Delivering training as a perinatal mental health (PMH) champion over the last two years has been both challenging and extremely rewarding.
Here I will highlight all the areas that need to be taken into consideration and the things that should be avoided to make it work.
Preparation and planning is absolutely crucial in making any training a success. A thorough knowledge of the subject, even if you are not an expert, will help you to feel confident and comfortable when delivering it. These are my top tips for delivering successful training:
The preparation takes time so book dates in your diary. Decide what paperwork you will need on the day. Will you be giving out handouts, pre training forms and evaluation forms? Will you need paper and pens for groups work? Do you need a laptop or projector? Additionally before starting ask yourself these questions: What is the subject? Who is audience? How long is the training? What are the key messages that I want to get across?
Put the dates in your diary in advance; decide how many people you can deliver the training to and make sure the room will be big enough. You might want to think about the facilities; is there parking available? How will the bookings be made? Do you have admin support? Is it worth preparing a teaching plan? Be realistic and allow some time for longer discussions.
Divide the day into modules, and set out your aims and objectives for each module. This will make the planning more manageable as it will be in bite size sessions. Build in group work, short videos and opportunities for discussion throughout. Varying the teaching style accommodates the needs of all your attendees and makes the day much more interesting and enjoyable.
On the day before check your equipment and make sure you have extension leads and cables. If you can, preload the laptop with your powerpoint presentation and videos consder the following. Do the videos run? Can you hear them? Think about your seating plan. How many people will be in the room? Do you want them in rows or a semi-circle? Semi circles tend to be more engaging than having people in rows. But this will depend on the nature of your session.
Arrive early on the day. Set out the room, put out your paperwork and don’t forget your signing in sheet. If the building is not familiar to you, find out if there is going to be a fire alarm test during the day and don’t forget the evacuation process.
Assess and Reassess
Evaluation forms are useful but remember that you won’t please every attendee. One person will really enjoy the group work, and another will say there was too much group work.
Focus on the positive feedback, learn from the constructive ones and don’t take too much to heart. If you only get one or two poor evaluations out of 20 you did a good job.
No two training sessions are the same. Your groups may be challenging, silent, resentful (if they don’t want to be there), talkative and sometimes argumentative, so prepare yourself.
Anecdotes or past histories can be useful, but if there are too many, too repetitive or monotonous other people can become restless and lose interest.
Constant talking also needs to be tackled as this can be annoying and disruptive. You may need to speak to the person directly or take them to one side and explain what effect their behavior is having.
Try to enjoy it. Be yourself, people will relate to you more that way and if you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know, you can always find out and feed back to the group at a later stage. So don’t be afraid to give it a go.
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