Attending training - 5 tips to make you better prepared to learn
Most people say they are nervous upon arrival about what's ahead of them in nearly every training course I have delivered on our Train the Trainer courses. As a trainer, it's one of my most important jobs to put everyone at ease as soon as they arrive, but we are human too and even as professional trainers, we've all been there too! So, what can we do personally to ease those nerves and be better prepared to learn?
You know those questions you ask in your head: What's the place/session/day going to be like? What's the trainer going to be like? What are the other people going to be like? Will I know anyone? Am I going to be asked questions? What time will I finish? How am I going to get there? Etc. Taking the unknowns out and being prepared properly are going to help you get the best out of your training course, so here are my 5 top tips:
Read up, do your homework! - Training should always come with some form of joining instructions or directions via email/letter etc, with full details of location, time, parking, timings, catering, pre-work, assessment and any equipment you might need to bring. If you don't know these details, then ask for them as you don't want or indeed need any nasty surprises on the day. Also, there's a lot you can find out online, so do your research, including looking up the trainer's profile and learning all about them before they learn about you!
Early bird catches the worm - Give yourself plenty of time to get there so plan on arriving early rather than late as it's undoubtedly better for the nerves. It also enables you to get parked if you've driven, gives you time to have a complete look around, and you can also get refreshments or go to the toilet before starting. It also allows you to meet other attendees and sometimes even the trainer and takes away some of the "unknowns" if you have any. And finally, how could I forget the best bit? - It might also give you the chance to get the best seats!
Attitude to learning - Have a positive attitude towards learning as you never know where it could take you next, perhaps a promotion or even a change of career without you even planning it. As I always say, "Every day is a learning day", and you'd be amazed just how many people attend training daily that changes their lives forever. It's also critical to remember that it's not just the trainer that brings knowledge and experience to the session; you do too! When you share personal experiences, you'd be amazed at just how powerful these are for others; being confident and engaged in the training not only makes you feel valued, but it will help everyone learn. So ask yourself, what knowledge and experience am I taking in with me?
Dedicate the time to learn - I've seen so many times people attending training who are preoccupied with other things going on around them like, emails, calls, and appointments, etc. This is more common when training takes place in a workplace, but it can happen anywhere, especially with technology. Not only does it distract the individual, but it's also hugely distracting to the other people; you can't truly learn with distractions going on around you like these. Make sure then that you've marked yourself 'Out of the office' or 'Unavailable' for the whole period. Unless it's urgent so before the training starts, switch off your computers and phones. Also, don't be tempted during the break to "Just check that email" or "Make that quick call" because it will cause that distraction you don't need.
You're amazing - Before attending a course, it's natural to have doubts about why you are there or if the training requirements will be achievable to you. These limiting self-belief's lead to limiting attitude and sometimes behaviours and will often result in you not achieving what you were capable of. Be positive always, believe in yourself, and achieve amazing things when you believe you can. It's also important to remember that we all learn and develop differently, so don't compare yourself to others, especially when you're learning a new skill!
So, who spotted the acronym then? - Are you READY for your next training?
Scott Fraser is a Master Trainer at Target Training and delivers our PTT Train the Trainer courses and our Advanced PTT Train the Trainer courses. You can read more about him here.