Some of the best attributes of corporate trainers include strong communication skills, being a good project manager, and possessing strategic thinking.
You may already be a corporate trainer in the learning & development field, an eLearning developer creating online learning, you might be thinking of starting a corporate training career, or even making the transition from education / higher ed to the corporate world, but is it as simple as people seem to think, or is there more to it?
What is a Corporate Trainer?
What makes a good training professional?
A Love of Learning
Cathy Moore's Best Selling Book On Strategic Training Design - Map It
This book was made famous by one of the leading performance consultants in the world, Cathy Moore. Map It gives you tips and tricks to create a needs assessment to understand if training is required or if the need is more cultural, specifically from the perspective of the corporate world.
Julie Dirksen's Book - Design For How People Learn
This is a great book to read, as the author, Julie Dirksen, goes super in-depth into how people learn at a cognitive level, which can assist you in developing learning content aimed at learners, for learners.
When it comes to the best qualities and skills of a corporate trainer, making content that is geared towards what learners need, should be at the very top of your list.
Be a master training evaluator with - Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Training Evaluation
Designing exciting learning content is a great thing, but what about understanding how well that learning is applied in the workplace
That is where The Kirkpatrick 4 levels of evaluation model can come into play for you to evaluate how well your learning program has added real-world change.
Excellent Communication Skills
A Sense of Humor
I initially thought this sounded a little odd to include in this post, but as I pondered about it more, I felt vindicated, and so here we are.
Another of the best qualities and skills of a corporate trainer is using humor to engage your learners.
I should preface this point by saying you should be careful with humor. No dodgy-sounding jokes that can go immediately south, nothing about race, religion, looks, or anything about people personally, keep it light and breezy, and most importantly, keep your stories relevant.
In my 7+ years of experience within the learning & development world, I’ve learned that you can change how your facilitated presentations are received by injecting little bits of humor into your work to lighten the mood.
Humor can immediately change the vibe of a room, irrespective of how dry or exciting the content being delivered is; even simple laughter can transform a learner’s persona, which could level up participant engagement.
This may be within a presentation or graphically within an online course; humor can make people feel more at ease, especially if they are initially nervous or frustrated.
This can provide a more welcoming approach when presenting, make learners more inclined to interact with the facilitator, and help engage them to learn more effectively.
Being A Strategic Thinker
One of the top qualities and skills of a corporate trainer is thinking about things strategically and keeping organizational goals in mind.
As a corporate trainer, you need to liaise with numerous business areas, from potential learners to HR, the leadership team, and many other vital staff members.
Corporate trainers are best served by having strong business acumen skills to diagnose issues within the organization and be able to help and advise when it comes to decisions around learning and development.
Being a “partner” with other teams and working collaboratively is crucial to building relationships with key stakeholders and understanding the bigger picture so you can develop the most relevant learning programs.
Instructional Design (ID) Abilities
Understanding learning models or theories:
Experience in Learning Technology
Visual Design Skills
This is sometimes hugely overlooked but honestly, visual design is one of the most critical qualities and skills of a corporate trainer. How to know what elements look good on screen and work seamlessly with other elements you have already used to engage your learners effectively.
Understanding basic composition, storyboarding, whiteboarding, brainstorming, what looks good on a page, color theory, or when to use interactions over something more advanced like a branching scenario is critical to know in this day and age for L&D departments
Also, one thing that’s important to point out, which sometimes is not always considered, is skills on design platforms like, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Canva to create varied graphic content. The ability to create blog and website design content will set you apart from the competition and allow you to create a wide variety of learning content for your organization(s).
Also, video production skills are highly sought after in this day and age, as more and more companies are moving to video-based content, and having people comfortable in scripting, filming, and editing will hugely benefit organizations in 2021 and beyond.
First up, a declaration from me, this is my weakest skill, any form of organization and admin I am not great at, but I admit it and own it, and try to develop my skills in these areas.
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!” I cannot tell you how often these words have been said to me, but they are true. When it comes to developing learning content, good preparation is crucial to success, or at least put you in the driver’s seat.
If it’s a video you are creating, script it, understand what camera angles you are using, frame rates, etc. If it is an online course, make sure to storyboard your course first, prototype it and save all your images and multimedia.
Also, if you need assistance from someone at work, ask. Usually, people are happy to assist you, don’t try and do everything in isolation, it rarely works out.
Being a Strong Project Manager
Have an Entertaining Style
One of the most under-sold top qualities and skills of a corporate trainer is creativity. Being creative in the design and development of your learning content and being creative in your presentation style.
Corporate trainers keep learners engaged by being varied and as creative as possible. Their training can include content types such as images, videos, handouts, humor-filled anecdotes, GIFS, stories, activities, and scenarios.
The great thing about being a corporate trainer is that, although there are general guidelines for learning best practices, on the whole, you are free to develop what you want how you want, carte blanche.
Feel empowered to experiment, and don’t discount wacky ideas; try them out and see the reaction. Take a trusted group of people and test content out, how does it land, and is it worth keeping in for the main training project rollout.
Make It About the Learner
Learning content should be learner-focused, are there other considerations to make, of course, but always consider what the learner needs as a first point, rather than blin develop what you are being told to do by management.
How many times have we heard, “Hi, I need you to make this course,” and we have a different opinion on the best way forward, well that is why we do a needs assessment, so the needs and requirements come from the horse’s mouth.
All content, from text to interactions to multimedia, should all be aimed at helping the learner understand the concept in question and making it tough enough to test learner’s knowledge to assist them in retaining the knowledge they have learned.
Just remember, learner-focused design, if you always remember this statement, your learning design will be more likely to succeed.
Being a corporate trainer is, in my opinion, one of the most incredible careers to be a part of and is growing at a rate of knots. When looking at the US department of labor statistics, between 2019-2029, the field is expected to grow by 9%. Much, much faster than the career average, so lots of opportunities ahead.
The top qualities and skills of a corporate trainer listed above are based on my personal experience, having attended numerous interviews in various industries across multiple countries, and in-depth research into what companies are looking for when hiring corporate trainers.
Managers hiring corporate trainers are looking for self-starters; they want people to be equipped with traditional concepts and be able and willing to adapt to the technological world to make learning more engaging, more efficient, and cost-effective.
Always be willing to take on new challenges, push back when you feel it’s necessary, and remember to take things step-by-step, and you will be fine.
A corporate trainer’s top qualities and skills are a guiding document for you to remember when day-to-day work life gets in the way. Feel free to refer back when needed.
Let us know how you get on and if these qualities and skills help you as a corporate trainer.
Hey, I’m Kris Taylor. I’m a Learning and Development professional currently in the healthcare field, with over 8 years of experience in the area of corporate education. I have created numerous instructional content for various corporate projects including eLearning, in-person facilitation, and virtual training across a wide variety of learning interventions and sectors. On Taughtup, I discuss topics ranging from how to succeed through K-12 to college all the way to instructional design tips for L&D designers.