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Dominic Valentine

Dominic Valentine

Training Manager

Read more from Dominic Valentine

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Join the training BEFORE the training?


Join the training BEFORE the training?

Joining instructions to attend a training course can sometimes be accompanied with a request for the invitee to read a policy,complete a short personality type questionnaire or undertake a simple assignment. I have often been asked by clients to do one or more of these things and/or have suggested doing so.

Another variation which I have used successfully on a widely differing range of training courses has been to ask people to bring something specific to the event. An exhibit. Something specific that can be used in work shop discussions and as a standing "exhibition" throughout the proceedings. Once used on a course by a participant, you simply mount the exhibit on a board or wall at the back of the training room.The take up response to bring an exhibit is usually very high and more so when reinforced by managers.

Here are some examples.

1.In Winchester before a Customer Care course,I asked people to bring anything that either illustrated good or bad practice.Some brought letters of praise or the reverse from customers/clients,posters on a particular initiative and examples from the Sunday Times Top lists in service excellence
2.For an employment/equality course in Blackpool, I threw out a challenge in the joining instructions. "Pick up today's newspapers, look at television news,listen to a radio programme or go surfing(anything!). I guarantee that there will be five,six, seven and even more items relating to discrimination at work or unfair dismissal.Bring examples for our training work together which we can include in our small group discussions and wider debate
3.In effective communication courses I ask people to bring along stunning examples of application forms/instruction manuals written in plain language AND any they have come across which require an understanding of logarithm rules or a degree in jargon!

These "exhibits" do become a focal point for discussion in break out groups, during breaks and as a reference throughout the day or days of training.It's especially powerful if you are running back to back courses with people witnessing the contributions made by previous participants and that in itself can generate some fresh debate or insight.

Have you asked people to join the training before they arrive? Why not share your ideas here?

9 Responses

  1. Suggestion
    Only a suggestion but a Welcome Pack is more welcoming than Joining Instructions.

  2. Join the training BEFORE the training?

    That's really FANTASTIC idea, I used that techniques specially for programs that require people to practice more like, presentations skills, report writing, or HR, I asked participants to plan to deliver 5 minutes presentations, design a questionnaire to distribute on day 1, design a job advertisement or job application form, or answer a quiz. It's really a very good way of preparing their minds before stepping-in, I highly support this idea and looking forward to be more creative in doing this.

  3. a welcome pack is more “welcoming” but…….

    …sounds rather nicer, fluffier and more reactive than, "BTW folks, this isn't one of those courses where you turn up, enjoy the free lunch and then go home….you are going to have to work and that means starting now; by doing the following  ………before the course starts!"

    I reckon that the idea is to get people in the "right" frame of mind for the course!


  4. E Mails
    I find bombarding them with daily e mails for 2 weeks before the course works particularly well.

  5. Customer service

    For customer service training, I ask delegates to rate 3 customer experiences on criteria which I provide and then bring that to the course. It gets them thinking about the subject from a customer point of view prior to attending. 

  6. Customer Service

    Yes we've done that Sue and invariably the brickbats outnumber the bouquets. People invariably remember the bad customer experience AND often do not confine themselves to bringing the three you mention! We had chapter and verse from one person on five incidents but I suspected therein was a serial litigant!!  But it is a very powerful exercise and I am sure you have found it threads in well with the training narrative on the day itself





  7. Control

    That's very true Dominic, but I control that when on the course and the fact that they remember the bad rather than the good (or they're easier to find!) is a learning point in itself. The one thing it does highlight is that customer service is all about how you're treated and that comes across very powerfully on this exercise.

  8. Control

    Yes management of the whole process is key and you do see the eureka moment amongst the cohort with the learning points

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Dominic Valentine

Training Manager

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