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Public Speaker Values – Kelly Vandever’s Personal Beliefs of What Makes a Good Trainer


Kelly Vandever’s Personal Beliefs of What Makes a Good TrainerI attended a couple of training programs lately as part of my own professional development.  I had vastly different reactions to the instructors who facilitated the different classes.

Instructor # 1 was exceptional – a role model, someone I’d want to get to know better and keep in touch with, and learn from.  She was just that good.

Instructor # 2 – drove me up the wall and across the ceiling.  The longer the class went on, the more frustrated I became.

As I reflect on these two instructors, I asked myself what was the difference?  What bothered me about Instructor #2?  What did Instructor #1 do that made me respect her?

The answer I came up with?  Instructor #1 and I shared the same personal values as learning professionals.  Instructor #2 valued something different.

Both instructors built a rapport with the class.  Both instructors provided information of value.  Both instructors probably got favorable evaluations from the class participants.  But the different belief systems they brought to the class caused me to assess their delivery in very different ways.


Personal Values as a Public Speaker

Whether presenting to a group, speaking at an event, or training in a classroom, here are the values I hold as important to an effective delivery.


He Who Speaks the Most Learns the Most – Let the Audience Talk

Instructor #2 spoke a lot.  And I do mean A LOT y’all.  I would guess she felt that the more she talked, the more valuable content she was pouring into the attendees.

Instructor #1 on the other hand gave the attendees more opportunities to talk and discover things for themselves.

That’s not to say that Instructor #1 didn’t provide content.  She did lecture at times.  But as much as possible, she involved the attendees in a discussion, adding to the conversation, filling in the blanks where the attendees lacked the knowledge, and providing marvelous insights based on her past experience.

Instructor #1 didn’t have to be the one doing all the talking.  She let the attendees contribute to the learning too.


Use Personal Examples to Make Your Points Strategically

Instructor #2 spoke repeatedly about her own experiences both professionally and at home.  Some of the experiences served as helpful examples.  But more often, the personal antidotes felt like impromptu digressions – further opportunities to pontificate and pour her experiences into the attendees.

Instructor #1 used personal examples from her work experience where it was appropriate and where the stories helped to illustrate a point.  On the breaks she would get involved in digressions and share other stories.  But during the class time, she stayed focused on the materials and only told stories that would enhance the learning.


Shift the Focus between Speaker and Audience

There were times in both classes where a topic could have been handled in either small group discussions or discussions with the entire class.

Instructor #2 almost always chose the discussion with the entire class.  Because she lead the large group discussion, the focus stayed on her and she did most of the talking.

Instructor #1 mixed it up.  Sometimes discussions happened within smaller groups.  Sometimes the discussions happened in the entire group.  Shifting back and forth altered the focus which helped keep attendees engaged and talking more.  It helped classmates build a better rapport with one another as well.  The class was livelier.


Living the Values

Perhaps I’m harder on Instructor #2 because I resemble her too closely.  Instructor #1 was a role model of how to keep the focus on the learner and not on the instructor.  I learned more content and more about being an effective trainer during my time with Instructor #1.  Now my job to make sure I live up to the same values.


What Are Your Values as a Speaker, Trainer or Presenter?

What had you seen and what have you done to be a better public speaker, trainer and presenter?  Please share in the comments!