Let’s talk about key workplace and life skills to achieve your goals. Now, learn how to extend training.
A couple of years ago, my father was doing volunteer work in Haiti. As a seasoned business professional with experience in coaching entrepreneurs, he offered to host a seminar for people that wanted to start their own small business.
The seminar turned to be quite popular and went over well, so he decided he was ready to move on to other volunteer activities.
In preparing to return to Haiti recently, he was asked if he would do a follow-up session. That first seminar had gotten people going, and some of them had started small businesses, but now they needed to know what to do next:
- How do you keep it growing?
- What are the challenges you face next?
One version of the old saying goes, “Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.” But that always leaves out the next step: When the student comes back and says, “Well, that was pretty good advice, but now tell me what to do with the fish!”
All too often, we look at training as something that has to be done to check off an item on a work plan. The project plan or awareness campaign isn’t done until that training session is complete. We finish it, and then we’re done.
In that mindset, however, we’re only providing Fishing 101.
Going Beyond Initial Training
Think about what sort of training someone might ask for next:
- What comes next? – How do I turn a fish into a nice meal? Or, how do I store it? Also, now that I’ve caught all these fish, how do I sell them? Once I have one skill, I want to develop the next one in line to extend my competence.
- How can I catch a bigger fish? – I’ve mastered the basics, and now I’d like to expand my skills to take on harder problems.
- How can I catch more fish? – I’ve mastered the basics, and now I want to get more efficient at it.
- What are some new fishing trends? – What are some new best practices that people have come up with since I got trained? Could there be a Fishing 201?
- Teach me something I don’t know – I already knew more about the subject than you did, so the original training wasn’t very useful. What can you teach me that would interest me and help me do my specialized job better?
- Could you go over that again? – I missed it the last time, just moved into town, or was busy doing something else so I didn’t get a chance to apply the training. If you could just review what you said before, I’d make good use of it this time.
In short – how do I build on the basics, how do I do it better, and please repeat that last bit.
The big so-what here is that there’s virtually no end to how you might extend a single training session into a curriculum. You’ll be limited in funds and time, of course, but the long-term effectiveness of the training will depend on how well you cover these other requests.
People want to learn; they want to be stimulated with new ideas. It’s an essential skill to learn how to extend the lifespan of your training.
Plan your training to keep them excited, address their various points of view and needs, and you’ll see more effectiveness from it down the road.