There are several qualities, attributes, and skills that I believe one needs to possess if he/she wants to become a successful trainer. I have put together in this post the ones I believe are most important. It comes in the acronym P-A-S-S-I-O-N.
People-Orientation: Being a trainer involves being around people. You need to be enjoying the company of others, whether that’s in the face-to-face gathering or that’s a virtual setting. And you need to be sincere about it. You cannot fake it because people will sense it. You’re insincerity will show. So, if you are uncomfortable amidst people, then forget about being a trainer.
Assertiveness: I do not want to be preachy about it but assertiveness is different from aggressiveness. When you are assertive, you are confident in the way you deal with others without sounding pushy and bossy. You freely express your thoughts without making others feel that their thoughts are less important than yours. It is giving equal value to the ideas and beliefs of every person. If you’re assertive, then people feel valued when you are around them.
Subject Matter Expertise: You have to be an expert in the topic that you’re teaching. Many will say, it’s all right if you’re just a step ahead of your trainees. I say ‘wrong’. You need to be many steps ahead; if not, miles ahead of your participants. You owe it to them to be an expert in your topic. They’re paying you, believing that you have the best product to offer – your expertise. That determines your value and the value of your seminar. That’s what you offer your customers – more value for their money. If you will just be learning along with them, then don’t call yourself a trainer. You have no right.
Sincerity: Not all the time, the trainer has the answer to all the questions, not all the time, the trainer says the right thing, not all the time, the trainer knows everything. A successful trainer is one who is sincere and authentic. One who is never afraid to say, “Hmmm… that’s a great idea. I didn’t think about that.” or “Sorry, I do not have a ready answer to that question now, but let me research on that and get back to you.” or “You’re information is correct. If that’s the latest research you’re citing. My data was two years ago.”
Integrity: You need to be a person of character. You cannot preach what you do not have. You cannot motivate your participants to become a good leader if you, yourself, are a bad one. You cannot make them communicate in a certain way if they see that you are a poor communicator. Who they see as you, the trainer, inside the training room is who they need to see elsewhere. You cannot have multiple personalities in various social media pages in terms of your overall personhood or character.
Open to Learning: A trainer needs to be a lifelong learner. The day you say, I no longer need to read or attend training or seminar, or listen to podcasts, then, you mark the start of the end of your career. Everyday, when we read or watch or attend seminars, we learn something new… valuable information, updates, innovation. All these add to our wealth of knowledge which we need to share with our participants. We owe it to them to provide the latest piece of information regarding the topic we are training them about.
No to Negativism: People only see the glamorous side of training when they attend seminars – the show, the entertainment part where the trainer is the ‘star’. What they are not aware of is the behind-the-scene… the production that made the smooth training possible. There are a lot of leg work in putting up a real great training and as a trainer, you are a main production person. The logistical requirements… the ‘dirty’ work that a trainer needs to do. He or she must be ready to roll up her sleeves and carry heavy loads, push and pull pieces of furniture around, or run to the bookstore or supermarket to buy training stuff. It’s not all glamorous, you see? And you need to love training in its entirety if you want to be successful.
And lastly, PASSION. You need to have the passion, the drive, the fire to succeed in this craft. It’s never easy to become a trainer. It’s physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. Speaking and training for 8, 16 or 24 hours is exhausting. Not to mention, challenging events or participants you’ll get to encounter. So you need not just be ready; you need to be passionately into it!