Turning Subject Matter Experts Into Expert Trainers

It takes more than being a SME (subject matter expert) to be a great trainer. Having information down cold is an important attribute of a good trainer, but it’s just the beginning. Trainers with “the edge” are continuously reading the room, engaging participants, managing time, and checking for knowledge transfer. Here are three areas to consider when selecting people who have potential to be great trainers.

** Attributes of great trainers

Carefully describe the criteria for the type of person who will be a great trainer for your environment.

Obviously, the trainer needs to know the content cold. However, as we say in the training business, you only need to be a few steps ahead of the learner. At the same time, training is not about being the smartest person in the room. Training, or ‘facilitating learning’ is about engaging people and making the content memorable.

Who make the best trainers? It may be tempting to assume that people who don’t enjoy the spotlight will not make great trainers. While it’s true that being comfortable in front of a group is important, great trainers come in all personality types.

What skills or attributes make a great trainer? Here’s a quick checklist:


  • Has good rapport with others
  • Is respected by coworkers and peers
  • Is credible/knowledgeable in their field
  • Has a positive attitude
  • Truly wants to help others shine
  • Is eager to continuously improve their skills as a facilitator of training

** 5 Things Great Trainers Do


1. Are learner-focused. The trainer who is focused on themselves is likely to ‘present’ more than train. The most effective trainers don’t try to be the smartest person in the room. Great trainers pull ideas, questions, and conversation out of participants.

2. Manage time. It takes practice and experience to balance content with time allotted for training. Tangents are the greatest culprit of derailing training, and skilled facilitators learn how to manage various

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