I have been lucky enough to do some personal development recently which is always good for a number of reasons some of which I would like to share with you.
As a professional trainer it is good to be on the receiving side of a training session for a change & to sit back & reflect on the information that you are being given. Reflecting is a key part of our learning process and something we perhaps don’t value enough in our busy lives. So a key learning point for me was to take some time out each day, maybe 10 mins to look back on what I have done & to consider ‘what went well’ and ‘what could I do better next time’.
One of the biggest issues for me during one of the sessions I have attended recently was the complete lack of involvement by the learners, I was one of about 300!! So practically it had to be a lecture style of delivery. So do you learn in those situations ? Well, yes you do get to know new stuff but the presenter (who thankfully was good) had no idea about my learning & cannot deal with any questions that I may have had. Neither was there an opportunity to practice or measure the learning, so the training cycle was not completed. This is very difficult to prove value for money when you have to consider return on investment.
Also if your audience is bigger than 12 you need to ensure you are engaging in your delivery style, punchy in messages & to add in small activities that could be done by the delegates in 2’s or 3’s. It is important to keep everyone engaged and to check learning which you cannot do with such a huge number of people.
If you know you are going to have such large numbers then plan effectively what the delegates are going to do after your session in smaller groups, in my case our subject area groups. The key point about this was that the instructions have to be clear because as soon as you let 300 ‘get into groups’ and meet in a different venue they have to be organised!! Clear communication is vital here and if not done properly a lot of time could be lost causing the delegates to lose the initiative & enthusiasm generated by the speaker, and if you are really careless you could easily lose some delegates in the process!!
Finally for now is the need at all large gatherings of people, be it for training or a meeting, an effective signing in process and the issuing of name badges. The former sets the tone for the day and if not done alphabetically or by department causes a great deal of confusion and impacts on the clarity of the records. Issuing name badges at events or ensuring you have one of you own is another great lesson for me…it makes it so much easier to strike up a conversation with a total stranger if at least you can say ‘hello’ without feeling stupid – a key point to encourage great networking in any gathering of people.
So personal development is vitally important for everyone to ensure they keep their ‘saw sharpened’ and next time I will tell you some more insights I have gained from the development I have done recently.
Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth