“We are not what we know, but what we are willing to learn.”
Mary Catherine Bateson
If you are going to be an effective trainer you need to be a continual learner. As a continual learner you will spend time being a student in someone else’s training class.
When you are in the student role you need to strive to be an ideal student. What behaviors are consistent with being a good student?
- Show up with the mindset of an open, active, and engaged learner.
- Bring a notebook and a pen for taking notes.
- Take notes.
- Be on time; at the start of the day, coming back from breaks and coming back from lunch.
- Do not sit in the back row. Sit in the front half of the class.
- Be an active participant, not just an attendee.
- Engage in large group discussions.
- Ask good questions to clarify any areas of confusion or concern.
- Stay off your phone.
- Do not engage in side conversations with your friends during the class.
- Take any small group activities seriously and be fully engaged.
- When directed to work with someone in the room you do not know, or who is not seated in your immediate vicinity, do it.
These basic rules are not hard to follow. They are rules you wish the attendees at your training will follow. And yet, I repeatedly see them violated by trainers when they attend classes taught by other trainers. Violating these rules is disrespectful to the person teaching the class and speaks volumes about you as a trainer.
“Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear what you say.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Below are some additional considerations when you are a participant at training.
- During the class take time to reflect on what you are learning and how you can apply what you are learning. Write down action steps as you think of them.
- Following the class spend time in reflection and effortful retrieval of the information covered to enhance learning and retention.
- Find opportunities to share what you learned with your fellow trainers and discuss possible ways to apply your key takeaways.
At the point where you think you have nothing to learn from other trainers, it is time to walk away from being a trainer. As Ernest Hemingway reminded us, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” The key to being a good apprentice is to be a good student and a continuous learner.
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