Three key basics any trainer needs to nail

Want to master the art of being a trainer? An expert tells the three fundamentals that will set you up for success.

There are three key basics any trainer needs to nail, whether they’re presenting live or virtually.

The first is trainer stance.

I stand with my feet slightly apart and my fingers curled in slightly. Even though I’m standing, it’s my hands which are the most important body part here.

You want to touch your legs lightly the whole time. Touch your legs with your index finger. This is how you train yourself to do trainer stance. If you don’t have that contact with your legs your hands will start to move.

And you won’t even know. If you’re flapping, you also won’t be totally aware of the audience. Someone could leave and you wouldn’t know.

Give it a go, and practise it until it feels natural and normal to stay inside trainer stance, and not tempted to move your hands.

The next thing is expanded awareness.

That’s not being being aware of the thing that’s in front of you but filtering in everything in your periphery holding at minimum a 180 degree field of awareness.

So a lot of the time in a training someone will hold a very small percentage of awareness. As I am looking at the camera which is my single point of focus I have two screens of Zoom and I can see movement in my awareness.

Outside of that I have another three screens.

If I am in my 180, I notice the audience when they move and that helps them know I am aware of you and present to you.

On Zoom I am present to the faces I can see. There’s 50 faces at a time and we cycle through them. It’s a little bit different to being in a room.

In my expanded awareness I might see someone writing, someone on the phone, someone fixing their glasses or playing with their hair. I’m aware of what else is happening at the same time.

This is very important from a facilitation point of view because, say, for example, you want the audience to get what you’re talking about, and someone does a little wave. You see it, and can respond, ‘Did you have a question or do you want to share?’ and that enables me to present with every single person in the room.

Okay, now to up time.

Up time is when you look up to be able to access the unconscious mind.

It helps us remember stuff better than looking down or to the side.

When you look down that’s usually how you access your emotions. If you’re nervous and think, ‘damn, I forgot where I am’. If you look down you’ll feel the feelings more. If you look sideways, you access sound.

Look up and you are in the world of visual accessing. There’s less emotion there and visual recall is how we remember stuff.

Look up, you’re more likely to go back to content you’ve prepared.


One of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend

Matt Lavars life coaching
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute