Melissa Esquibel explains how to bring training back to the office

Many people are told they can go to an event if they promised to teach EVERYBODY about EVERYTHING they have learned. Well, don’t worry. It’s not really what they mean. What they really want to hear about are innovative solutions, new information that can help the office run more smoothly, and strategies that will elevate others at your organization to be better business partners for the people they support.

So, you’ve just left Executive Support Live or headed home from some mind-blowing training with the likes of Vickie Sokol Evans and Bonnie Low-Kramen. You get into the office and your boss asks, “How was it?”

Loudly and with gusto you exclaim, “GREAT!!!!”

After she’s reattached her head, she’s discovered that you’ve scurried back to your desk to set things right that have most certainly gone wrong since you’ve left. Not wanting to disturb, she has bookmarked one or more questions in her mind to ask you later.

  • What did you learn?
  • How can it help us?
  • Is this training worth taking again?
  • Should we send others to this training?

Months later, she remembers. You shuffle through your notes and mumble about this thing and that. The “GREAT” you felt when she first asked has become muddled in the everyday and lost some of its shine. When the time comes around next year to ask to go, will you have brought back enough value for the “yes” to be automatic?

Get Started Before You Arrive

Begin with the justification you used to secure your attendance at the event or class. What did you tell them about it? What value did they perceive upon giving their approval?  Map your materials to these value items as soon as you get them.

While You Are There

As you sit through sessions, take notes specifically on how you would implement the information covered and/or for whom it would be the most beneficial. Be clear about those things you specifically want to cover in your trip report. (Did I mention that you’re writing a trip report?) With this deliverable in mind, you’ll certainly be keeping your ears and eyes open for solutions that will make it more than apparent to the person who paid for you to come that this was a worthwhile investment.

When You Get Back

The best way to convey your passion around what you learned is in person. With your trip report as a guide, prepare a presentation. Ask that not only your boss attend, but others who might find the information you’ve brought back, interesting. Your presentation outline should include some basics about the conference, notable speakers you heard and the type of people with whom you networked. Then, expand on the problems your organization is facing, and the solutions you can provide. Problem, solution, problem, solution, one right after the other. And choose the things about which you can speak enthusiastically. Begin and end with your two strongest points. Finally, your wrap up should include anything you learned about more learning that’s available, recommendations on who else should probably go to training, or why you’d like to go again next year.

Step-by-step Tips for Successful Conference or Training Attendance

  1. Preview the material and tag areas that might address current problems you’re having at the office. You want to begin the conference with your trip report in mind.
  2. Develop a highlight and/or notation scheme, so it is easy to review your notes and prepare your trip report. For example: * might mean solution; ? might mean ask this question of the speaker; $ represents a potential cost savings; @ contact or website link/URL.
  3. If this is a multi-day event, each day for about 15 minutes, do a quick review and make sure you can decipher your notes. If the speakers are still onsite the next day, you could get clarifications. Don’t underestimate the opportunity of having a world-class trainer or speaker available, in person, to answer your questions.
  4. Write your trip report and prepare your presentation as soon as you get back into the office. If you can get in a little early that first day back, do it!
  5. Make your presentation.  Don’t skip this step because you’re nervous about presenting! Presenting in front of people is one of the single best boosts you can give yourself.

Melissa Esquibel, a Microsoft Certified Trainer alumni with over 30 years in business application technology, was in the thick of early business technology innovation when systems were kept in a virtual black box and IT gatekeepers doled out functionality ... (Read More)

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