Why everyone should be a trainer
When you’re in a senior / lead specialist or manager role training others goes with the job title. However, if you’ve not given training to a colleague before it can feel a bit daunting. It may be you don’t feel qualified to train others despite knowing the topic or don’t like public speaking.
Here are a few tips to hopefully change your mind to give it go!
What’s in it for them? At some point in our careers someone took the time to show us the ropes and help our development, this is your chance to pass it on. You will have built up loads of knowledge and whether you consider yourself an ‘expert’ you have something to offer someone with little knowledge. Investing in our colleagues helps build the capability of the whole team, building their confidence and elevating everyone (and ASOS) to the next level.
What’s in it for you? Depending on the training topic there are various benefits for you:
- It can cement or raise your profile in the business.
- Hopefully frees you up to do more interesting work.
- Helps your development - pushing you out of your comfort zone.
And my favourite… it can feel really satisfying to give something back and help others grow and develop.
So how do you go about it?
If you’re not a natural public speaker, you can start small. ASOS teams organise lightening talks for 10-15 minute tasters on topics to share insights on new technologies, problems faced or get feedback on an issue they want to improve. This can be a great way to explore your topic, increase your confidence talking to a group and get some feedback.
ASOS also offer ‘train the trainer’ courses for people to learn how to train.
10 top tips:
- Ask someone that has trained on the same or a similar subject before to get their advice.
- Gauge the competence of your audience and pitch it to the lowest level of knowledge. If you have a big group consider splitting so you can pitch your content to 2 different levels of competency.
- When planning your content the rule of 3 works well with training:
- 1. tell then what you’re going to tell them
- 2. tell them
- 3. then summarise what you’ve told them (or even better ask them to playback with prompts to check their learning or even a quick quiz).
4. Plan the content to build up from foundations to more complex concepts.
5. Make it visual and engaging - keep PowerPoint content to a minimum on each slide and include images and / or videos. A demo or guided exercise is a great way to bring a topic to life (check that people have the right access and permissions before the session).
6. Once you have your content time the session and include 5–10 minute breaks at intervals (1 hour of content in a section is enough).
7. Practice - consider your tone and pace, maybe do a dry run with a colleague you trust to give you feedback.
8. During the training have your camera on - it’s much more engaging for them to see you, and encourage them to have theirs on, you can see how its landing with them and slow down if you get any blank looks (but don’t insist if people are shy).
9. Share links to further information such as internal confluence pages, websites or books you recommend.
10. Ask for feedback, maybe tee up a friendly colleague beforehand to take notes for you for next time.
Hopefully you’re now tempted to give training others a go… so what’s stopping you? Talk to your Engineering Manager, Platform Lead or Principal to find out how to go about it.
Sarah is a Platform Lead at ASOS based out of the Birmingham office and a member of the Women In Tech community. She has 2 English Bulldogs and loves baking and mountain biking (to counteract the baking).