How to be a good trainer. 5 rules that always work

good-trainerTrainings today form one of the core activities any organization plans, to excel in the industry. And so should be the case. We are living in a knowledge driven world. You simply can’t assume to hire the best of all available in this world. Most of us simply can’t whether startups or well settled conglomerates. And with regards to cost perspectives in startups it makes business sense to groom someone rather than throwing high paychecks to poach skilled teams.

Training again is not limited just to office teams. You train the customer about the product; you train the franchisee, the broker, the regulator, every one. And when training becomes so very important it makes sense to have a checklist of things that we are supposed to follow.

The very basic every training manager should know

At the outset we do understand that training is a kind of communication. So rules that you apply for good communication, applies to training too. But then there are certain parameters that weigh higher than others. Going through and conducting couple of trainings myself now-a-days at office, I have compiled a list of attributes that I found will enhance any training and make you a good training manager.

As I said there are certain parameters which will weigh higher than the others. I have mentioned them separately out here. Do save this post for future references and use it as a checklist whenever you are planning to train someone.

Qualities of a good trainer

1. Firstly who are you training

This can be always claimed as the golden rule of trainings. Since you have been chosen to train a group of people I am assuming that you know the subject you are going to train about and you are identified as an expert. That forms the lifeline of the training (Knowing the content). Post that, knowing the audience forms the backbone. All the strategies that you devise to train depend on your understanding of the audience.

That’s the prime reason most of the trainers ask the group to introduce themselves and describe the reason what motivates them to attend the training. Bottom-line, if you don’t know the profile of the audience simply do not proceed.

2. Humor adds life to your training

To better make this engrossed in your understanding let me say Humor adds life because It keeps your audience awake : -) A good joke cracked at the right time rejuvenates the whole environment. Though there are certain precautions to be taken on this humor driven communication (Will probably have a separate post for that subject).

I have attended classic presentations where humor was not just to make environment lively but also to increase the retention period of the topic. For example talking about the best practices of sales, rather than telling what’s wrong and what’s right; can you pull a joke of what will happen if something is blindly followed? Creating satire in the right way too makes a person remember. Bottom line Humor is important; it has to be timely, healthy and relevant.

3. Good Training is all about engagement

Training is an important activity but getting trained is not so exciting. Why? Because most of the times it is passive. People sit there listening to the trainer (Some even fall asleep with eyes wide open, I don’t know exactly how that is done). So first change the rules. Change the way the training is done. Engage them in every section of training, ask them questions, answer there queries in different ways. Push them to think new things.

Till the time the audience is engaged, the audience is active. As a trainer you have to maintain eye contact, rehearse the whole presentation, actively listen, move slides, use the whole area, and a bunch of few more things how can you concentrate and make sure that each listener is actually listening to you? Bottom-line Engagement is not a good to have quality it’s a compulsion.

4. Show them the real world

Try to answer this tough question, what is more interesting – watching Jurassic Park or understanding a new business process that your team has to comply to? Well that was easy. That’s what happens. If the audience understands the importance of the training and still is not active, the blame is on you. Try to create a Jurassic park!

Derive maximum examples as possible. Try to articulate the concepts to which the audiences connect. Tell stories, Create scenes, make relative analogies. That way you make the content easier to absorb. Bottom line if you draw pictures in their minds you ensure that they retain content.

5. Ask the right question

As trainers we are very much engrossed in answering the questions. Resolving doubts. Is that really required? Understand this – which concept would be retained more in the minds of the audience, the one which you answer or the one they understand? That’s a tricky question of course. I believe making the audience derive an answer by themselves will make them have a connect with it. Finally they have derived the answer.

How that is done? I tend to cross question the one who raises a doubt. While answering my cross questions I lead the person to derive answer to his question. That way not only he understands the concept far better, even I win an image of an expert for myself (whether I am or not? that really doesn’t matter). Bottom line, it’s not about the right answer, it’s about the right question.


There are a heck lot of more tips that are buzzing around my ears right now, but let’s put it to the part two of this post. Next time when we discuss this topic we would probably have tips as one liners and try to compile as much relevant tips as possible.

Up until then, what about your training experience, do you feel bored in some types of trainings. Have you been a trainer? How will you rejuvenate trainings in that case? The baton goes to you, comment on this post and let me know your views about the same.

And in case if you found this post worth, do pass share this real experience with at least one of your colleague. Now!

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Rizwan Khan May 28, 2010 at 4:13 am

All the above things that you have mentioned is good to have however as a new trainer you should follow the gagne’s 9 events of instruction which will give your training session a good structure. Please check this link for the details All the other things come with experience. Things like Humour and asking the right questions will come with experience as long as you follow the right structure of the training. Gagne had done a thorough research on the best methods of training and these 9 events is a culmination of that. Go through these and let me know your thoughts on these.

Chanda Himanshu June 13, 2010 at 4:41 am

Hi Rizwan,

Thanks for the link and the quick chat we had over this topic on call. I have gone through this and post further reading plan to blog about the detailed methodology. Do pass on similar links or mail me some material if you have on this, its great to learn how well planned and well executed trainings can be.

And thanks for taking time to comment. I really appreciate 😉

Himanshu Chanda

James Bonner November 1, 2010 at 4:47 am

Great responces, ponder this. People will ask what ever asked of them! You have control for the first few minutes, take advantage of that by given many breaks during your training. Reasearch on the brain as it pertains to memory suggest that after 7-9 minutes people tune out, giving frequent breaks helps you to max your training. As in anything there are always exceptions but beleive me this works. Understand that many people have not been succesful in our educational system some may suggest becasue of the narrow brush that is painted regarding intelligence. Howard Gardner suggest that there are Multiple Intelligences let people know that we are all are smart. Explain and inform what the implecations are. Remember no one has all the answers, include your paticaptes in the training, you should be a facilator of learning not a talk box. These and some other areas of information retention and delivery I would love to discuss with you please respond and together maybe we both can learn, please tell me more!

Shailesh January 18, 2011 at 5:50 am

Thanks allot for the above information. The information on on right track and simple language which is understands soon to everybody. It is define much matters if brief.

frashier January 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm

i like this

Akpobor Victor March 27, 2011 at 11:47 am

All said and good, i personally appreciate every points/tips that have been highlighted here to make a good trainer. I love to impact knowledge and that is the reason i found myself here in the first place, i can confess to you all that i have learnt some new tips here that would go along way in helping me develop my career along this path. I hope also to come back someday as a contributor. Together, we can get there!

Nafisa Ahmad April 13, 2011 at 4:33 am

I’m training my co workers on new applications to be used. I always hear that humour is a good thing while training but i’m not good at it. I need tips of how i can inject some humour because they get bored at a point and it’s not a good feeling. I really need a feedback on this.

Himanshu Chanda April 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Hi Nafisa,

Thanks for the comment. To start with you cant directly inject humor into trainings.. you would have to first try to experiment that into your day to day conversations. Once comfortable about your skill and the temperament of your audience you can gradually adopt it.

We do understand that Humor is double sided. If it wont help your communication, it immediately breaks it. I believe being relevant to the conversation and picking cues from it to crack jokes work the best for me.

By the way this even sparks another idea for a nice post :) Interested ?

Nafisa Ahmad April 14, 2011 at 4:24 am

Thank you very much for the response.
You said this sparks an idea for a post,so yes please I’m very interested.

Syed Ali May 6, 2011 at 9:18 am


Do not ever deliberately try to induce HUMOUR you would not like it at the end. Humour is something that is inbound with the person but to learn from it never take it on your nerves as it is said earlier try to create a J-park ;-D

Himanshu Chanda May 6, 2011 at 11:11 am

Syed +1 …. Humor cant be forced But at the same time you cant presume it to be a by birth kind of trait. It can be learned, practiced and implemented

Rubina May 15, 2011 at 3:33 am

That is one of the informational note.thnx

yousef July 3, 2011 at 9:06 am

one word .. brilliant’

chandan July 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I want to become a good trainer in my office.
but i don’t know how can i become a successful trainer. it might take sometime. i liked the information

amon uganda August 2, 2011 at 8:50 am

i trainer music at church but i want to become a good trainner than never before

amon uganda August 2, 2011 at 9:10 am

i want to be a good trainer advice more

shaaista August 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Hi all I recently got a job where i will be training people, most of which arent fluent in english. while i am good with the humour bit, however i find that the language barrier does pose many problems. they all come from different countries and ive learnt that not everyone finds the same things funny. i crack a joke and some are rolling on the floor with laughter while others stare at you blankly. any ideas of how i can improve my training experience with my very diverse ‘students’. many thanks.

Himanshu Chanda August 6, 2011 at 5:35 am

Hi Shaaista,

I see you have a tricky problem here. However there are solutions. As of now you are assuming that you can add humor only with ‘jokes’ which is never the case. Changes in voice modulation, gestures, a bit of mimicking others (without offense) are a few ways you can get a smile on their face without any language.

Slowly and steadily as they understand your subject and you understand them more you would be able to crack better jokes. Till that time rely on the above ideas. Or if diversity is a problem talk about something every one knows. Like the movies, current affairs in that area etc. Also the subject you are teaching is important. Are you teaching them the language?

Remember while training even things that make people smile will attract them and engage them. You need not crack jokes which makes every one roll all the time…


Really very very good August 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Thank you for such intellegent advise and situations.

Sanjib Chowdhury August 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I want to be a good advice me.

Sanjib Chowdhury August 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

i want to be a good trainer in my organization.plz send all information about good training

Karan sharma September 8, 2011 at 11:05 am

i wants to be a good trainer in bpo sales line so plz advice me ….

Sohan Tiwade November 25, 2011 at 6:56 am

Thanks for the post, the above mentioned tips may look very simple, but as they say there is great power in simplicity. I believe that as trainers if we take the above mentioned tips seriously and implement them, we would certainly upgrade our presentations as trainers.
Joy be all yours

Akilesha krishnappa December 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm

We can’t be good for all our trainees, as per me a concept of good trainer would not give any justification. Yes there is a good training method and that can make your training better. Above mentioned tips will be methods for good training and make your training more effective and interesting.

MohamedBurao December 24, 2011 at 7:19 am

thank you for every advise that you got everybody….i would like to share your ideas with you…so plz commet me what ever you need me…i would try my best….thank you all of you…

Mohammad Sadiq January 10, 2012 at 9:31 am

i want to be a good trainer so i need to your advice

Johbert January 19, 2012 at 8:50 am

Good advised, nicely done.

Ayoub Shan Khaskheli March 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm

thank you for good advise,I am facilitator but wants to be very good and friendly Facilitator.and give them a concept that a new world is possible

myfendi April 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Very interesting and knowledgeable tips. I hope i can share with all my friends. Thank you

Neha May 4, 2012 at 10:52 am

@Himanshu Chanda-
Good attempt but would like to have more feed ups on it.

Himanshu Chanda May 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Thanks Neha. Yup I would ramp up on that pretty soon….

Cookie May 23, 2012 at 12:43 am

Hi, Im at the moment attending a training and the problems that I’m facing are the trainers uses really loud language and is always saying words like “u guys dnt u read ur material … ” or ” my sugar in down and my pressure is high because of u guys ” or “is there right infront of u cant u see it ” and this is in our mid-career stage of traning, we all feel that way and we really dont know whap approach to use to tell them this is not the best way of training.

Success Coacher June 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm

There hides always a factor behind every situation. Or more perfectly i would like to say that, behind every situation there lives a human lesson. Identify that lesson. Its not about trainers loud language its about how you are taking his loud language. Sometime trainer often uses the slang languages like in the cases of training like of “army”. So there is always a reason behind the uses of loud or harsh languages by the trainer. A true trainer by no means just work for money or pay check, so i don’t believe that a trainer’s pressure will go high of any or some causes of training courses. Most often, they do pretend being aggressive to get seriousness of participants during the training hour. So summing up its all because they wants the training to earn a good end. But again, if its really like that and you want his approach of training to be changed. Then follow the following tips:
1. Criticize his approach positively.
Criticize his approach in such a way, so that he will take your criticism very positively. For this, You should be able to bring him to a condition that he may listen to your criticism with open heart. You can do this by appreciating his way of training/teaching. Find the point where he is really good at. Note it and ask his permission to give some feedback on that point. During that feedback session, appreciate him honestly. Now he is mentally prepared to listen to you. You can write in a paper as a note, first few lines appreciate his way of teachings and give it to him during break. And suggest him that changes in his approach will help you to listen to you more enthusiastically. He will surely listen to you if is really a good trainer.

Gangadhar June 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

Its very realistic and very simple. Thats the way every Trainer need to carry Training Programme. Keeping in mind the type of Audience and the content to be trained upon. The above excerts are very much useful to every Trainer.

Arsalan Siddiqui July 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Thanks Guys..
I read out complete rules and comments which is mention here its really help full to me thanks himanshu I also thanks to you that you are very help full person May All Mighty Allah give you lost of success in your life tomorrow is my 2nd interview for Trainer in reputed organization i am very jolly person also i have lost words to engage some one in conversation and i also develop a interest in my communication…. thanks for This post and blocks….just pray for me

sona August 23, 2012 at 7:01 am

simple language,great knowledge about the subject ,right attitude ,judging the audience right, never take anything personal atitude ,never judge a person on face value,again as many people told having the power to make use of joke technique to retain audience interest,dressing according to the situation-neat -after all daily updating ur knowledge and current affairs-atleast related to ur industry all these can make one a good trainer -i believe

Sanket Ramnani September 8, 2012 at 8:20 am


This article is really helpful, This has boosted me up for my upcoming new assignment as a trainer.

Thanks a lot more tips would be appreciated 😉

Sanket Ramnani

Amanullah September 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

This is a very best article. recently i join the training department in my company and my boss advise me to use these 5 tricks in your training session. on first october i am delivering my first training programme, so let,s see what will happen. Hope every thing will be fine Inshallah.

Sales November 3, 2012 at 5:58 am

Excellent piece

Stephen December 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm

If I may add one to the list – Know the Learning Objectives. All too often I’ve attended training sessions without clear objectives. Whether or not the trainer posessed or was able to engage in the five points you’ve listed, without objectives the training feels like a waste of time.

I appreciate how concise your points are and agree that these things are critical for a “good trainer”.

Himanshu Chanda December 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Yes Stephen, I completely agree to you. Without objectives learning is futile. Its like going ahead to a destination without any maps!
Thanks for your comment

Abdalla January 13, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I was conducting a training for high level postions on my company and i get nervious and couldn’t contain the course, is this nirmal ?? and how could i forget this and begine again ??

Amrit May 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Dear sir,
I am going to attend interview for retail trainer position in my-same company. Could you guide me for the same. Thanks

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