You are a trainer; you just don’t know it yet!

You are a trainer; you just don’t know it yet! Most of us find ourselves in situations where we are training other people, not only in the ordinary presenter or mentor position but also in general situations where we need to convey ideas and knowledge.

I recently participated in a 2-day facilitator course in JCI Denmark, and I learned a lot of tools, that I can use in my everyday consulting job. Tools that I would like to share with you guys as well.

You are a trainer, you just don’t know it

If you ask most developers if part of their job is to be a trainer, they would probably say no. But I beg to differ. Especially as developers, we need to share ideas all the time with each other, and most developers have probably felt the frustrating feeling, that their idea, which was the right solution to a problem, lost to someone who was better at arguing or someone who had more authority.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Everybody is a salesman” before, and it is the same idea I am conveying here. We all need to be better at training, facilitating and delivering knowledge to each other.

And just like sales, transferring knowledge and ideas is all about presentation. We want to say just the right things, so that the idea we have in our head, can be effectively transferred to someone else. Counterintuitively, this does not mean that we should just state all the facts, and expect someone to be convinced. We can’t even expect that the picture we have created in the other individual is anywhere close to what we have ourselves.

The beautiful thing about the people we surround ourselves with is that they are all different from us. This however also means that they learn differently from us, and this is the most common reason, that we have a hard time making someone else understand our perspective. We try to project our view and our perspective based on our own way of learning things, instead of focusing on how they learn and absorb new ideas.

To be better at transferring knowledge and ideas, we have to become better at the fundamentals of training, communication, and presentation.

The 4 personality energies and their characteristics.

Knowing your target audience 1 to 1

The best way to deliver information to someone else is understanding who they are, and how they learn. As developers, we usually only have to convey our ideas to a small group of people, so getting to understand them, is thankfully a lot easier, than having to deal with presentations at a larger scale.

In most cases, we’re only trying to share knowledge with one or two individuals.

One way to understand the person you are sharing knowledge with is to lean against personality profiles. Personally I really like Insights, because it gives us tools to understand people in four overall groups of personality “powers”.

This helps me to quickly identify their way of thinking and know the best approach to delivering ideas to them.

No one is a single color, we all have all the “energies” in us, but some are more dominant than others. For example, a stereotypical software developer tends to be blue colors with a hint of green, since they are very factual, data and fact-driven people, but they also work best with people they trust.

I, myself am dominantly a red personality, meaning that I am fast-paced, I care more about the end-goal than all the small details, which means that the way I learn and understand is usually on a high level, and I don’t care for the very small details. But if I communicate the way I think, then a guy who is predominantly a “blue” type of character, would feel convinced since he would prefer to get all data about a problem and analyze the whole picture, rather than just getting the high-level brief direction as I prefer.

How do I communicate with all colors?

Obviously communicating effectively with someone who is completely opposite to your way of thinking requires a bit of practice, even identifying the other profiles, require some upfront effort of understanding their key differences.

In broad terms, this is how you convince and convey your ideas to the dominant colors.

Fiery red

Fiery red stakeholders will want to get clear on why, how and when – fast! So get your facts straight before you engage and act confidently when you do.

Fiery red is result-driven. They do not like to wait around and do not care for the details. They run on gut feeling, which is why confidence is important.

Cool blue

Cool blue stakeholders will need solid evidence if they’re to change approach, backed up by all the detail you have. Let them look over the evidence in their own time.

Cool blues, do not rush decisions. They want to be absolutely sure that the path they are taking is the right one, and will want all details so they can arrive at the same conclusion as the presenter.

Earth green

Get to know Earth green stakeholders, gain their trust, talk them through your plans and reassure them at every step.

Earth green, are the team players. They run on trust, and team spirit. To convince an earth green person, they need to like you and have a personal relationship with you. It is worth spending the time outside of a presentation telling them about your ideas on a more personal level.

Sunshine yellow

Sunshine yellow stakeholders will love to be inspired and motivated by your vision. Get them on your side and the world is your oyster.

Sunshine yellow loves vision. They have to believe in the overall idea and the direction you are taking. If they believe in you and your vision, they will follow you (almost) blindly.

If you want to know more about personality traits, I have written some more about it in point 9. in 10 tips for conducting code reviews.

You are a trainer!

You are a trainer; you just didn’t know it yet! I hope you are convinced, that even in a normal developer role; if you have ideas then you are a trainer, you are a salesperson, and you need to understand how to present your ideas correctly!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I will write more about:

  • Facilitation vs. presentation
    • What is the best approach for a given topic?
  • Learning styles
    • What learning styles can you bring into play, and how do you use them.
  • Creating content
    • What should I even talk about, and cover in my training?
  • Building a presentation
  • Openings and energizers
  • And much more!

Now go train, sell and spread your ideas!

Where do I get my training and courses?

I am a member of JCI Denmark, where we get training and lectures as part of our membership. I have learned a lot about myself, my colleagues and networking in general in the last year, and I cannot recommend JCI enough.

JCI is a professional network of young active citizens in their 20’s and 30’s, who wish to empower themselves in 4 key areas: Community, Internationally, Personal develop and business.

If you want to know more about JCI International:

If you want to know more about JCI Denmark:

If you want to know more about personality traits, I have written some more about it in point 9. in 10 tips for conducting code reviews.

If you want to know more about the Insights profile, you can visit:

1 Response

  1. Berniece says:

    Superb post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.

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