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Planning the Training

Successful district training seminars require planning and attention to details. Make every effort to conduct a smooth, enjoyable and professionally-run training session. The training will be successful if you do the following:

  1. Select presenters carefully. Choose the best possible trainers, educators and motivators from throughout the district. Notify presenters well in advance of the training sessions and involve them in the planning process. Keep them posted on progress and provide them with materials ahead of time.
  2. Use Toastmasters International training programs. Determine the needs of your group of trainees based on district goals for clubs, membership, CCs and ACs. Then analyze past performance and the strengths/weaknesses of your district.
  3. Make appropriate physical arrangements. Select a date that does not conflict with important local events or holidays. Select and secure a location and facility that will provide a suitable training environment. Allow adequate time to complete your training agenda.
    • Obtain materials. Order supplies from World Headquarters at least six to eight weeks in advance. Obtain other needed supplies and equipment. Print programs and handouts.
    • Arrange for proper set-up of tables, seating and equipment (check division, area and club officer training programs for set-up suggestions).
    • Prepare visual aids. Use the masters provided in the division, area or club training programs, or download them from the TI website. Prepare flipcharts and other audiovisual equipment well before the session begins.
  4. Promote, promote, promote. Promote early and often. Invite and urge officers to attend the training session using all available media (newsletter, fliers, personal telephone calls, etc.). Emphasize the benefits of the training session for the individual. Such benefits include leadership development, building skills and personal growth.
  5. Prepare session leaders. Being a good session leader requires the same dedication that it takes to give a good speech. Your session leaders should have:
    • Knowledge of the subject. Experienced district leaders make some of the best trainers. Mastery of the session content is crucial for establishing credibility and making the learning experience relevant to participants.
    • Knowledge of teaching methods. Experienced Toastmasters are some of the most knowledgeable presenters when it comes to leadership training. Individuals who have experience in conducting Speechcraft and other modules often make excellent trainers.
    • Desire and interest in training. Look for individuals with high motivation and interest in training. Instructors must be highly motivated in order to motivate others.

      The Success/Leadership Series module
      From Speaker to Trainer (Item 257) is an excellent resource for presenters at officer training sessions. Use it during the preparation of all your district training events.
  6. Instruct presenters to keep the training session focused. Getting off track can be disastrous. However, it’s important to have some flexibility in order to meet the needs of each particular group of trainees.
  7. Ensure sessions start and end on time. Pay close attention to the training session schedule and make sure your session leaders follow it. When planning, allow time for discussion of important topics and exercises that allow them to practice new skills. Leave enough time to address questions and answers. But remember, training does not end after the session is complete. Encourage participants to contact session leaders or district leaders if issues arise that cannot be adequately addressed during a training session. Urge participants to review appropriate handbooks and materials. The answers to most questions can be found in these valuable resources.
  8. Get feedback. Feedback is critical to the success of trainees and the success of future training sessions. During each session, leaders should ask for feedback from participants to ensure that material is being understood. Every training session should be evaluated against these criteria:
    • Did the content meet the needs of participants?
    • Was the material useful?
    • Was the presenter knowledgeable and well-prepared?
    • How can training be improved?
    • What other topics should be covered?
  9. Provide follow-up support during the year. Hold formal or informal review sessions at district conferences, executive committee meetings, division council meetings, area council meetings and other events.