As a successful trainer, you must be able to perform at your best every time you provide a training course. Your aim is not only to teach a given subject to delegates, but to also entertain them and make the event more memorable. So in order to boost your delegate’s learning, you need to be a good entertainer as well as a fantastic educator.
Your performance as a trainer is also observed by your client or the training agency that you work with. Therefore each training course is an opportunity for you to advertise your skills.
Trying to be an entertainer and educator is not easy and can put a lot of demand on you. If due to your previous success you have lined up a complex schedule of training courses, you need to make sure you stay sharp and focused for every single training delivery.
Here, you will be introduced to 6 powerful methods that can help you stay in shape mentally and have a successful delivery every time.
- Playing games help to boost your mental dexterity. Research shows that those who play games are consistently able to perform better at a variety of intelligence tests especially those that involve problem solving, logic, spatial reasoning, decision making and information processing. All of these skills are particularly useful for trainers, so playing games can certainly help you where it matters.
- Playing games improves your reaction times. It is well-known that playing certain time-sensitive games such as shoot-em-up games or racing games can significantly help with reaction times. Increased reaction times are particularly handy when you are demonstrating something that requires physical performance.
- Playing games boosts hand-eye coordination. Research also shows that certain computer games help improve hand-eye coordination. Again, this can be handy when demonstrating in public.
- Playing games help to increase attention span. Research shows that gamers in general have better attention span than those who don’t play regularly. It seems that the reward seeking behaviour required in most games helps to boost attention spans.
Listen to Music
- Listening to music can make you feel more energetic. The right kind of music can make you feel positive, energetic and enthusiastic about an upcoming event. Research shows that music can activate your brain reward centres and reduce activity in amygdala which generates many of your negative emotions such as fear. This is particularly useful if you are about to perform in public or give a training course and feel nervous. Just before your public performance, listen to a melodic and energetic music to make yourself feel positive.
- Don’t rely on Mozart. Contrary to some highly publicized research, listening to Mozart does not make you more intelligent. However, you should still consider enjoying the music to feel more positive (because Mozart is a fantastically great musician). See training myths for more details.
- Exercise boosts brain functions. Research shows that physical exercise helps boost certain brain functions that are particularly useful for trainers such as planning, multi-tasking, organising and attention to detail.
- Exercise makes you happy. Physical exercise can boost your mood and make you feel more energetic and positive.
- Exercise improves your brain. Exercise increases the level of BDNF (Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor), a substance that encourages communication between neurons as well as helping their growth and survival.
Control Your Diet
- Consume food with high omega-3 fats. Brain is mainly made of fat and consumptions of specific fats can help in maintenance and reproduction of brain cells. Research shows that fatty acids, in particular omega-3 fats, are particularly helpful. Omega-3 fats can be found in the following types of food:
- Fish. This is the most widely available source of omega-3 fats. Consider consuming cold water oily fish such salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies.
- Nuts and seeds. Consider walnuts, pecan nuts, hazel nuts or adding specific oils to food that are rich in omega-3 such as flaxseed oil.
- Omega-3 supplements. You can also directly increase your omega-3 intake by consuming supplements such as cod oil.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. These have high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to counteract damage caused to brain cells by oxidants. Research shows that antioxidants help learning and can boost your memory. They are even known to reduce brain damage caused by stroke.
- Control the intake of calories. Extensive research, in particular on animals, shows that a calorie restricted diet of about 25% to 50% less than normal leads to longer life. The research also showed that the calorie-controlled animals also had better brain function, performed better on memory tests and could coordinate themselves better.
Consider eating walnuts, blueberries, fish and spinach as they are great examples of brain food.
- Use appropriate doses of caffeine. Caffeine, the world’s most popular drug, is a stimulant that helps boost the nervous system. Consuming caffeine increases heart rate, blood pressure and can make you feel sharper and more energetic, at least for a while. By working directly on the nervous system, caffeine can increase your alertness and attention. If you need a boost just before an event, a cup of coffee can give you a kick to keep you going without messing up your system like stronger drugs might do. You can think of a cup of coffee as the safest cheat that can help you stay alert for a public performance.
- Avoid high doses of caffeine. Be careful not to consume too much caffeine or take it in short intervals as it can have severe negative effects; exactly the opposite of what you want to achieve by consuming it in the first place.
- Relax and reflect. Many studies show that relaxation and inward contemplation have significant benefits and help with a variety of conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, anxiety disorders and asthma. As a trainer, you might be subjected to a lot of stress before, during and after an event. You will need to complement your potentially demanding schedule with periodic stress-reduction exercises. Consider the following:
- Mediate using established methods. You can even combine meditation with sport. For example consider doing yoga or Pilates.
- Go to spa. Spend a day in the relaxing atmosphere of a health spa. Not only your body will be revitalised as a result of temperature variations and water-based treatments, you will also have time to relax your mind and indulge yourself in tranquillity.
- Receive a message. While you are in the spa, book a massage session as well. The physical movements can help get rid of toxic build up in your body as well as leading to further relaxation.
- Relaxation boosts attention and sensation. Research shows that relaxation increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex which is involved in rational reasoning and visual processing. The increase in size is not due to cell growth; instead the growth is as a result of increased cell activity, generation of new connections and the increased size of blood vessels in the area to support the increased activity.
Just remember, a trainer’s success is not just based on his technical knowledge of the domain he is teaching about; it is more to do with his ability to train, educate entertain and react to learner’s need as he discovers them and to deliver an effective custom course that the leaners will not forget for a long time to come.