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Make Training Count: Plan Ahead

Continuing my series, Make Training Count: 10 Tips to Increase ROI, here is my third tip:
Make sure to plan ahead.

The power of having someone come to a session with a checklist and/or a summary of goals they have for learning is powerful. Knowing they sat with their manager to create this list is even more so. (And as a facilitator – I love it!)

As mentioned in my previous post, the success or failure of your training session is often determined well before the participants come to the learning event. One way to ensure success is to prepare (plan ahead). This includes preparing everything and everyone involved – the learning environment, you as trainer, the participants and the participants’ managers.

 How should you help prepare the participants and their managers for the training session?

Pre-session assignments are a great way to get participants ready for the learning event and can also save some time in the event itself. The assignments should be brief, for example, have participants read a relevant article, or request that they bring a sample process flow/document or complete a self-assessment.

As for managers, in a perfect world (and yes, this does happen!) the managers of the individuals invited to attend the training should sit down prior to the session and discuss what the session is about, why they are being asked to participate and how the training is connected to their jobs. They should also discuss and agree upon what they expect the participants to gain from attending the session.

In the real world, this does not happen as often as we’d like it to. And while trainers can’t force managers to have this pre-training session, they can increase the possibility by providing managers with some tools to simplify the process. A simple checklist that includes the key components of this type of manager-participant discussion, such as training objectives; the WIIFM (what’s in it for the participant); benefits to the team, organization and customer; and what will happen in terms of follow up after the training, can go a long way to enabling communication.

In case you missed them, here are tips one and two.  Check back Thursday for tip number four.