Each trainer has thier own individuall style and different topics require different approaches in training. However there are some general tips, that might apply regardless of the type of training you deliver:

Before the trainig starts:

  • Study the topic so that you feel familiar with it and prepare all the necessary materials.
  • Ideally know as much as possible about the group for which you are going to do training (number, fields of study, age) and about the space where the training will take place (possibilities, limits).
  • Prepare more activity alternatives (so that you can react flexibly if there are more/fewer people than you expected; if they are passive/hyperactive, if the chairs cannot be moved in the room, there is no data projector, etc.) - thanks to this, you will avoid stress (or at least reduce it) from the need to quickly change a well-thought-out program.
  • Prepare materials for participants. If you don't give them the materials, the participants will have to write everything down. They won't pay attention to you, you'll lose eye contact, etc. If you give them the material in advance, they can read something that you are not currently discussing and the problems are similar. Notes such as "the presentation will be available to you after the training" or continuous handing out of materials can make it easier for you to work with the group.

At the beginning of the training:

  • Build some form of relationship with the group. Individual modules require active involvement, group work, openness, etc. and all these things can be supported or complicated at the very beginning of the meeting. The basic options to do this are:
  • Formulate the rules - as a trainer you can set the rules but try to formulate them together with the group (“what rules would you suggest so that you do well and feel comfortable and safe here”). The outputs are usually things like respect; safe-space; what is said in the group, stays in the group; be active (you will learn more); it is not mandatory to engage in activities that make you uncomfortable - just observe them, etc.
  • Icebreakers - start with simple activities that draw people in, get them involved, etc. If you don't know each other, it's a good way to find out names and a bit about yourself. Ideally, the trainer will connect the icebreaker with the topic of the training. If, for example, the topic is "Career Strategies", during the introduction circle I will not ask about the number of siblings, but what they wanted to be when they were in kindergarten.

During the training:

  • Be prepared but not over prepared - it's good to have a plan and an idea of how the meeting will go, but reality always changes something. Good coaches know what they want to do, but they can also react to external stimuli and change it. If people do not respond well to an activity, there is no need to cling to it. If students fall asleep during the methodical part, the approach must be changed. Determine what you want to achieve, but don't fixate on how you want to achieve it - adjust the form as needed.
  • Vary approaches to maintain momentum and focus. Individual work, group tasks, listening, speaking, movement elements so that people do not sit for long periods of time. This way, among other things, you increase the chance that you will get more people on your side - maybe someone does not enjoy working in a team, but will enjoy individual work. Other person is not the listening type, but visual stimuli will help him/her. Monotonous lectures are not the preferred method for training.
  • Gradually increase the difficulty - asking participants to give an individual several-minute speech in front of the whole group on a topic right at the beginning of meeting (with a foreign group) can be unpleasant for them. If the coach does not know who he is working with and what the dynamics and mood of the group are, it is better to take gradual steps. Simple activities to get involved are e.g. polls and voting - participants must make a minimum effort and at the same time they are already active in the training. Then you can go to group work, where they are still required to work, but in the safety of a smaller collective, etc.

At the end of the meeting:

  • Summaries should not be underestimated. The human brain, attention and memory work best to remember introductions and conclusions, not a comprehensive (and lengthy) middle.
  • Try creative approaches - the summary does not have to take the form of the final slide in the presentation. Ask participants what they remember. The group can toss the ball to each other and the person who catches it shares one thought that he/she takes away. Take an online repeat quiz (for example Kahoot is very suitable for this) with a prize for the winner. The possibilities are (almost) unlimited.

Find some tips for activities that can be used across various courses and topics here.