Linking In with Matt

Matthew Richter posts daily comments in LinkedIn—well, almost daily. You can follow him and join the conversation by going to

For the benefit of our readers, we decide to compile and reprint some of his provocative pieces from the past. Let us know what you think.

Different Hats for a Trainer

One of the hats that a trainer wears is a facilitator cap. The facilitator ensures the flow of the workshop so participants know what to do during activities, and properly reflect on what happened. Another is the subject-matter expert hat. The SME is the content expert who avoids pontification and pursues a more consultative approach. As an instructional designer, the trainer modifies the course on the fly, adjusting to the needs of those in the room. The trainer as a politician must make sure the stakeholders are happy, even if their happiness is in conflict with the course direction. The trainer as an evaluator measures the efficacy of the program.

Best Trainers Aren't Memorable Trainers

The training experience may be journal worthy. The lessons learned from the activities may stick with a participant for years to come. But the trainer should merely be the conduit between the learners' experience and desired outcomes. As you know, I like my clichés. We trainers should be a guide on the side and not sage on the stage. If you choose to be the focal point, the entertainer, you have missed the mark.

I Don't Like Fancy Training Materials

First, changes are hard to make to them. Second, the look and feel take on a level of importance far greater than the substance in them. Training materials should be neat, clean, and easy to read. They should be directly related to the activities in the workshop and no more. I often only use one or two page handouts as references for our games. Heck-- go green and paperless, preferably mobile friendly. Too many trainers spend way too much time on making materials and no where near enough time finding the appropriate activities to reach the desired outcomes. Real training excellence comes from the process, not the book.