If you’ve ever thought about becoming a corporate trainer or training specialist, you may wonder what a typical day would look like. Part of the allure of becoming a trainer is that there isn’t really a “typical” day. You might be prepping for a software skills course one day and facilitating a sales class the next. There is a lot of variety!
Being a corporate trainer can be exciting, fun, fulfilling, interesting, influential and inspiring. It can also involve long hours, sore feet and feeling exhausted.
To illustrate what you might experience in a corporate training position, I’ll put you in the shoes of a trainer in a sort of “day in the life” using various examples from my own career.
Rise and shine!
You are teaching the new employee orientation today. You’ve taught it a few times and are looking forward to it. It’s going to be a big class (around 50) so you know it will be important to get in early to set up.
You eat a quick breakfast, grab a coffee to go and you’re out the door by 6:15.
The class starts at 8 but you like to get there at least an hour early. Given that it’s such a large class, you actually might have liked to have gotten in sooner, but you should be fine.
The next 30 – 40 minutes will be the last bit of real peace you’ll have until you go to bed that night so you like to savor it. You make a coffee and get to work with the room set up.
The seating in this room is auditorium style so you don’t have to mess with that.
You fire up your laptop and connect it to the projector. You open up your PowerPoints one by one so they are ready to go. You also queue up the music you are going to play as people begin to enter.
Next, you need to hang up several flip chart pages for an activity later.
The first person arrives. Drat! You’re still hanging flipcharts. So much for your “peace and quiet” time!
You cheerfully greet them and let them know the class will be starting at 8 and that they are welcome to hang out here or, if they want to go grab a Starbucks across the street or something, they can.
Of course, they stay. <Sigh>
7:40 – 8:00 AM
Participants are filing in. Music is playing, a welcome slide is up on the screen. You greet people as they enter and let them know to sit anywhere in the center section. (It’s a pretty big meeting room/auditorium. If you don’t tell people, you know from experience that they will sit as far away as possible from you.)
A couple of participants approach you about parking issues they had. You tell them to see you after class and you’ll get them taken care of.
You notice there are still a couple of people missing but you want to stay on track so you kick off with an enthusiastic welcome to the new employees.
8:05 – 8:45 Am
One of the missing people comes in looking sheepish while you are welcoming the class. Another comes during the icebreaker.
This is pretty normal. People get lost, wake up late, etc… You don’t give them a hard time. Just welcome them and keep going.
The icebreaker goes over very well as usual. You got some laughs as you debriefed and you can tell they are warming up.
You introduce some company history as a segue to a video. Upon starting the video, you realize you haven’t seen your first guest speaker yet (one of the company VPs). Presenters know to be there early so you are a little concerned.
You quietly leave the room to check your email and…sure enough…there is a note from 30 minutes ago letting you know that the VP got pulled into something and won’t be able to make it until later in the morning.
Normally, one of the company leaders comes in to give a company overview and welcome after the history video. Looks like you are going to have to improvise today, though.
You debrief the history video and continue as if nothing is out of the ordinary. You give the class a 15 minute break so you can gather your thoughts and plan how you want to handle the missing VP.
Of course, during the break, a couple of the participants have some questions for you. You cheerfully answer them and do some quick timing calculations.
You decide to move one of your sections on safety to the VP Welcome slot.
9:15 am – 12:15 pm
You kick off the safety section as if that is what always happens. About half way into it, you notice the VP entering the room. Her meeting must have finished a little early.
You give her a nod and then make a semi-smooth segue to introduce her…something about how company leadership will support you in maintaining the safety of our employees and customers…and speaking of leadership…!
You get the proper slides up on the screen and give her the floor.
As usual, the leader welcome goes over very well. You thank the VP and continue.
For most of the morning, things go pretty smoothly.
One of your presenters, though, in spite of being told more than once to stick to the hour he has, still went over his allotted time. As tactfully as possible, you let him know to wrap up but he has already cut into the scheduled lunch time.
After he finishes, you once again smile as if everything is going as planned and let the class know they have 45 minutes for lunch which is provided for them. Usually, they’d have an hour but it really isn’t the end of the world.
12:15 pm – 1:00 Pm
You spend about 20 – 30 minutes making sure there is enough food for everyone and letting the participants get their lunches before you do. You also answer several questions for people.
Once you determine it’s “safe”, you go ahead and grab your lunch and sit down with some of the participants. Most have already finished eating.
You eat as fast as you can without looking like a total pig. It’s a very fine line.
At about five minutes before you need to start up again, you quickly duck out to do a quick email check. You want to make sure there are no afternoon surprises.
Thankfully, it’s pretty standard fare.
1:00 pm – 4:00 Pm
The afternoon goes smoothly.
There is only one guest presenter and they show up on time. They even finish up a little early which gives you some breathing room.
You spend most of the time covering customer service and facilitating various activities to reinforce what you’ve taught.
The group is pretty receptive and seems to have a good grasp on what is expected.
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
At 4:00, the scheduled end time, you wrap up the day. You remind the class that they will be back tomorrow for a half day before then going to their areas to work. A couple of people say they don’t know where they are working and don’t know where to go.
Your head says: What the… ??? How do you get hired for a job and not know what it is??? Are you kidding me???
What you say out loud: Just see me after class and we will get it straightened out.
Most of the class leaves after that.
Your parking issue people approach you and you give them a token that will allow them to get out of the parking lot. You make a note of who got tokens so you can let HR know.
For the couple of people who don’t know where to report, you tell them to hang out for a couple of minutes while you make some phone calls.
You have their information on the roster and get in touch with their respective supervisors. You come back and let them know when and where they are supposed to report. They thank you and leave.
You make another note for HR to pass along the info that these people had not been given the info of where to report. Or maybe they had and just didn’t remember or pay attention. Either way, it’s something you want to track in order to help make sure it doesn’t happen again. (even though it will)
Now that you have everyone taken care of, you walk around the room and pick up the trash that people left all over in spite of you asking at the beginning to not leave trash.
Next, you take down the activity flip chart papers people had worked on throughout the day and put up new ones that will be used tomorrow.
Finally, you close out all of the presentations on your laptop and power it down. You then make sure to turn off the projector and lights of the room.
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Before you head out for the night, you check your email one more time. You answer a couple of them pertaining to a new class you will be teaching later in the week. Your mind drifts to all of the preparation that still needs to happen for that. Never mind that now, though. First, you need to get through day two of the orientation.
You are exhausted and your feet hurt. Overall, though, it was a good day. You know you made 50 people’s first day of work a fun and memorable one which you are very glad for.
So, there you go! A day in the life of a corporate trainer!
As you can imagine, this is just a small sampling of how a day could look.
You might be training on something totally different: software, leadership skills, customer service, sales processes, safety protocols, government regulations…
You may also have varying lengths of training times, days and modalities: one hour live webinar, half day classroom class, week long training in a different city…
Hopefully, you at least have a better understanding about what you may encounter as a training professional.
For more information about corporate training and becoming a corporate trainer see these other articles: