How to deliver an interesting Soft Skills Training Program
A Soft skills training program is a mixture of creativity, knowledge and presence of mind. A soft skills training program is not just about lecture and powerpoint presentation but something more than that. It is a program where the soft skills trainer makes the core concepts clear to the trainee by means of lecture, Audio/ Visual aids, various exercises, training games, role plays and case study. Everything is designed according to the topic. The main concept has to be made clear within a specific time frame and with a certain group of audience.
A soft skills training program is a blend of lecture and all other training aids to arouse the interest of the audience. Lecture helps in making the topic clear with the help of powerpoint presentation where you can add various graphs, images and write various headings and subheadings. Do not stuff the power point with too many data. It looks crowded. Use a font size which makes visibility clear even for the person sitting on the last row of the training hall. Include slides according to the training timing. For example, if it is 2 hours training program include 10 to 15 slides. Do not add 50 or 100 slides just for 2 hours training program. The audience will suffer from information overload and eventually lose interest. Your presence as a soft skills trainer should be felt. Powerpoint slides are just to support your training and they should not steal the show from you. Write less and explain more. If you are new soft skills trainer you have to work hard and check that you do not run short of slides since you will forget lots of stuff due to mental tension. Keep your cool, things will flow in a great way for you.
Audio/ Visual aids like a song or a short video clip are used to engage the audience and also to explain your point to the audience. It helps when you have to take a post-lunch session or when the audience is losing interest due to long hours of sitting. Just make them dance to a song or show a short video clip which takes the message of a particular concept across the audience without too much effort. In the case of a short video clip, ask the audience to be attentive so that they can answer the questions later. This will engage the audience and even hook them on their seats. They will see and listen attentively. Once the clip gets over, pose questions and listen to all the creative answers. The answers refresh the mind of the trainer as well as the audience. When you are conducting a soft skills training program you as a soft skills trainer is also part of the program and you really have to get into it to engage your audience completely. You should be there conducting and even enjoying the training program. Do not feel burdened and don’t be in a hurry to complete the current training. When you are there, you are there with your full heart and soul. That time is never going to come back. Deliver your Best.
Incorporate various training exercises and games in a training program. Exercises like asking the audience to draw something according to your given guidelines. Then check how attentive they were or how they interpreted all the information which was delivered by you. Training activities like paper bridge building activity where a team of 4 to 5 people work on a particular activity for a certain period of time say 5 minutes. Activities which are conducted by forming a team helps in coordination, opening up of team members, making a leader for conducting the present work. You will see how the team members come out of their comfort zone and do a particular activity with so much enthusiasm and interest. They laugh and really enjoy their work. It doesn’t matters who wins or lose, what matters is the fun quotient and the knowledge the audience draws from a particular activity. Training games can be conducted by using any material which suits you as a trainer and you think will be comfortable with your audience. Like a game where you use a large bicycle tire and ask the trainees to actually pass it on to the nearby person by going through it. For example, a circle of 20 people is formed and all of them hold their hands by the wrists and then pass on the tire from one person to another. Training games can be conducted by using “N” number of things. You as a trainer decide what you have to use according to your comfort level.
At certain times, you as a soft skills trainer can include role plays in the training program. Role plays are usually included in long duration training programs because it is time taking and you have to really work hard and make the audience get into their roles by breaking their inhibitions. Incorporate role plays when you have got training duration of 6 – 8 hours. Do not include role plays in 2 to 3 hours training program. You will run short of time. Role plays can be time taking at times and you may have to cut them short. Do and plan accordingly when conducting them. Always check that you do not run short of time. Role plays are a sort of drama where a person plays a certain role and depicts the whole episode in a certain time like for example 2 – 5 minutes time. For example, depict a role play where you show Tit for Tat. Here you can take the story of the wolf and the crane where wolf calls the crane for dinner and serves dinner in plates where the crane cannot eat even a bit of it. The crane then calls the wolf for dinner and serves the dinner in the long earthen vessel with a narrow mouth where the wolf cannot eat anything. This way you show tit for tat story. You can get creative by using White KG cardboard sheets, drawing the face of the wolf, coloring it, tying the two ends with a thread and wearing the mask to show you are a wolf. The long beak of the crane can also be made in the same way by cutting and tying. It looks great and everyone enjoys. Role plays are conducted to break the inhibitions of a person and play a role by setting aside all the ego and big corporate badges.
Soft skills trainers also use a small to long case study to make the training program interactive. The case depends on the topic of training and the time you have allotted for it. If you are conducting a training program on Communication skills, you can include the case of an office environment where there is a misconception between employer and employee due to lack of proper communication. you can make your own case study or get the from internet. I would suggest you to get creative and write your own case, that will enhance your creative skills. But then do what you are comfortable doing. Make a group of 4-5 people depending on the size of the audience. Ask them to read the case and answer the question that follows. Allot a time period depending on the length of the case from 5 – 10 minutes. Then start discussing the questions that follow the case one by one. Your audience will come up with all the creative answers. This activity also opens up the mind of the audience and they start seeing the problem and solution with a different angle.
Your job as a soft skills trainer is to deliver a good program. You have to make your concept clear by engaging your audience by your lecture and various activities. Remember that your only goal is the success of the program, so prepare and deliver the best.