Presentations, Leadership, Companies

Trainers and presenters: fit for purpose or fraud for purpose?

Cathy Shimmin explains how you are not alone feeling imposter syndrome as a trainer – and where help is at hand.

Busker! Fraud! Fake! Imposter! Charlatan! Phoney!

Is this what your inner gremlin is telling you while you are trying your best to be the best trainer and presenter you can be?

Cathy Shimmin explains how you are not alone – and where help is at hand.

I’ve been a trainer, consultant and performance coach in the voluntary sector for about 25 years. I love it, and it is my dream job. Funny though, I didn’t ever dream about it. I didn’t sit in school, staring out of the window, dreaming what it might be like to be a trainer working with charities and community groups. Okay, I did sit in school staring out of the window a lot but never dreaming about this (mind your own business – Bob Marley, just saying). Did you? Not sit in school staring out of the window – that is your own business – but did you ever think “When I grow up, I want to give training courses and/or presentations to people working with charities.”

If you are anything like the hundreds of people who have been on my training skills courses, it’s likely you didn’t. Sometimes you even wonder how this all happened. Did training and presentations just get tagged on to your role somewhere along the line? Or you knew it would probably come to this but now it’s here you’re not convinced you’re the real deal.

It’s a really common thing with trainers and presenters, that feeling that somehow they are just busking it. They are a fraud in the world of ‘real grown-up trainers.’ Similar story with new managers – “I’m just pretending and hoping no-one will notice that I’ve sneaked into this position.” Commonly known as imposter syndrome.

Have a think about some of these things:

  • Learning happens effectively when there are clearly defined learning outcomes shared with participants.
  • The trainer maintains control and credibility in the class when there are agreed ways of working.
  • Trainers and presenters feel more confident when they have done the necessary preparation and anticipation for the talk or class they are about to give.
  • Presenters and trainers who engage their audiences have usually done something more impressive than death by PowerPoint or a laundry list of stats and facts.

If you generally agree with most of the above – yay! – You are not an imposter. These are some of the fundamentals to great training and presentations. You will know and agree with these things because you have experience of when it went well because you paid attention to these things. And probably where it didn’t go so well because you overlooked them and tried to wing it. Congratulations on your new role – you are a Fit for Purpose Presenter/Trainer.

One other thing you will know though – learning is lifelong. We can always raise our game, add innovation and creativity to what has become mundane and develop our skills and knowledge in order to improve our performance. In the work we do as trainers and presenters, helping others to learn or experience something new, this continuous development is vital because of the impact it has on our learners and audiences. If we want them to know why we are a great organisation doing great work or if we are trying to ensure they are proficient and professional in their role, we need to ensure that we are fresh – in knowledge, experience and energy.

If you would like to stay fresh and fit for purpose, a good start is DSC’s upcoming Advanced Training and Presentations skills course. We’ll take a little look at the neuroscience behind learning and think about how that can influence your own content, structure and delivery. We’ll explore ways to get attention and have a greater impact on your audience and, of course, we’ll think about how we remove, once and for all, that imposter feeling.

If this sounds like your next learning step, come and join us for:

The Essential of Presentation Skills (12 November 2019)

Train the Trainer (22-23 April 2020)

We’ll get you ready to avoid the imposter syndrome coming your way.


In-house training: when and where it suits you

Perhaps you are part of a network or team of trainers and presenters and would really benefit from doing this training in house as a group, learning peer to peer. To find out more about how we can offer that, contact me on or 07967 027304.



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