Lovers of Aristotle will be well aware of his 3 kinds of creative persuasion: ethos, logos and pathos; where ethos reflects the speaker's credibility;
logos - the 'logic' of the argument and
pathos - the feelings and responses stimulated in the audience.
Whenever a speaker plans a presentation he should build his argument around each of those 3 areas: the speaker, the speech and the audience.
Therefore by the same token, a trainer should also learn to focus on 3 similar areas: the trainer; the training and the trainees.
For a training programme to succeed the student must be able to see how all 3 elements come together: ideally from the very beginning of the day.
Under 'ethos' (the trainer) the student needs to be made aware of the trainer's experience and background.
What credentials does she have?
What achievements can she point to?
What experiences does she have to show she understands the students' situation?
Sometimes a simple reference to the trainer's CV or job title is enough, but more often than not, it is worth the trainer spelling it out clearly: where they have come from and therefore what they have to offer.
Under 'logos' (the training) the trainer should give the student an outline of the structure and layout of the training.
Does there seem to be a rational thought process for the programme?
Are there clearly defined learning outcomes?
Is there a clear sense of direction?
So spend a few moments at the beginning of the day referring either to the agenda, or the aims and overall structure of the programme. This will go some way to reassuring the students that they are about to embark on something of value to them.
Leading on - under 'pathos' (the trainees), the students need to have a feeling of how this programme is specifically going to benefit them.
Salespeople are taught to highlight the difference between 'features' and 'benefits'
(-a washing machine with a spin cycle of 1800 rpm - that is a feature;
- getting your clothes dry quicker - that is a benefit).
Salespeople therefore often talk about the 'wiify' which stands for 'what's in it for you'.
1800 rpm? - 'So what! What's in it for me?'
Quicker drier clothes? - 'Now I get it!'
Telling the students what they are going to do without offering them a specific 'wiify' is no better than describing a feature:
whereas laying out specifically why they need to do it - that's the benefit!
So useful phrases like: 'By the end of the day you will be able to' or 'which will save you time', 'get you home early' or 'make you more money' will give the student a tangible personal benefit for getting involved.
Once the student understands why they need to listen to you,
how the day has been planned and most importantly,
what the real benefit is for them - you will have their full attention!
So don't be in too much of a hurry to start the training.
First, spend a few moments explaining the training triangle:
the background of the trainer;
the structure of the training;
and the specific benefits for those particular trainees.
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