Describe how your career as a trainer started.
It was a dark and stormy night…Wait, that’s the other story.
At the urging of a friend and fellow writer, I met with two men, would-be Great American Novel authors and MFA graduates, who needed a day job and were starting up a corporate training consultancy business much like The Bauman Group. They needed people who could write training materials for their Fortune 500 clients. I soon started working for them as a training consultant and discovered that not only was I able to use every skill I learned and used as a journalist I loved designing and developing training and teaching! The business was a success for many years, by the way. My skills have only improved as a result of each and every training project I’ve ever worked on. So the ability to continuously grow and improve is what keeps me going as a trainer.
My skills have only improved as a result of each and every training project I’ve ever worked on. So the ability to continuously grow and improve is what keeps me going as a trainer.Roxann Wedegartner
What has been your favorite moment as a trainer?
As with any teaching, it’s that “Aha!” moment when you see a light go on in someone’s face, or when you hear, “I did it!” from the one person in class who seemed to lack confidence in his or her mastery of the subject. My other favorite moments are when you’re beginning the class for the first time and you don’t know your audience and they don’t know you…that panic thrill! Then you introduce yourself and ask them to introduce themselves. Before you know it, a unique relationship with that group begins.
Please give some tips to a person about to train a class for the first time.
Breathe! Smile! Know and be in control of your material…even if you yourself aren’t in control (wink, wink). Always leave them thinking you know just one more thing than they do. And always, always, always start with an icebreaker…even if it’s just a quick “fun fact” in your introduction about yourself as a person or a trainer and you get one “fun fact” from each of them.
What topics do you love to teach?
I consider myself proficient in most types of training. I’ve almost always done some type of “customized” hard skills training that has been, to a certain extent, dictated by the client. So I try to approach the topic positively regardless of what it is. I have expertise in instructional design, developing, and facilitating instructor-led and web-based distance learning training for adult learners related to:
- • New hire onboarding
• Customer service and sales
• Computer systems and system rollouts
• Internal and external policies and procedures.
What do you do to go the extra mile as a trainer?
Whatever the client wants. Recently that meant showing up at a warehouse at 4:30 a.m. ready to work.
Do you have any funny stories to share from a training session?
It was a dark and stormy night….Nope! Not yet.
It’s always interesting teaching people whose native language is not your own. The one surprise I got was when “proper English”-speaking clients (e.g. Londoners) didn’t fully understand me. Not to belabor the details of the training, I was describing when it was appropriate to write “.com” as opposed to “dotcom” into a business search engine I was training people how to use. Blank stares greeted me. I repeated myself. Blank stares with slightly questioning looks greeted me again. So I said “period c-o-m”. More blank stares. I could see out of the corner of my eye that the manager of the group being trained was getting a big kick out it all, so I turned to her. She smiled and said she means “full stop c-o-m”.