FT Guide to Business Training

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 7 January 2014


(2014), "FT Guide to Business Training", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 22 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/HRMID.04422aaa.002



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

FT Guide to Business Training

Article Type: Suggested reading From: Human Resource Management International Digest, Volume 22, Issue 1

Tom Bird and Jeremy Cassel,
Pearson, 2013, ISBN: 9780273772972

Tom Bird and Jeremy Cassell’s FT Guide to Business Training contains well-thought-out ideas and insights and striking stories on business training.

The authors prelude the book with a caution that business training often does not work because it is not linked to business results. They share the Comb model – context, objective, map and benefit – a quick and effective model that helps trainers to cover the key points in chronological order.

The authors implore trainers to adopt open body language. They urge use of the power of three to make sessions more memorable, to create easy structures and to communicate with impact.

Here are the training take-aways from the book:

  • When designing your training, you have many choices of method that you can use. Consider building different methods into your training to bring variety and maintain engagement. Choose a method based on your session objectives. Consider what you want individuals to experience in addition to the tangible session objective that you have. This might be, for example, reflection, experience or the ability to air views in the group. When working with exercises, build enough time into your design for the set-up, repeating the brief, carrying out the exercise and then the debrief.

  • Make your objectives specific and active. Share your structure and agenda so that participants know where they are going. Remember that training and development should not follow a one-size-fits-all approach if you want it to be truly effective.

  • Use the introduction to get people talking. It creates a habit that can be helpful during the rest of the training. Remember to present your credentials in your introduction.

  • Consider relevant icebreakers to energize, create interaction and/or link to a theme for your training. Make sure they enable everyone to feel comfortable and are designed to achieve a specific objective.

  • To hold your audience’s attention, use accelerated-learning approaches to create and maintain a positive learning environment. Bring variety into your design to appeal to all learning styles. Look for ways to integrate activities that are creative and encourage participants to be creative. And use stories and create metaphors that both engage people and help to communicate complex ideas.

  • Behavior change requires the individual to have awareness, take responsibility and be motivated. Training design must address these elements. Individuals have different learning preferences. Design your training to incorporate these different styles.

  • Make the learning process conscious so that people know what they have learned and can improve their process of learning. Recognize that effective learning requires individuals to engage in various styles of learning and not just their own preference. Ensure a balance across all styles of learning to appeal to reflectors, pragmatists, activists and theorists.

  • Build in variety by using different training methods to ensure that you retain audience engagement. Consider your audience’s motivation to engage with the training and plan how you will move audience members towards a state commensurate with achieving your learning objectives.

  • The C3 model of influencing combines confidence, credibility and connection. If all three are in place within a group, this will have an exponential impact on your own success as a business trainer.

  • The process recommended to answer a question is the 4A model – acknowledge the questioner, throw the question open to the audience if possible, answer the question, keeping the answer simple and using three key points as a maximum, and ask the questioner whether the question has been answered satisfactorily.

  • There are four steps to being able to improvise easily in training. Step 1 is to create and maintain strong beliefs about yourself. Step 2 involves working on your knowledge – practise and learn. Step 3 is to get into a resourceful state and trust in your unconscious. Step 4 involves going with the flow in the room and focusing on learning outcomes.

The book offers tools and models that help you to become a successful business trainer and educator. It helps you to improve quality in all aspects of your training-needs analysis, planning and delivery. It is a must-read for trainers, educators, mentors, coaches and leaders who are keen to acquire the tools and models of training to excel as corporate trainers.

Professor M.S. Rao

Book reviewer, Human Resource Management International Digest