If you need a crash course in how to train others, The Trainer’s Tool Kit is for you. It covers everything from practical tips in planning and delivery to a quick guide to training tools and theories. Even if you’re under a strict deadline and don’t get a chance to read the book in one sitting, it’s structured in an easy-to-follow A through Z layout that allows you to reference the information you need quickly.

What will I find?
For the residential-expert-turned-trainer, the idea of tasks such as developing a lesson plan or conducting a needs analysis can be frightening. This book provides the basics of training essentials in only 208 pages. Especially helpful are the sections on adult learning theories, presentation skills, and icebreakers. There are also Top Ten lists, including “Facilitator Tips and Turnoffs,” that can help trainers get a handle on what they need to succeed in the classroom.

Some of my favorite tips include:

  • Adult Learning Theory: Authors Cy Charney and Kathy Conway write, “Adults need to be involved and consulted. Letting them know what will be learned, by whom, and when it will be done will increase the buy-in and the commitment to participate enthusiastically.”
  • Icebreaker: “Know your audience,” Charney and Conway advise. “Not all adults are ready to do something silly early on in a workshop.”
  • Icebreaker: “Adjust the length of the icebreaker to suit the length of the session,” the authors add. “A more extensive icebreaker would work for a workshop that lasts two to five days in length, whereas a quick exercise (two to five minutes) would be appropriate for a session of one day or less.”

By Cy Charney and Kathy Conway
AMACOM, 1997
208 pages, softcover
ISBN: 0814479448
Online price: $15.15 at Fatbrain.com
Susanne’s opinion
This book is definitely one of the top three choices in my training library. I recommend it to anyone new to training as well as to training professionals looking to improve their skills.

My only reservation is that most of the book is written in a bulleted checklist format. Although the style makes for a good reference guide, it can become a bit annoying when attempting to read it from cover to cover. (I think I saw checkmarks in my sleep that night!) There are also a few topics that focus on training managers rather than the beginner trainers. It would be much more beneficial for new trainers if the authors removed material such as budgeting and career planning programs and replaced it with more of their excellent training tips. Other than that, The Trainer’s Tool Kit is a definite must-have for your training library.
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Susanne E. Krivanek is a training coordinator/analyst for Systems & Computer Technology Corp. , Education Solutions Division, which specializes in the development of software product training and certification programs. She has a training background in brokerage software, office applications, and business entrepreneurship, and she speaks on maximizing training effectiveness.