What's Your Point?

You cannot deliver a clear message to your students unless that message is absolutely clear in your own head.

You could say this follows on from the maxim of:

'You cannot teach what you don't know and you cannot lead where you won't go.' It all comes down to the clarity of purpose.

Often training misses the mark because the company or the maybe even the trainers themselves, although they may have a fair idea of what needs to be covered, do not have a crystal clear image of exactly why the training is being scheduled, and precisely what it is aiming to achieve.

So just like a good speaker needs to have a clear grasp of exactly what the key message is, an effective trainer needs a firm grasp of not just what, but exactly 'why' they are training. Is there an actual end goal to the training? What do we hope to see as a result of the training?

It comes back to 'What' and 'why'.

It is not just a matter of knowing 'what' you need to cover in a training programme, it is even more important to understand 'why' it needs to be covered. For instance, if you are running an induction programme for new employees, it is essential in the planning stage to be clear exactly what is the key message you are trying to put across.

It is not simply a matter of going through the motions of teaching orientation, core values and company structure. That may be all part of the 'what' that needs to be covered, but the real thrust of the programme will depend on understanding exactly 'why' you are covering these topics.

If the company aim is to make sure that everyone feels comfortable, happy to be part of a new team and reassured that they have made the right choice in joining that company, then that will have an influence on 'how' the induction material is going to be covered.

There will be an emphasis on 'helping', 'supporting' and 'relaxing', as the new employees make their way into the company.

On the other hand if the real motivation behind the induction is to make sure new employees understand how they are expected to conduct themselves, what the company expects of them and that any abuse of privileges will be frowned upon, then the emphasis and tone delivering pretty much the same type of material will be completely different, with a greater stress on 'expecting', 'striving' and 'control'.

So, for a training programme to be successful, it is not just a matter of covering the right sort of material, it is vital to understand from the trainee's point of view, from the trainer's point of view and from the company's point of view, exactly 'why' the training needs to take place in the first place. It is therefore useful for each training programme to have its own little mission statement, a few words or a line that encapsulates what the programme is aiming to achieve.

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