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What Separates Great Trainers From the Merely “OK?”


What Separates Great Trainers From the Merely “OK?”


What Separates Great Trainers From the Merely “OK?”

iStock_000009219951XSmallby Guila Muir

Many train­ing par­tic­i­pants would respond,”Great train­ers make the learn­ing easy and fun.” If probed fur­ther, they might men­tion the use of engag­ing train­ing activ­i­ties, or the trainer’s per­sonal style.

But most won’t be able to iden­tify an impor­tant action that dif­fer­en­ti­ates expert train­ers. This action is sub­tle and pow­er­ful. It helps lubri­cate the ses­sion and increases learner reten­tion. Though mostly invis­i­ble to the untrained eye, it truly sep­a­rates the “Greats” from the “OK’s.”

What is this seem­ingly magic char­ac­ter­is­tic of great train­ing? It’s the use of tran­si­tions.

What are Transitions?

Tran­si­tions are ver­bal check­points. They con­nect dis­parate pieces of mate­r­ial and move the ses­sion for­ward. In using tran­si­tions, the trainer oper­ates much like the pilot of a plane: “We’ve just got­ten a good look at the Col­orado River. Next, we’ll be fly­ing over Hoover Dam.”

This ver­bal fram­ing helps the par­tic­i­pants’ brains orga­nize all the new con­tent they’re receiv­ing. It also read­ies them to process new input.

What do Tran­si­tions Look Like?

Tran­si­tions typ­i­cally have two parts, the sum­mary and the tran­si­tion statement.

  • Sum­maries reit­er­ate, check for, or test key points.
  • Tran­si­tions move the train­ing from one stage to the next.

Here are three exam­ples of effec­tive transitions.

A.  “We’ve just intro­duced (reviewed, talked about, etc.) ___________.

Now, let’s move on to_____________.”

B.   “We’ve just reviewed ___________.  What are the _______, ___________, _____________?”

Next, we’ll take a look at ____________.”

C. “Each of you has demon­strated that you can _____________. Now, you will have the oppor­tu­nity to ________________.”

By build­ing in tran­si­tions like these, the trainer makes the whole ses­sion flow bet­ter. There is a built-in silk­i­ness, flu­id­ity, and logic between chunks of con­tent. And best of all, the trainer has the oppor­tu­nity to test for par­tic­i­pants’ under­stand­ing before mov­ing to the next issue.

Try using a few well-thought-out tran­si­tions between mod­ules in your next train­ing ses­sion. You’ll be amazed at how much more smoothly the class goes,  and how much more the par­tic­i­pants retain.



  1. […] What Separates Great Trainers from the Merely “OK?” […]

  2. cegosasiapacific says:

    Nice article! Great trainers are those who keep up the engagement and interest levels of the learners. And at the end of the sessions, they make the learners feel satisfied about getting their money’s worth.

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