It’s funny how what one person thinks is obvious is a blinding flash of inspiration to someone else . . . that’s why I thought I’d share the 6 Questions I always ask myself about any training I give or attend.
Time is the ONE thing we can’t get more of . . . it’s a limited resource so it’s important to use it – invest it – wisely. We’ve all seen the course junkies who attend everything but don’t implement a thing and make no real changes in their lives or businesses.
I determined long ago that I wouldn’t be one of them. So I started asking myself some questions before, during and after signing up for/attending any training. These questions work for training you’re required to attend (or supposed to go to – for work, etc) and for the ones you actively choose to attend (self selection). They work for online and offline training. The order you ask them in is less important than asking them.
I hope they help you – they have definitely helped me – and clients I’ve shared them with.
(With thank to Rudyard Kipling and his ‘six honest serving men’ – they’ve served me well too!)
- Why sign up for/attend training?
Why do I want to do this? Is it useful, relevant and does it fit with my goals? Or is it just a shiny penny that’s caught my eye? Is it FOMO (a wonderful acronym and great for me to ask myself – is this all about a Fear of Missing Out). Or does it really offer value that is right for me and will help move me forward.
- What do I want to get out of it?
What’s my purpose – what do I think/believe/hope it’s going to give me? I’m startled by how many people attend training without having a clear purpose or outcome in mind. Turning up does not = results. (I should know, I bought every fitness video known to man in the 1980s … and I only broke into a sweat if I put them on and did the workouts – unless you count The Chippendales one!)
- Who will this help?
Is this to help me – will it improve my skills, knowledge or understanding. Or is it something that I want to do to add value to my clients or team? It’s particularly exciting for me if it ticks both boxes. You can see, I’m expecting to get value, now I want to drill down into WHO is going to get the value.
- How can I use it in my business?
The selfish gene is kicking in . . . and the practical one – a winning combo if ever there was one! It’s pretty pointless attending any training unless you plan to do something different after you’ve done it. Is there a new, smarter, better, more efficient way of doing something? Great . . . so how am I going to do the most important part of training . . . implementation? Give this some thought and I would always recommend blocking out follow up/review/action time in your diary AFTER the training.
Again, I’m horrified by how many people rush off at the end of a course without really reviewing their notes and integrating the learning. I’m typically last to leave as I’m reviewing, highlighting the key things putting big red asterisks all over the things that I need to action first. And I block time out to make sure at least some of that happens quickly. That’s another chance to review my notes and action points.
- Where can this be applied to improve something?
This links with number 4 for me. This is where I open my mind and think ‘how can I apply this?’ and ‘where can I apply this?’ – specifically, which areas of my business and life. There’s alway an obvious way but if you take a little time to dig a bit deeper, there’s ‘gold in them thar hills’ . . . new learnings can be applied in different areas of our businesses. So spot the ‘surface’ place to implement and then look again and ask yourself ‘where else could this help?’. Most people don’t.
- When am I going to implement this?
Oh this is the big one . . . and this is where the ‘I attended the training’ people who’ve ticked the box but not seen the investment of time in the bigger context, lose out. For me, it’s at the end of the training session where I take a few minutes to review my notes and check the highlighted areas. I turn them into an Action List and then start adding dates to those actions. The next step is to drop them into your diary/calendar.
This is the biggest challenge for me . . . when I’ve got some great value from a training session I know that I need to revisit it several times to help make it stick, and to implement the changes I’m after. (Back to number 1 again here).
I had a great book years ago that had an article on ‘The Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting’ – a technical term that’s always stuck in my mind. The general principle was that we come out of a training room knowing much more than when we went in. The DANGER is that we don’t review the learning so we lose it . . . it’s never really been integrated. The OPPORTUNITY is to review those notes in a systematic way to increase your knowledge and understanding beyond what you left the room with.
So . . . my recommendation is:
* Ask yourself these questions – before, during and after training
* Review your notes – at the end of the training, after 1 day, 1 week, 1 month and 1 quarter to really lock it in
* Block time out in your diary for implementation
. . . and enjoy the training. Make it pay, make it count, make it an investment of your valuable time.