How to Plan a Soft Skills Training Program

plan training

How to Plan a Soft Skills Training Program

There are various preparations that you have to do as a soft skills trainer before you develop a training program. Soft skills training is a mix of both creativity and knowledge. Soft skills are not like hard skills where there are boundaries, but this is a field where you can explain a certain point by “N” number of ways in different training’s for different audiences. You have to keep your minds open when you plan a training program.

First you need to find your topic of training. When the topic is decided you have to find out your target audience and their number, place of training, training hours(2 hrs, 3 hrs …), training timing and various facilities which will be available to you for training. Have a clear communication with the person and get all the details so that you do not face problems later. That way you are clear about your approach and you plan accordingly.

Knowing the target audience is important since the training which you conduct for adults cannot be conducted in the same manner for students though the topic for training may be same. For example, you take the topic of communication. You can talk about advance methods of communication, body language etc with adults but when you take the same topic for school students you have to make them understand how important it is to communicate with teachers and parents, how to sort out their problems by proper methods etc. Though the topic of training is same but we are teaching two different audience different things. You as a soft skills trainer has to find out about your target audience. You can even go to the extent of talking with one or more people so that you can understand their need better.

Place of training is important because if people have to travel long distances for your training program than they are bound to be tired. If the topic is very serious then you have to make the environment a little light at times so that people do not fall asleep and are attentive throughout the training program. If the place of training is a garden then the whole environment of training will be very relaxed, so the place plays a vital role in a training program. Outbound training’s are conducted in an open environment close to nature so that people can actually feel it and open up and are not in a classroom mode.

Training Hours or the amount of time for which training will be conducted. If it is one-hour training program no breaks are required but if it’s 6 to 8 hours training then you need to give breaks of 5 – 10 minutes after one hour or one and a half hour. If you continue without breaks people will lose interest. You need to keep your audience with you. Plan different activities which keep them glued to their seats and to you. You need to keep them interested in your training. That is your goal then only they will listen and grasp your topic better. Keep a light training environment so that people can actually listen to every word you speak.

Training timing will help you plan the amount of effort you need to put in a training program. If the training program is going to be conducted in the morning, people will be fresh and will be attentive and you don’t need to work very hard to keep them interested in you. If it’s late afternoon people are in a mood to go home and relax so you have to work a little to keep them interested. But if the training is at night then you have to work to keep your audience awake if it’s getting late at night. You as a soft skills trainer has to plan and prepare for all sorts of conditions and circumstances. You can ask the other person for a better timing, but then he will help you only if he can.

Facilities for training should be inquired about at the time of arrangement of the training program. Tell them what all things you need for your training – LCD Projector, White Board, Whiteboard Marker, good hands free mic so that you can move freely during the training program etc. These facilities will help you in conducting a good training program but don’t forget that you are the real hero of the program and do not let these aids overpower you.

The topic is decided. According to the number of hours of training and suitability start working on the program. Include topics which you want to cover and leave the rest. You will get tons of data on a particular topic, but you cannot include them all. Refine your work and list what all points will be covered in a training program.

For Example, the topic is “Interpersonal Skills and Attitude”

What we will Cover –

  • Managing assumptions in order to build trusting work relationships
  • Building Trust at Work
  • Developing and showing Positive Attitude
  • Expressing needs and Influencing others
  • Benefits of Listening

After writing the main points, start to write about them so that you do not face difficulties in explaining the topic. Write down since it will help in the easy recall. Make a power-point presentation and write very briefly about every topic. Remember the power-point should not replace you. Do not include everything in the power-point. If you are a new soft skills trainer give a demo training program in front of family and friends so that you know whether you are on time or exceeding it.

Plan your activities in between in synchronization with the topic of training and not as fillers just to pass the time. Spend time in planning your activities or exercises of training well because they are as important as the training themselves. These training activities will not only make the audience come out of their comfort zone, but it will also help them connect with each other. If it is a very big audience say a size of 100 then you can call a few people yourself and  ask them to participate. But if it’s an audience of 20  people then you have to make the whole audience participate and connect with each other.

Once you are done with all the planning make a “Design Matrix” and make a perfect plan.

design matrix
design matrix

The first column is S.No, the second column is Subject/ Topic, the third column is techniques used i.e Input or Output {Input (In) or Output (Out). Input is when you are conducting the training program and output is when your audience is participating}, the fourth column is Materials Used (LCD Projector or Whiteboard), and the fifth column is Time in minutes (10 Minutes, 15 or 30 minutes etc).

Enter the Serial Number and write every topic, Techniques Used, Materials Used and Time.

Once done. Proofread the whole plan of soft skills training to find out if you have left anything. This way you will conduct your best program.

You as a soft skills trainer should be a voracious reader so that you never run short of ideas and words. Take out time and read as much as you can on topics which interest you. Be it books, newspaper, magazines etc. Get into the habit of reading and cut short other activities to accommodate your reading. You will see self-improvements and you will get better day by day.
Plan a great soft skill training program and express yourself the best way.