Training Credentials

Some trainers, young trainers particularly, are a bit uncomfortable giving a glowing account of their CV at the beginning of a training session.

They feel it sounds a bit arrogant ('I have done this and this, and here are my achievements'). But at the beginning of the day it is vital to set a good learning environment, for 2 reasons:

Firstly, it will assert your credentials, thereby showing the students why it would be wise for them to follow to your leadership.

Secondly, from the student's own point of view, they want to feel that the person up in front of them is 'fully qualified' for the job in hand.

(This also helps to answer the third of the 3 unspoken questions that most students have at the beginning of any training session:

i. Why am I here?

ii. What am I going to get out of this?

iii. Why should I listen to you?

If I needed a life-saving operation and my doctor started off by telling me all the people he has successfully saved, I would be greatly reassured. I would not interpret it as his showing off.

In fact, if I am putting my life in his hands, I would want him to be very confident!

Nevertheless, there is a subtle difference between a 'matter of fact' statement about what one has achieved professionally and overblown personal bragging.

Usually, if you can point to over 2 years experience in a certain field, it automatically suggests to the listener that you will probably be more than competent in that area (which is probably why many job adverts specify '2 years' experience').

Over 5 years' experience in the field suggests you are an 'expert'. If you can back that up with phrases like: 'that should suggest that I have the necessary knowledge' or 'which means I am well placed to be able to help you', the training participants will feel reassured and confident.

So what happens if you apparently do not have the relevant experience?

On one level maybe you should ask yourself if you are in the best position to lead the training at all! However, more likely, you will be able to point to parallel experiences that may be relevant:

'I have only been in this job for a few weeks, but I have 12 years' experience doing something very similar'.

'I may not have delivered training in this area before, but I have many years' behind me delivering training in other fields.'

The point is, the trainer's introduction is not there for the greater glory of the trainer, it is there to reassure the participants that they are in safe hands. It is never about you - it is always about them.

And usually, the best way you can reassure your students that you are the best person to help them is simply to tell them so at the outset.

This article was written by Michael Ronayne, director at the College of Public Speaking and four-time UK National Public Speaking Champion.

To discover more of Michael's top training techniques, check out his professionally accredited Train the Trainer course here