How to ‘how to’

It’s your turn to design and deliver a training session. Here’s how. EVE ASH


Everyone should develop some skills to be able to deliver a group training session on their work, their job, or one of their skills.


If you are suddenly asked to “put something together to train everyone” on an aspect of your work you would rather keep working on – don’t back off because you don’t consider yourself a “trainer”. The trick is to ensure you design an enjoyable and effective training session, and part of that is enjoying designing and delivering it rather than dreading it and procrastinating!



  • Be very clear on the objectives for the training session, whether it is going to be informational or persuasive – if you have been asked to do the session ask, about the objectives. What do you want people to come away with: Awareness? Knowledge? Understanding? Skills?
  • And who EXACTLY is the audience and what are their expectations? Maybe speak to some beforehand.
  • Where are you going to be doing the training? Find out about the room and make sure it is booked and has a whiteboard, AV or whatever you need.
  • Think about you being in the group – what would interest you? What would be boring? What ideas can you come up with to make this really topical, interesting, challenging and memorable?



  • Make a statement about who you are and why you are doing the training.
  • Find out about the audience – ask participants what they already know, ask some questions and get a show of hands in answer to some initial questions.
  • Then explain how you want to run the session, including both learning (what participants will learn) and action (what they will do differently back on the job) objectives.
  • Remember training objectives must be relevant.
  • If you want to be different, bring something in – a prop, something unusual; hand it around, and relate it to the session. Or ask everyone to close their eyes and then lead them through a visualisation about a disaster that would happen without the skills you are about to teach them, or conversely how much less stressed they will be once they know how to do XYZ. If you are creative in your ideas to train, the group will feel that inspiration and energy. If you come into the session feeling like what you are about to teach is boring and an unpleasant task – it will be contagious!


Body of session

  • Bear in mind adult learning principles. Adults learn best when actively involved, and when it is directly relevant.
  • Ensure variety; change activities and challenge the group to keep interest levels up.
  • Don’t just lecture or talk at the audience – you need a mixture of, for example, case studies, perhaps a role play or a quiz, a debate, a business game.



  • This can be short; you need to identify what people have learnt from the session.
  • Make sure you get feedback on how it went.


Tricky situations you might encounter

  • The mixed expertise group – you will have to aim at the middle to lower end of the scale and draw on those with more experience. Be prepared to split the group for activities
  • The person who doesn’t want to be there but has been forced to attend – need to uncover that early and ask them if they want to leave (the majority of the time they won’t).
  • Running out of time – speed up, leave some chunks out and offer a website link or other references, give handouts, negotiate an extension or ask what they would like to cover in the final x minutes (seeking specific issues and problems).
  • Equipment failure – don’t make a big deal about it; always be ready to run a session without anything working. Be prepared to apologise, crack a joke and move on.
  • You are dreading this and want to stay home – tell yourself to get on with it, get it done and know you will feel good when it is completed. Tell yourself you will have a good time.




Play Click here to view the video Designing and delivering a Training Session




By Eve Ash, psychologist and Managing Director, Seven Dimensions, and author of Rewrite Your Life! (Penguin 2002) and co-producer with Peter Quarry of the Ash.Quarry production – Designing & Delivering a Training Session (from the Take Away Training series © Ash.Quarry Productions)


To read more Eve Ash blogs, click here


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