Training presenters

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Every been to a training where the presenters were good? Every been to one where they were bad…or really bad?

I didn’t post yesterday because I was at a training and I didn’t have the forethought to get something written ahead of time. So, I missed a day (that wasn’t a weekend) for the first time in over a year. How about that? Well, that isn’t really the important thing here.

Training presenters are an important part to having a successful training, not only from the organization doing the training but also for those there to get the training. I have been to a lot of bad trainings this week.

Yesterday, took the cake though. The morning session was good, but not great. The afternoon was simply painful. I can only describe it with the following analogy:

You are driving along a paved road, making relatively good time at near the speed limit. You are able to focus on the road ahead and see into the distance, making it possible to make adjustments to your understanding of the situation as it arises.

Suddenly, you leave the paved road only to find yourself driving on a pothole filled gravel road where you are bouncing around so violently that maintaining any sort of vision on the roadway becomes difficult at best. You are so jostled and frazzled that it is exhausting just to keep driving.

The training ends by pulling off to the side of the road and getting out of the car.

Get the picture? The morning was OK, but the afternoon had nothing about it that made it worthwhile.

I have complained about this presenter/trainer previously, but the organization keeps running the person out there anyway. And those of us trying to get trained, just keep suffering along the way.

Planning

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So, I am doing a training today. Teaching teachers to use the software the should be using for grading students.

I am usually the type of guy who doesn’t mind someone pointing at something and say, “Do it.” I show up, and do it.

BUT, this morning is a bit different. I wasn’t a part of the planning of this and I found out yesterday there are all kinds of factors that could make this morning go very poorly.

First, this training was supposed to be to one district who requested the training. Somehow members of another district managed to get into the training. I think I nicely took care of that issue by letting them know that the training was indeed intended for a specific district and that they weren’t really invited.

Second, the registration website being used to sign participants up for the training says the training starts at 8:30am. My calendar says it starts at 9:00am. So which is it? OK, I am flexible and can go with the flow….except for the last thing…

Finally, there is a meeting scheduled in the room where the training is supposed to take place. The meeting is scheduled from 7:30-9:00am. Uh, that is a problem! Not only can I not set up and prepare for my training, but if the training is truly supposed to be at 8:30am what am I supposed to do with the people who show up on time for the training?

Yeah. This could turn into a CF real quick.

I know my stuff. I don’t have an issue working on the fly. Hell, I taught high school for 15 years. I can go with the flow with the best of them…but at least I had some control of my environment to some degree. In this case, I have little to none.

And on top of it all? I am wearing slacks on a Friday, which is supposed to be casual day at the office. Damn.

 

Multiplication

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Today’s topic may be one of TMI. I don’t know, really. I am sure there are others out there that suffer the same horrible fate as me, so I doubt there won’t be at least one person who identifies with my plight.

How is it that you can do one thing and it turns into many things?

Math has never been a strong area for me, but I have a rather good grasp of the basic functions. However, the math on this particular subject just doesn’t add up.

Take for instance my love of and consumption of coffee. I really could drink the stuff all day, but there is one serious problem with that. If I drink three cups of coffee and it turns into 9 (+/-) trips to the bathroom. Now I haven’t done a scientific study of my bladder, but the routine is rather ingrained and the carpet at work is beginning to get worn in my path of travel.

How can this be?? Yes, I realize it is a diuretic, or at least that is what they say. But, if that is really the case and it is dehydrating me, why then do I still carry around so much extra liquid? I should be skinny by now!

The math on this is nearly a complete mystery to me on this, 3 = 9.

I have some friends who drink beer like crazy. I think they might actually be dromedaries because they don’t seem to have to pee all the time. Maybe their bladders are just stretched out from practice. Maybe I need to drink my beer to get in shape for drinking more coffee…I could be on to something here…training, that’s what I need!

Anyway, I need to pee so I guess I’ll stop writing now.


 

Anyone else feel like they have a bladder the size of a walnut? 

Please, stop already

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I am gonna go out on a limb here and assume that you can identify with my pain.

Have you ever been to a training where the person training you had no business training you? Either because they didn’t know their stuff or because they were incredibly inept at presenting the material?

As a former teacher, I of course sat through lots of presentations from people who were good at presenting but there was the occasional person that snuck in once in a while who really had no business being in front of people. It was a rarity though. But…

Good grief, almighty! I have become increasingly aware that the industry I am in now has  MANY people who should not be training others. In most cases, they know the material. In most cases. But, whey have no idea how to present the material in an engaging way. In a way that gets you involved. In a way that gets you to care about what you are learning. That helps you get invested in what you’re doing.

I sat through one of those sort of presentations, again, yesterday. Man it was painful. But, after it was all over and done, one of my clients came to the back of the room where I was sitting and gave me a nice complement. I was just attending the session like everyone else, but she came up and said, “I wish you had done that presentation. It would  have been a lot more entertaining.”

I guess I am not the only one who doesn’t like to sit through painful trainings with people who shouldn’t be training others.

Sit down and shut up

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One thing I know for sure, teaching a class or training people never goes quite as planned. There are always things you can’t account for, even when you have experience and account for things you know will happen – because they always do.

I was a high school teacher for 15 years. One thing I got used to was that students, no matter how engaging the lesson was, never were really invested in what they were learning. I mean who are we kidding, right? Students don’t see how what they are doing now prepares them for something down the road, in the future. They are too focused on today to understand that. So interest in class was always a challenge, no matter the subject.

Now that I am no longer in the classroom, I am teaching at a different level, so to speak. I am teaching adults (teachers and school district employees) about how to use the software they use every day. Now, we are talking about people with different life experiences than students. People who know that what they are being taught will be useful to them immediately, or at the very least in the very near future. YET, they are, in some cases, a worse audience than high school students!

Teachers are a notoriously bad audience. I know because I was one of those bad audience members. But I see it all the time from adults. They sit and have side conversations, text, look at email, grade papers, etc. I even had one teacher watching the World Cup on his computer while at a training class. Yeah, real professional, buddy.

Listen, I get that teachers have a millions of things on their mind and a billion other things to do. I can totally relate! BUT, if you won’t let your students (or at least have the expectation that your students will not) act this way, why do you think it is acceptable to act that way when you’re in class? You’re an adult, for pete’s sake. Have a little more self-control than your 4th graders for crying out loud.

So, SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!

Time, not my friend

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You know when you have stuff to do at work and there just isn’t any time? Yeah, that’s me today and all of next week.

People are sick, so you have to cover them. People need to get hired, so you cover jobs they would normally be responsible for. People are gone giving training or getting training, so you have to cover them. It’s a wonder I have time for my own job!

I have to give training next week and so far I have had less than an hour to prepare. The prospect of time today, is next to nil. The prospect of time next week is just above nil.

Guess I’ll wing it, like usual.

Something I already know

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Ever gone to one of those “trainings” where they train you on something you already know?

Yeah, me too.

So you spend three hours doing the “bobs”…that’s the fun activity where your head nods up and down while you fight dozing off and keeping your head upright. Some people call them the “nods” but I just call them the bobs because it reminds me of a fishing bobber that tries to stay above the surface of the water as the fish pulls it down…think of this as your head trying to stay out of the fog of sleep.

Anyway, here’s to hoping your Friday isn’t ruined by someone telling you something you already know.