Written by Jane Hames
You might be surprised how easy it can be to get much more than what is traditionally expected from your training.
Imagine that you have a training course booked in for next week. Of course, you are hoping to learn some useful information and techniques. I would expect that you also hope to feel confident that you can put these new techniques into practise when you return to work, but how could you make absolute best use of this time in the training room?
I have been an IT trainer since 1998, and every time I see a group of people get together for the training, whether they are total strangers or colleagues, if they choose to, they can get way more from the day than perhaps expected. I am not talking about the content of the training or the objectives you want to achieve in order to help you back in the work place, you can read my tips about this here:
I am talking about what ELSE we can achieve…
As an IT trainer, I have found that IT training can be an ideal opportunity for basic IT communications. You need to be careful though; the start of a training course is not the ideal time to impart information of a contentious nature. Likewise, anything that would lead to discussions that would hinder rather than help the objectives to be achieved should also be avoided. Here are some examples where I have been able to help share and implement new IT information for my customers:
A new PowerPoint template – the customer gave the template ahead of the training so that I could understand and then pass it on to those attending the training. This was a great way to tell people about the new template and learn to use it at the same time. This also works well for on going PowerPoint training where the template isn’t new, but new starters or those new to software can learn to use the template from the outset.
Re-enforcing email guidelines – on many occasions, I have been able to pass on information such as inbox size, email archiving systems, attachment sizes, for internal use creating shortcuts to files rather than adding attachments in the email and so on. When you first start a job, you might receive an induction, but often there’s a lot to take in, so including this in Outlook training can save the users and the IT team lots of frustration.
IT Policy – when delivering new starter or induction training, things like IT policies can be included.
New software plans – perhaps your company is upgrading to a newer version of the software used in the very near future. Delivering training with the new version is the perfect way to ensure that users feel ready for the upgrade.
Whether it’s a public course with total strangers or a in-company course with your colleagues, a training course is a great time to get to know other people, learn from them and help them.
Getting to know colleagues – when delivering training for large organisations, I often meet people who don’t know each other or they’ve only communicated by email or phone. It’s a real morale booster to put a face to the name and build on that relationship.
Meeting new people – if you are with people from other organisations, make sure you swop business cards, arrange to meet for a coffee or just connect on LinkedIn. You might be able to help one another or pass an opportunity there way in the future.
Learning some usual information – I learn so much by being with different groups of people several times a week. As a training attendee, you can learn some very useful things from others about your own organisation or about opportunities and lots of other things going on in the world!
Career opportunities – you might meet someone within your own company who is looking to recruit a new role that you would love. Likewise outside of your company…it’s back to the old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
Team building – put on a course on any subject that would be useful for your team and the team building should happen naturally.
Time to reflect
Time away from your everyday tasks – this is essential for our well-being and can be very productive. When delivering IT training, I meet people who have become bogged down with their work and the methods that they have got used to. Being in the training room, often prompts new ideas and new ways of working that will be much more efficient and bring more value to them and their organisation.
Idea swaping – just the act of sitting next to someone different for the day can bring about all sorts of new ideas. With software and other processes, there can be many ways of getting to a similar end result. Maybe there’s a new method that you might prefer or some techniques that would help your training-neighbour.
Getting a well deserved break from a big office or from your home office – time out of your usual working environment can be very refreshing. Make the most of it – meet some new people, learn some new things and share some knowledge with your new friends!