Corporate training can be an exciting job for people who like to travel, meet new people, and communicate ideas. Corporate trainer salaries are decent, and as a corporate trainer you are often given a great deal of autonomy and trust in the position.  As there really isn’t a degree in corporate training, if you looking into corporate training as a possible profession, you will probably be asking “Who will train the trainer?”.

And before we talk about some off the beaten path ways to train the trainer, it would be good to understand the skill set that a corporate trainer will need in order to be successful.

training, teaching, learn, skills developmentFirst, you’ll need to be current on training approaches.  In particular, e-learning is and will be a hot topic in the corporate sector, so it would be good to have some exposure to the most popular course management systems and learning management systems.

In addition, you’ll need to communicate your ideas in a way that is both clear and engaging.  As a corporate trainer, your job will be to train employees in compliance, software, and some of the softer skills such as Management and Conflict Resolution.

Many employees will only be at your training session because upper management has asked them to do so.  Therefore, you’ll need to find a way to actively engage (and entertain!) your audience.

Now that we have a sense as to what skills a corporate trainer needs to be successful, let’s look at a few off the beaten path ways to get training in these skills.

Free Trials in E-training Software

One big component of a corporate trainer’s job is to be up-to-speed on the most recent innovations in training.  e-learningSince most corporate training has an e-training software component, one way to self-train is to do a quick Google search for different online training websites, and just try a bunch of them out.  As most web-based training software has a free trial period, this method would be an easy way to to get one’s hands dirty without incurring any out of pocket expense.

How do the various e-training software options differ?  How are they the same?  Once the trainer becomes familiar with the most common online training software features, it will give the trainer confidence when he or she is asked to use a specific company’s online training software.

Speech Clubs and Acting Classes

speechAnother big piece of the training puzzle is the communication aspect.  In learning how to “train the trainer”, one must figure out how to explain ideas in a clear and engaging manner.  One way to improve upon speaking skills would be to join a Toastmaster’s club.

Though geared more towards Leadership speeches, it will be a great way for you to practice holding an audience.  Another slightly more non-traditional path that one could take is to sign up for an introductory acting or improvisation class.  Corporate trainers, like traditional teachers, are really just actors: they are communicating ideas from a stage.  And, taking an actual acting class will help you hone your “acting” skills.

Tutoring High School Students

Another non-traditional way to help train the trainer is to tutor some high school students.  What does this have to do with corporate training?  Most of the trainings that you’ll be asked to give will be an interruption in an employee’s day.  And because of this, your audience could potentially be a tough crowd.  And, there’s no tougher crowd to teach than a group of high-school students!

Learning: Just do itOffer free training in Excel or Powerpoint for high-school students.  Or, if you’re really ambitious, create a training session in conflict resolution.

The truth is, however, that it doesn’t really matter what you choose to train them in.  What does matter is if you can communicate in a way to hold their attention and whether they appear to learn something from your training. And, if you can manage to keep the attention of a group of high-school students, then employees at a Fortune 500 company shouldn’t be that difficult to keep engaged.

Online Forums

LInkedinVisiting online forums can be another non-traditional approach to improve upon corporate training skills.  Forums allow you to ask questions and receive informational articles on forum topics.

As just one example, you can join the Corporate Trainer’s Forum on LinkedIn.  This forum consists of thousands of trainers who you can connect with and potentially meet up with off-line to share tips and tricks.  In addition, you’ll find topics that might give you some ideas on how to hone your craft.

Another forum that might be helpful is the teaching forum at atozteacherstuff.com.  A corporate trainer really is just a special type of teacher, one whose learners are employees instead of “students”.  And, by thinking of oneself as a teacher, the corporate trainer can open him or herself up to many more online resources.

Your Thoughts?

There’s no real formal training of the corporate trainer.  However, trainers who think a bit out-of-the-box can find some interesting ways to hone their training skills.  And, if you’re a corporate trainer who’s found an interesting way to train yourself, we’d love to hear your thoughts.  Feel free to share some comments in the form below!

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