Establishing Credibility as a Trainer

credibility Have you ever been to a class or training where the teacher didn’t seem like they knew what they were talking about?  You probably sat there with your arms crossed, wondering when it would be over.  You stare at the clock, waiting for it to hit the time when you get end your misery.  As you sit waiting for the teacher to finish their stammering, you take a few scribble notes and lose precious time sitting in a training room with a number of other victims.

There are many things that a teacher or trainer can do to boost their creditability in a classroom.  You don’t necessarily need to be a full-on expert of the given subject (although that almost never hurts) but you do need to have a firm grasp of the content.  Avoid saying things like “Um…” or “Uhhh” too much, as it may give away your hesitation.  When you ask a question of the class, give them a moment to respond before you answer it for them.  If you have a disruptive student, deal with it in a professional manner without embarrassing them in front of the class. Langevin Learning Company has some additional tips on boosting one’s credibility in class.

Some of the most basic things can help your credibility as well.  These things might not come to mind immediately, but they are good things to remember when setting up a training class:

  • When you prepare the training, get as much information about your audience, the topic, and the intention as possible.  This is part of the Analysis phase of ADDIE.
  • Set up the room to be comfortable yet professional.
  • Do a thorough review of the materials and look for any confusing information, or items that need to be revised to make it easier to understand.
  • Prepare cheat sheets or handouts yourself to pass out to your students to help them remember the information (and more importantly, the class itself).
  • When you speak to the class, speak with authority and clarity.  Enunciate, make sure everyone can hear you, and make sure that nobody has a potential distraction.
  • Finally, if you see someone in the class giving you a bewildered look, feel free to ask them (either in class or during a break) if they need some help.  If the whole class looks utterly confused, then take the time to explain yourself in more detail.  It will make you look like you care about their success in learning.

As a teacher or trainer, credibility is one of the most important things that must be maintained in a classroom.  Without it, your students will disengage from the class and not learn anything, because they won’t take you seriously.  Worse yet, they may not even believe what you’re trying to tell them.  You need to demonstrate that you are trustworthy and that their time with you is well spent, and that they will learn what they need to in your class.

Photo credit: Knowledge Bridge Inc.

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