Training for Success

Currie Gauvreau
Contributing Writer
Success Academy Trainer

As a corporate trainer, I take pride in what I do.  Effective training can change someone’s life!  HOWEVER, it takes practice to be able to influence and motivate people consistently.  Today, I want to give you some tips to assure you have the best opportunity to influence your people, and change their lives……not to mention affect the bottom line!

Before we start, you need to understand that a balance of competence and confidence is essential.  KNOW your material, and accept that you ABSOLUTELY ARE qualified to teach it. With these traits, you can motivate others to work together and create a safe and productive environment.

When training adults, you must use variety to maintain engagement.  You have many training media and methods available so use them all!  At Success Academy, we use a Blended Learning approach.   For example, if you tell a group of electricians some facts about troubleshooting a new motor drive, they may acquire basic some knowledge about the drive. But if you let them view a video on that drive, read the manual, watch another electrician work on it, and then let them work on it themselves you will have a much higher retention rate as well as a higher engagement level. The more ways you present information, the more your staff will earn.  Vary the pace and style of your training. Formal training is good, but informal training fills in many gaps. Magazines, books, and on-the-job training (OJT) are all very useful as well.

Adults learn from doing it right and doing it repeatedly.  Repetition is KEY! We have all heard the phrase “Practice makes perfect”, well, I believe “PERFECT practice makes perfect”!  The key is the practice session has to be specific and done perfectly.  Be very critical during practice, it will pay off in the end. Also, recap previous sessions often and particularly before continuing with new material.

Feedback reinforces learning in two primary ways; first, it helps the student recall information and second the student receives insight from others.  The best approach to feedback during training is to “Coach” the student.  Allow practice to occur in short segments.  Then discuss the performance and offer at least one facet the student performed well and one thing they could have done better.  There is ALWAYS something they did well, and always something they could have done better.  The key to feedback is it must be constructive and given with the students benefit at the forefront.  Always err on the side of positive…ALWAYS!

Most people are “burned out” if they get too much of a good thing or at least too much at one time. That is just the way most minds work. Training is no different.  I won’t bore you with the science behind it, but you need to keep it simple and short.  Daily training is fine, as long as the topic is a small chunk and is completed within the hour.  Keep in mind we are going to use a blended learning approach, so you may only spend 8-10 minutes doing one thing, like a video or discussion, then moving on to a different mode of presenting.

It’s too easy to forget something if you don’t use it. Even if people don’t forget, they are much more motivated when they know they can put their learning investment to use right away.  I suggest you challenge your people to put the information to use that day, and then the next day the group can discuss the results and share their successes.

If you send an employee away to attend training, when they return, have them recap important points to the rest of the group.  You will be surprised how much more attention an employee will pay in class if they know they are expected to train their shop on the information upon their return!  Remember the word of Chinese philosopher Xun Kuang: “ Not having heard something is not as good as having heard it; having heard it is not as good as having seen it; having seen it is not as good as knowing it; knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice.”

Bore people and their minds become stones instead of sponges. Training should be an emotional event.  It should invigorate and promote engagement.  If you are not PASSIONATE about training people, DON’T DO IT!

Remember the “What’s In It For Me” aspect.  Can you draw any a relationship between the material and other interests of the employees?  Can you show them how this will affect their work or lives? In addition, you must add an interactive element when you can. Group projects and discussions help carry out this goal. Know your people and find that need!

Don’t forget your vendors.  Change it up occasionally and ask them to hold a BRIEF training at your location.  Do not let them take over your location for a day, or even half a day.  Be sure to balance training and productivity.  Many of these companies will also provide training aids at very low prices.

Finally, recognize who you may have in your shop who might be an expert in a particular area. Who is a high performer or a technical resource for others?  Develop them into trainers so you have a stable to choose from when training is needed. They may not know everything, but they know enough to be a good resource for training.

If you want your in-house experts to put on formal training, educate them on how to train others. The first step in that journey is for them to attend a “Train the Trainer” class, often available at a local community college.

Great leaders develop their people.  Do you know who wants to learn?  Do you know who wants to train others?  Do you know what everyone’s goals and interests are?  If you leave an employee behind the group in terms of training, you marginalize that person. Use training to show you have confidence in them and their contribution is important.

When you show everyone is important, through the way you administer training, you have a positive effect on the team dynamic. When everyone is an expert in something, then you have accomplished one of the main goals of training: a strong, knowledgeable staff. The attitudes from such an environment give rise to teamwork as well as excellence.

I hope this helps you on your way to training like a pro!  Have an awesome day!


Success Academy Trainer Currie Gauvreau has 17 years of experience as both a trainer and instructor, during which he taught courses at the American Military University Online, University of Phoenix, and Strayer University among other schools and universities. He received his Master of Arts in Criminology with a concentration in Public Administration from the University of South Florida and prior to joining Direct Energy Home Services, he was a Sergeant with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, from which he retired. 

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