Strategies for Maintaining Credibility and Learner Trust in the Classroom

Strategies for Maintaining Credibility and Learner Trust in the Classroom

Maintaining trust and credibility in front of any group of learners or students is crucial to your success as a trainer, presenter, educator or facilitator. As with any other environment, if you fail to build and maintain trust, you run the risk of relationship breakdown and lost credibility.

Strategies for Maintaining Credibility and Learner Trust in the Classroom

Since credibility is a mainstay of any professional development or learning event, you should never fall prey to the trap of delivering information that you cannot substantiate. A good reason not to do so is that with the proliferation of technology-based information, someone in your session can quickly summon the data in question and might even challenge you on the spot if you are incorrect.

Strategies for Maintaining Credibility and Learner Trust in the Classroom by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Training Author

If you fail to establish and maintain validity in the eyes of learners, you risk failure of your event and your reputation from the outset.  Unfortunately, many trainers and educators neglect this basic premise and haphazardly use information or quote data without thoroughly double-checking their facts. In doing so, they not only share erroneous and sometimes misleading information, but they also detract from the potential learning outcomes.

Using research to engage learners and provide impact is a great way to encourage learning if you prepare and use the data effectively. Unfortunately, many trainers and others have missed this crucial detail when trying to cite information to their audience or learners. Have you ever been in a presentation or learning event where a trainer, presenter, educator, or facilitator offered statistics preceded with the phrase, “Research has found…?”

“Research has found…?”

If you have experienced this situation and have asked for the citation of that research, you likely heard the standard retort, “I don’t have that with me, but if you’ll contact me after class, I’ll be happy to get that for you.” In my experience, those requests for additional information are often not fulfilled because the session leader has no idea of the original research source and is only parroting something he or she saw in an article or book or heard someone else share.

One of the fastest ways to destroy your credibility or trust with a group of learners is to be caught without substantiating data for statements or claims that you make. This is why, when I do trainer and staff development programs, I stress the need for including a reference page in lesson plans or notes. On that page, detailed citations for books, articles, studies, and other data that will be used during the program should be listed so that there is a ready response to questions from participants.

Try this strategy yourself and you will be less likely to get caught with your facts down!

Learn This Blogger – Robert W. Lucas

Robert W. Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert. He specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Furthermore, he has four decades of experience in human resources development, management, and customer service in a variety of organizational environments. Robert Lucas was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Robert W. Lucas has lived, traveled, and worked in 28 different countries and geographic areas. During the past 40 years, Bob has shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations, such as Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Martin Marietta, all U.S. military branches, and Wachovia Bank. In addition, Bob has provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. To contact Bob visit his website at or his blog