Remember the last mandatory training session you were forced to suffer through? It was terrible. You got nothing out of it. In fact, you struggled to stay awake, much less pay attention. Mandatory training sessions are brutal, even when you have professional speakers and trainers putting them on.
Mandatory training sessions are necessary. You have to keep up with the current trends in your business or you will fall behind the competition and not be able to provide quality service to your clients. But why do mandatory training sessions have to be so dull? Can’t we make them more entertaining?
Mandatory training sessions can be very entertaining and useful. You can stay awake through the whole session. You can learn what is being taught.
The problem is you!
If you dread mandatory training sessions regardless of the topic and presenter, the problem is you. The topic is poignant. The presenter is good. You are the problem. So, what is the problem? I’ll tell you…
You have a bad attitude about mandatory training sessions
Yep. That’s right. Your attitude stinks. Like anything else in the world, you get out of it what you put into it. You need to go into that training session with an open mind. You need to want to learn. Shift your thinking from being overtly negative towards the training to being overtly positive. Don’t just say you’re positive. Be positive.
A positive attitude will make a bigger difference in what you take away from a training session more than anything else you can do. Saying that, there are other actions you can take to increase the training’s effectiveness even more. Change your attitude, then implement the following five actions to get more from your next mandatory training session.
Complete the prerequisites
Courses with prerequisite requirements have those requirements for a reason. Even if the prerequisite is suggested, it’s suggested for a reason. The organizer believes completing the prerequisite will either enhance your understanding of the presentation material or build your knowledge to a base level needed to understand the material.
Take the time to do what is required or suggested. Complete it well in advance and then review the material the day before the training occurs. I promise you it will help
Get a good night’s sleep
Plan your evenings in advance and make sure you are able to sleep for the number of hours at which you work best. If the training is local, this is usually pretty easy to do. There might be some planned evening dinners but you should still be able to get home at a reasonable time.
If the training session is not local and you’re staying in a hotel, this may be more difficult. There is more opportunity to stay out late at night because you don’t have a commute. Be reasonable. Go to a dinner but don’t go out afterwards. Plan on time to wind down and get to sleep at a reasonable time.
Eat a healthy breakfast
I’ve been amazed the last three weeks by the difference a healthy breakfast makes in my day. My typical breakfast used to be coffee…and lots of it. That made it so all-day mandatory training sessions were horrible. I was more focused on how hungry I was rather than on what was being said.
Now, I eat six or seven egg whites (scrambled) and a quarter to a half cup of plain oats. Yuck! Well, that is what you’re saying. It’s actually pretty good. It gets better with time too. Some fruit is okay but you don’t want a lot of sugar. That sugar will make so you “hit the wall” before too long. An additional benefit of eating a healthy breakfast is that it is easier to maintain or lose weight.
As Jack Palance’s character, Curly, said in the movie City Slickers, there is “one thing.” You have to find that one thing you can take away from the training session. You know the topics being presented before you sit down. Pick a topic and be focused on it. If you’re really positive, find one thing from EACH topic that you can take away and implement.
If you physically participate in the training session, you will view the session as being better than if you just sat there. You can participate by asking and answering questions. At least one other person in the audience is thinking the same question but is too scared to ask it. You will help others as well as yourself.
You can also volunteer to present or prepare information. Teachers learn more about the subject matter than the students they teach. If you have the opportunity to present, do it. It may be rough or awkward the first few times but it is well worth the effort to prepare.
The only reason you will not enjoy or learn from the training session if you implement these steps is because the trainer is not good. That is likely not the case. Bad trainers don’t stay trainers for long. You can make it through your next all-day or multi-day training session and be better for it if you be intentional with implementing these steps.