Guest Post: How to Rid Training of its Negative Connotation

“It’s time for training – so fun!” (said by no one ever). That’s the stark reality of training in today’s businesses, schools, and government entities. It’s boring. It’s long. It’s worse than a plane flight with a screaming toddler.

As a trainer or teacher, I’m sure you’ve heard it all year. “We hate training”, “I can’t believe we have to do this”, “Where are the snacks? That’s the best part.”

Sound familiar? It should.

But, training doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. It doesn’t have to be stale, boring, and mundane. So how do you rid training of its negative connotation? Here’s a 5-step action plan:

1. Set expectations up-front

What are you doing? What are the attendees going to learn? Do they have to bring anything? What about certifications – what’s in it for them? Make sure to set these expectations up-front. That way, attendees know what they’re getting into (much better than being a total “surprise”).

2. Don’t make it an all-day affair

Your employees, teachers, and team members have work to do. An all-day affair puts your team behind. And playing catch-up is only going to make their week more stressful. Make your training a couple hours – maybe over lunch – so that it doesn’t take up their whole day.

3. Take it out of the office

Many offices are stale cubicles. There’s no creative stimulation, and bland is boring. Take your training outside. Maybe go to a park, a conference room overlooking the lake, or rent out a cruise boat. Team training outside is (even though it may be an all-day affair) is a lot better than sitting under fluorescent lights forever.

4. Get feedback

One of the best ways to improve your team training is to get feedback. What did people enjoy? What could have been done better? I’ve left plenty of trainings without the ability to give feedback – and the training hadn’t improved. Here’s a couple of ideas on how to get feedback:

  • Comment cards at the end of the event
  • Follow-up email survey (you can track responses, too)
  • If the group is small, simply ask them directly

If you get not-so-awesome feedback and the attendee has left their email or phone number, call them. You get better feedback and ultimately a better event and training for next time.

5. Reward your employees

No one wants to do something for nothing. There has to be some kind of reward – even if it’s cookies. Seriously, though. A certification or professional education credit works just fine. Make it worth their while to attend. As I’ve already established, your team still has to get their work done.

When it comes to training, it can be tough to make it exciting. With these tips, your employees (and students) can finally look forward to training. They’ll learn something, sure, but at least they’ll enjoy doing it.

How have you made training more exciting at your organization? Let me know in the comments below.

This is a guest post is by Michael Adams , Manager of Account Trajectory at QuizBean, an online quiz maker to help teachers instantly know how they’re students are performing.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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