Everyone has endured a boring work training; endless PowerPoint slides, hours spent listening to someone you don’t know tell you how to do your job while you sit there wondering how it’s possible that time has almost come to a complete halt.
However most of these trainings can in fact be incredibly helpful, and if you approach them in the right way you might be surprised at how much you can actually get out of them.
Understand who the Training is for
Firstly, if you’ve been invited to a training, there is obviously a reason your boss thinks it would be beneficial for you personally. Consider the topic and try to get an idea of what the purpose behind the training is, and why it will benefit you in particular.
Is it geared toward employees who aren’t producing results the way they need to? Or is its purpose to be informative making it suitable for all employees or team members to help them be more productive?
Understanding who the training is for will help you get into the right mindset for internalising the training and using it in relation to your responsibilities.
When you know the topic of the training and have understood better who it is for, you can do some preparation to ensure you make the most of it. One of the easiest ways to do this is to brainstorm a list of relevant questions.
Of course, you will most likely think of more questions during the training, but you can start with a list of issues you are currently facing or things that you think the training could help you do better.
Another way to prepare is to do some research into the topic. If the training is based on a more general theme, like teamwork, leadership or boosting sales, do some basic research to give you a little background about the topic.
If a consultant or someone you don’t know is giving the training, learn what you can about them before the training so that you can better understand their point of view and area of expertise.
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Take Smart Notes
Taking notes during a training can help you stay focused and remember information. When you are writing things down it’s harder for your mind to wander and you are more likely to stay engaged.
But, don’t just copy down exactly what the trainer is saying. Instead, try to note ideas that come to you; action items, ideas that relate to your job and new thoughts the trainer presents.
Make sure your notes are organised so you can use them later. Use things like headings, bullets and even sketches to make information easier to find. You may also come up with your own system, like using stars next to to-do items and circling main ideas, which will help you make sense of things when you go back and review the notes.
Look for Ways to Contribute
If it’s appropriate, actively participate in the training. Volunteering to help, responding to questions, asking your own questions and interacting with your colleagues will make the training much more valuable.
It’s easy to zone out and make the training useless when you’re not actively involved. On the other hand, if you are engaged you will learn information better, remember concepts and generally get more out of the training.
Contributing to a training can also show your manager that you are invested in your job. You are showing her that you recognise the training as an opportunity and want to make the most of it so you can improve the way you work.
Determine where you can Apply Information
While the training is going on, and especially once it is over, look for ways to apply what you have learned to your job. Work trainings are meant to bring about change, and by looking for ways you can improve you’ll be enhancing your own career and your team’s success rate.
When your boss sees that you can apply what you’ve learned, you’ll be building a reputation as an employee who is teachable, willing to learn new things and capable of putting words into action to improve their role and office environment.
Making the most of work trainings will make you a better employee, help you refine your professional skills and benefit your entire team, bringing everyone up. Next time you have a training, don’t let boredom take over and instead, take advantage of the opportunity!