treat them as a class, everyone will leave the meeting feeling they learned something and didn’t just waste their time.

Related Articles:

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Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business. She fervently believes that work can inspire, and that great managers and leaders can change our lives for the better. Her index of past articles written for Lifehack.org can be found in the left column of this page. You can also visit her on www.managingwithaloha.com.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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