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Five tips for training delivery nerves

In this blog post, Brian O'Hara, senior coordinator for Learning and Development at Alcohol Focus Scotland shares his top five tips for tackling nerves while delivering training.

This month sees Mental Health Awareness Week running from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May 2019. Mental Health is a subject quite close to my heart, having had a few brushes myself with anxiety throughout my career. Not very helpful when it comes to delivering training which can already be quite nerve racking.

Here are my 5 tips for delivery nerves

1. Some nerves are actually good!

I’ve lost count now of how many hours of training I’ve delivered but I still get a little nervous before each and every session. This can actually be a good thing. They give your body a boost of adrenaline that can help you kick off your session with energy and keep you going throughout.

 

2. Remember: You’re the trainer

I’ve worked with a lot of new trainers and one of the biggest things they get nervous about is missing something out – particularly when it comes to key legislative or organisational training. The thing to keep in mind is that you are the trainer. You have all the materials and know what is to be delivered. Your participants don’t. If you do miss something out, find a suitable spot to drop it in later. Highlight or have your own notes to ensure you cover the salient points. Don’t be afraid to refer to your notes. It looks far better when you take the time to share the correct information with your participants. In time, you’ll memorise what you need to deliver and rely less and less on your notes.

 

3. Get Physical

If you don’t have Olivia Newton-John’s song “Physical” in mind already, try giving it a listen to remember this tip.

Move around while you’re delivering. It helps to get rid of some of that nervous energy as well as keeping your participants focused.

Smile. Smiling is a natural relaxant and helps to send positive chemicals into the body.

Talk more slowly than you typically would and leave some long pauses in there too. This slower pace will help calm you down as well as making you easier to hear and give your participants time to absorb what you’ve shared. Pauses can be quite powerful in training, coaching and mentoring.

 

4. Breathe

That boost of adrenaline will cause you to breathe shallowly, sometimes giving you a tremor in your voice. Make a conscious effort to breathe deeply throughout.

 

5. Make sure you’re fed and watered

Drink water. I can’t stress that enough. Adrenaline makes your mouth dry which can cause you problems. If you’re moving around a lot as I recommended above, you’re also going to sweat with the potential for dehydration – particularly on those hot summer days. The resulting symptoms can also cause you problems. Keep water handy and have regular sips.

When I first started delivering training I was amazed by how much energy it took. More so when you start getting into delivering two or more days in a row. I’d often skip lunches and find myself flagging toward the end of the session, more often than not with a splitting headache. Take every chance you can to keep your body stocked up with energy. A good oatmeal breakfast. A banana or an apple here and there. Green tea or coffee and so on.

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