Beating Training Nerves

We hear a lot about people wanting to undergo training, but being nervous about taking the dive back into the classroom, whether it be a real one, or a virtual one.

There’s a number of reasons why you might be feeling anxious about attending your course, even if it’s one you’ve wanted to take for a while. Maybe it’s been a long time since you were in an education setting, and the idea of a formal exam daunts you, you might be just out of university, about to attend your first professional training and unsure about what to expect. For many people, it can just be nerve-wracking to spend some time outside of the work setting they find comfortable, away from their colleagues and being expected to contribute in front of a group of new people.

In this blog, we’ll try to cover the main reasons for nerves – what to expect on your training course, some back-to-basics exam techniques and how to get over your sudden imposter syndrome.

1. What to Expect

If it’s your first time on a training course, or it’s just been a while since you’ve attended one, let’s set your expectations.

Your course will have 4 – 12 delegates and, of course, one trainer. When you arrive (either at the course venue or in your Zoom meeting room), you’ll have some time to introduce yourself, learn where everyone comes from and read through the day’s agenda.

Introduce Yourself

Even the introductions around the room can feel daunting if you’re not really into speaking publicly but remember, lots of people feel like this and there will be others who are also nervous. Often the trainer will ask people to say their name, where they come from and what they do work-wise. Just make a few bullet points of what you want to say and refer to them when it’s your turn.

It’s also good when in a classroom setting, to jot down the names of people and where they are sitting – almost like a table map.

Feeling Comfortable

You also have to remember that your trainer is trained to make sure everyone is settled and in the right frame of mind to learn – and if you need to, at any time – let your trainer know if you’re struggling, believe me, they want you to have the best experience and will work hard to make that happen.

Organising Your Space

Each person has a different approach to how they learn. Some delegates arrive with a pencil case, have all their pens lined up

ready to go, name card is beautifully written with an extra flourish like a flower or smiley face.

They have thought about how they want to take notes throughout the course – using their own notebooks; the course materials, a laptop or tablet (and made sure they’re plugged in!)

It’s the same in the virtual environment too – their desk has been decluttered; there is enough room for any course texts alongside the PC or laptop.

Taking the time to set up your space can not only calm your nerves, but help you adjust to the right mindset for learning!

2. Exam Technique

Make the most out of your practice papers!

During your course it is likely that you will be provided with a practice paper for each section of the course. Make sure you do these questions during the course, and at least give them a go before the exam.

This will provide you with information about your strengths and weaknesses in the course content and will help you with your revision.

It will also get you familiarised with the exam style and format. This is important as in some instances it can take a few goes to understand how the questions are worded and how to pick the right answer.

The P3O Practitioner paper is a great example of this. Questions in this paper may ask you to identify the most correct answer and in your choice of answers there maybe 2 or 3 answers that are all correct. So practicing can help you get used to this and help you understand the best way to answer.

Read The Questions!

This may seem a very obvious part of exam technique, but it is arguably one of the most important pieces of advice for those sitting exams – especially if you suffer from nerves!

Take the time before you start answering questions to focus on the words in front of you, understand what each question is asking of you, understand the exam structure, and even boost your confidence by identifying which questions you are comfortable answering first.

These few seconds can allow you to not only focus on your exam, but also your breathing – hopefully calming your nerves!

3. Imposter Syndrome

Focus on the value you bring – not being the best!

The first thing to address is that up to 70% of people experience imposter syndrome at some point of their career. (Sakulku & Alexander, 2011) There’s a good chance you’re not the only one feeling this way!

It can be disheartening to compare yourself to others, especially when you are stuck in the imposter syndrome rut in which you may feel incapable compared to those around you.

When working in groups, focus on the value you can add to discussions – perhaps you have an area of knowledge others are less informed on, or a skill that you can teach others. Use your varying experience levels to enrich your learning – not dampen the experience.

Vocalise your feelings

As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. Share how you’re feeling with your fellow delegates, or even your trainer. Professional training should be a positive experience for all involved – other delegates may feel reassured if they share your nerves, and your trainer wants you to be engaged and actively enjoying your learning! Addressing your feelings can take a weight off your chest, and help everyone create a great learning environment.

What are your best tips for beating training nerves? Let us know below!

Sources Referenced:

Sakulku, J. and Alexander, J., ‘The Imposter Phenomenon’, International Journal of Behavioural Science, 2011, 6 (1), pp. 73 – 92.

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