training blog - my training 'bag of tricks'
As I changed from being office based to mobile, my trainer drawer evolved to my bag so, over a period of years, I’ve refined the equipment and resources I need to be prepared for most eventualities while the new ones make me get creative. Some of the contents are of course common sense, but some have more than one use:
Pens – Of course it goes without saying you’ll need pens but what sort? I carry lots of ballpoint pens in different colours as with larger audiences you can almost guarantee at least one person won’t have one. When I attend hotels and meeting rooms, I’ll always take a few pens when they are offered for this very reason. I also carry highlighters for people who like to use them, and of course, it goes without saying, I carry board pens. I always have lots of Flipchart pens with a chisel tip as they help me with my writing and can also double as whiteboard pens and vice versa.
Paper – I carry this for note taking in both lined and plain; in places where you might have larger numbers of people around a table, paper folded in half and half again long ways can be a fantastically improvised name tag.
Post-It Notepads / Blu Tac – I always have a lot of Post-Its in various colours are they are great for team exercises and individual notes. In particular, I like how you can stick these on walls and boards etc. Additionally, I always tell people to take the sheet from the back when doing this, so it lies flat and not curved; try it and see how it works! I also carry blu/white tac for sticking flipcharts up and for anywhere you aren’t allowed to use it (happening more often) I find the Post-Its can pin up a Flipchart if you use enough.
USB Stick – I carry copies of all of the IT-based resources I need on a USB stick such as PowerPoint and Handouts just in case my IT has issues (and I have additional access) or I need extra copies of learning resources.
IT / Adapters / Clickers / Extensions – I carry my laptop and any adapters you need to plug into a projector or screen; I carry a VGA adapter and an HDMI cable for my laptop. I also know some trainers carry adapters for their phones and notepads too, just in case of IT failure. I never let IT issues bother me as I will always revert to a Flip Chart if I need to for the very limited PowerPoint I use. For any IT that requires batteries like my clicker, I also carry a spare just in case it runs out but remember if you do change one, get another spare in your bag (something that once caught me out). I also carry an electrical extension cable as not every place you deliver will have accessible plugs close to where you need access for laptops and projectors.
Spare Handouts etc – I always carry at least one extra hard copy of the handouts or packs just in case you need them; then you have something to copy or to immediately give out.
I do carry a few other things too, but they are mostly travel related so they didn’t make the list. If you have a training bag or even a drawer, I’d love to hear from you if you have anything that I didn’t cover on my list that you’ve found handy to have available for your training sessions.