Can Someone Press the Pause Button, I Need to Think

I had the pleasure of attending training last week, and as someone who trains for a living it felt fantastic being a delegate for the first time in almost a year. Not only did the training reinvigorate me in the work that I do, but gave me time to reflect on what delegates really want to get from a workshop.

One of the key things that I hear from delegates is that the day has been such a great chance to step back from their business and think, and they always follow it up with ‘we really should do more of it.’

Now what I am going to talk about next is really aimed at everyone out there writing and running corporate training. But if you don’t, read on, as it may help you think about how you work today and what you could do differently.

There is no doubt that people and businesses are losing the art of stopping and thinking, and this was articulated beautifully by Ruby Wax on a recent Radio 2 essay #whatmakesushuman.  We all seem to feel the need to be busy and that somehow our status or world will fall over if we stop, pause, spend time reflecting, thinking.

What does that mean for us in the training industry? For me it has two key consequences. Firstly getting people off line and into workshops is getting a tougher sell and secondly we need to revise the amount of content we include.

So lets deal with the first point, of getting people off line. I feel like training providers have to be the ultimate champions of the cause, not because I am old school and don’t want to evolve my offer, but because if we don’t who will ensure that people take time away from their day to day work to reflect on how they can be better at what they do. Yes eLearning, lunch and learns, remote learning have a role to play, but without stepping out for at least a whole day, where will the real drive and creativity to do something different come from? We mustn’t submit to the busyness of the rest of the world. What we need to continue to reinforce is that the delegates will not only learn something new but will be re-energised as their brains get the space to think.

On my second point, content.  It is our responsibility to manage both the clients and the delegates expectations of input versus action. We are so input heavy as a society now, through the devices we carry, the emails we receive, the media that surrounds us, that we have to be very selective on the messages we want delegates to receive during the session. We must emotionally engage delegates in content through the time they have to digest the new information, work out how to use it back at work, discuss the barriers they need to overcome, have practiced it in a safe environment and set their actions. This takes longer than they, and you, always think. So let’s keep reminding ourselves that great training is about getting people to use their new skills not about imparting the fabulous knowledge we have.

Since my time as a delegate I have become re-energised and passionate about creating fabulous thinking time for my delegates so they find the energy to go again, whatever they are doing.

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