How to deliver really effective training

How to deliver really effective training

A few days ago an L&D manager posted a request on Linked In for a presentation skills course. She requested…“Not the normal presentation skills but something more focused on making a real impact”.

So, is her assumption that ‘normal’ presentation skills courses don’t focus on making a real impact?!

I wondered why no one challenged her assumption – does this mean that others accept that it is normal to pay for training that has no impact?

PMSL’s core offering is training and to us effective training is all about effective learning that has a real impact. This got me thinking about the difference between effective and ineffective training.

So, how do you deliver effective training?


People have a huge potential to learn new things and any training needs to ensure they learn the right things (the things that will make an impact). Start by identifying what the organisation wants to achieve. What are the business challenges/ opportunities? What requirements of the role are driving the training need?  Then challenge people to identify their personal objectives. Learning will be more likely if everyone knows what needs to be learnt and why it needs to be learnt.

Tip for buyers of training:

Avoid buying off-the-shelf courses – if you are measuring the impact on ‘X’ but the trainer is delivering ‘Y’, then you won’t see the impact you want. A good trainer will identify what you want to achieve and plan training content so it meets that specific need.


Motivation and engagement are key for learning (rather than simple knowledge increase). Identify people’s motivators and the benefits individuals will experience as a result of learning. Look for opportunities to encourage people, but don’t shy away from challenging them – treat them as adults and show your respect for them by giving them the difficult feedback they haven’t heard from elsewhere. Tap into the motivation that comes from self-improvement by recognising successful behaviour change during training, and adjusting what you do instantly if no change is apparent. Keep energy levels up and be willing to change your delivery of the content to achieve this, rather than being a slave to the pre-prepared agenda.

Tip for buyers of training:

Use trainers who can adapt to people’s motivation levels and areas of interest, and who can flex their style and content to ensure everyone gets what they need from the training. Story-telling can be engaging, but no one benefits from listening to a trainer wax lyrical about their personal achievements. The content and style should be adapted for the benefit of the people on the course, not the trainer.


There is an expectation that the trainer will introduce some new ideas. To become skilled in applying this learning however, people need to practise and receive feedback, so ensure you let people have a go. Make sure your training builds in opportunities for skills practise and feedback, followed by more skills practise and more feedback. This is people’s opportunity to safely try out new things and learn from their mistakes.

Tip for buyers of training:

Make sure the trainer uses evidence-based practice and can present evidence backing up the effectiveness of their content and techniques. Ask them how they will ensure behaviour change and how that behaviour change will achieve your desired objectives.

So, to summarise:

Potential + Motivation + Skills = Learning


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