Reading Time: 2 minutes

What does every teacher, trainer, presenter, pitch-maker, manager, team-leader, politician, musician and actor have in common?

The best ones know how to read the room.

If the trainers working for your organisation don’t spend the first 10-15 minutes of every class they teach doing this, then you’ve got a problem and so have they.

Your organisation’s problem is that training is being delivered ‘one-size-fits-all’. What else can be expected, if your trainers aren’t weighing up each and every learner? And if they aren’t making smart, timely decisions about how to adjust lesson plans, teaching tempo, level of detail, exercises and language to give a great learning experience?

Your trainers’ problem is they might be in the wrong business and if they’re not carfeul the ground is going to shift under their feet. What training provider is going to live long and prosper if its trainers think learning happens when you read out your slides, finish on time, sign everyone in and out? Learners know this – they are more demanding than ever.

Reading the room is basic stuff. It’s lesson one, session one, of How to Teach. It gets harder to do when learners are more diverse, when trainers are unmotivated, when too much content is crammed into too little time. But there is never a good reason not to do it.

Reading the room goes unnoticed when it’s done well. It looks like the small talk made as learners arrive, roundtable introductions, ice-breakers and group discussions when the course starts. Through all of this, the best trainers are watching, listening, hearing, assessing, deciding – all at once, and 10-15 minutes into a course they know how they are going to adapt, which slides stay hidden, which exercises to run, which learners they will use to help engage the others, and who they are going to have work harder on to make sure they don’t fall behind.

This requires skill, attitude and genuine interest from trainers. And it requires a planned and continuous approach to professional development, from both the trainer and the organisation they work for.  Our inspection teams are always looking for evidence of this and we don’t always find it.

Reading the room is a litmus test every training organisation should make sure its trainers can pass.

This is one of five essential ways to improve compulsory training/licensing programmes that CAS has identified through its monitoring and inspection contracts – read more about them here.