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Dominic Valentine

Dominic Valentine

Training Manager

Read more from Dominic Valentine

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Fail to Plan B -Plan to fail


Fail to Plan B,C or D - Plan to Fail!

A variant on the planning mantra! But a back up or contingency plan is essential in the fast moving and ever changing circumstances that can hit you at any moment in training delivery. Here's a analysis of situations over a two year period where a mixture of "thinking on my feet", nervous energy and edge of the seat creative thinking was at its peak for me. Have you ever had to resort to a Plan B, C to Z??

Too many or too few participants - I have delivered to one person when I was expecting twelve! I have been told there will be "about twenty William" and 250 plus have sauntered in(Lambeth 2011). Plan B included huge changes to scheduled "talk and chalk" and"workshop/group" sessions.

Participants arriving by instalments because of dodgy weather or traffic conditions - new plans included extra "coffee catch up" breaks and (deft move) getting the others to provide a concise briefing,with input from me

Equipment going wrong - especially the laptop/projector. Thank god for flipcharts!

Cheese, cheese and more damn cheese - caterers literally overegging the pudding with a lunch that's based on the assumption that everyone is vegan or a vegetarian. Challenging but usually inserting extra time to visit a local sandwich bar does the trick

Food, glorious food - related to the foregoing. Starter,main course, dessert on some courses. It takes 90 minutes to eat. Saps energy after lunch (a graveyard slot at the best of times) and cuts into your programme. Plan B includes tweaking the timetable and high energisers with animated discussions after the meal.

Materials not available -the stuff you have posted in advance is either locked in a cupboard and/or can only be accessed at 1130 when "Mary arrives". Obviously, a master file copy of the material should always be strapped to your back.Venue organisers are usually happy, if it's their fault, to copy the critical material you need before Mary arrives

What's your experience?

2 Responses

  1. Yup, it all sounds familiar…

    Only last week a client insisted they wanted to go ahead with a course with only two delegates. Needless to say, come the day, one was off sick and one was on holiday.

    Delivering Presentation Skills is a bit of a *** when only two people show up too.

    Other memorable flying by seat of pants moments: Being given very inappropriate Executive Job Search materials for manual workers; discovering at the last minute that two delegates are profoundly deaf, and will be bringing two signers and two note takers each – that's 8 extra people to fit in the room; Having the Chief Exec turn up to take part- didn't worry me but stunned the delegates into silence… I could go on and on…

    I'm guessing the inflexible trainer is extinct!

  2. Great case studies!

    Thanks Jules – yes I think you are right -inflexibility is out,always has been really!

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Dominic Valentine

Training Manager

Read more from Dominic Valentine

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