Preparation & planning - the keystones for great instruction.  I have done a fair amount of teaching in business environments.  Most companies don't believe in employee instruction - sad but true.  Many feel it takes away billable hours.  To be successful in teaching in business, you need to be well prepared, really focused, and easily measurable.  Businesses expect an immediate and obvious payback.  Fortunately, we don't have that same challenge.  Your students typically have signed up for your class because they are very interested in learning.  Despite that major difference, it doesn't hurt to use the same discipline that is required for business teaching.

Remember - time is money!  You have a very limited amount of time to cover a great of material.  Take a close look at a typical ACA recommended curriculum - its HUGE!  There is no way you can hope to cover most of the curriculum unless you:

  • Prepare ahead of time:
    • Know your material cold - review the curriculum outline and research any topics new to you.
    • Make spreadsheet with topic timings - start/stop times
    • Rehearse challenging sections
  • During the class:
    • Glance at your watch and the schedule periodically
    • Speed up/slow down as necessary, maintain your schedule
    • Add/subtract content if necessary, be flexible
    • Mark up your schedule with notes and completed items
  • After class:
    • Go back over your notes/checklist.  Did you cover what you planned?
    • Get back to student questions you had to take offline if applicable.
    • Think of follow-up notes.  Suggest future trips/classes they may be interested in.
    • Consider sending a follow-up email if desired.

I also think it is a good idea to provide students with some type written material they can keep.  If you look at most business professional trainers, they have simple student workbooks, CD's, websites, etc.  Students can use these as reference materials later on down the road, long after the class.  In my case, it forces me to periodically review the ACA website curriculum for any changes so I can update my training material.

I typically make a laminated copy of my course outline and keep in my boat.  This makes it easy to refer to and ensures I cover everything.  Checkmarks let me know I have skipped over a topic, perhaps to cover it later in a more favorable location or time.