developUs Blog

August 8, 2023 in Blog

SME’s Who Train and Why They Shouldn’t

As an employee development firm, our mission at developUs Worldwide is to help leaders become better leaders and teams become better teams. We believe in providing people solutions to solve the most pressing challenges faced by businesses today. One aspect of our work involves leveraging Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to deliver training. However, based on the results of a recent LinkedIn poll, we have discovered two significant challenges when SMEs deliver training: too much content (46%) and bad delivery of content (46%).

In this blog post, we will explore these challenges and provide suggestions to improve both aspects of training.

The Challenge of Too Much Content

One of the primary issues learners face when an SME delivers training is an overwhelming amount of content. SMEs, by nature, possess a deep understanding of their subject matter, and they often feel compelled to share everything they know. While their expertise is valuable, bombarding learners with excessive information can lead to cognitive overload, hindering their ability to retain and apply the knowledge effectively.

Are you an SME and need help to adopt a more strategic approach to training delivery? Here are some valuable suggestions to consider:

Suggestion 1: Focus on Learning Objectives

To overcome the challenge of too much content, SMEs should prioritize and focus on the essential learning objectives. Before designing the training, they should clearly define what learners need to know and what skills they should acquire by the end of the session. This way, SMEs can structure the content around these objectives, ensuring a more targeted and impactful learning experience.

Suggestion 2: Chunk the Content

Breaking down the content into smaller, manageable chunks is another effective strategy. Chunking allows learners to process information more easily and enhances their ability to retain knowledge. SMEs can use various instructional techniques, such as grouping related concepts together, using bullet points, and employing visual aids to make the content more digestible.

Suggestion 3: Prioritize Interactivity

To keep learners engaged and facilitate better understanding, SMEs should incorporate interactive elements into the training. This can include quizzes, case studies, group discussions, and hands-on activities. By actively involving learners in the learning process, SMEs can enhance knowledge retention and application.

The Challenge of Bad Delivery of Content

The poll results also highlight that 46% of learners struggle when SMEs deliver training due to bad delivery of content. Delivering training is not just about sharing knowledge; it requires effective communication and presentation skills to engage and captivate the audience. Do your knees still shake when you have to give presentations?

Suggestion 1: Invest in Training for SMEs

To improve the delivery of content, organizations should invest in training for their SMEs. While SMEs possess subject matter expertise, they may not have the necessary facilitation and communication skills to be effective trainers. Providing them with training in instructional design, public speaking, and facilitation techniques can significantly enhance their training delivery capabilities.

Suggestion 2: Use Professional Facilitators

In situations where SMEs might not be the best fit to deliver the training, organizations should consider using professional facilitators. These facilitators are skilled in delivering engaging and impactful training sessions and can bring a fresh perspective to the learning experience.

Suggestion 3: Gather Feedback and Continuously Improve

Feedback is critical in improving the training delivery process. Encourage learners to provide honest feedback on the training sessions. Analyzing this feedback can help identify areas for improvement and allow for continuous refinement of the training approach.

In all three of these suggestions, we are the experts and happy to sit down and have a conversation.


Subject Matter Experts play a crucial role in delivering training, but they must address the challenges of too much content and bad delivery of content to ensure effective learning experiences. By focusing on learning objectives, chunking content, and incorporating interactivity, SMEs can create more targeted and impactful training sessions. Investing in training for SMEs or utilizing professional facilitators can also enhance the delivery of content and engagement of learners.

At developUs Worldwide, we believe in delivering solutions that work for people, leaders, and strategy. Our expertise in custom training design, assessments, coaching, and leadership development programs allows us to provide tailored solutions for businesses around the world. By partnering with us, organizations can unlock their employees’ potential, drive performance improvement, and achieve their business goals.

What are your thoughts?  I look forward to your comments below!

The information in this blog post is based on internal research and the LinkedIn poll conducted by developUs Worldwide.

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