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If you are training managers, here are two tips if you want them to arrive prepared and ready to learn.
The manager registered for your program is not always the person you need to connect with in the weeks before the course. In many cases, addressing your correspondence to an administrative support person more likely ensures your participants will arrive prepared for the course.
David Hardison, a vice president at HCA Management Company, asks people as they register for his courses if they want to include the name of a support person. Then, almost all correspondence whether by phone or by mail, goes through that assistant.
Reduce the anxiety line managers feel about participating in an upcoming seminar by providing as much preparation as possible, says Phil Cowan, training and development manager for Pick ‘n Save, a national retailer.
“A no surprise package works best,” he says. “Provide as much information up front as you can. Let them know exactly what they’ll be doing. The more pre-reading they have, the more receptive they’re likely to be in the seminar.”
“Many managers see training as having to leave major responsibilities, being pulled away from family, and having to sit there bored for three days. So if you get them to come in motivated, there’s a much better chance the session will be successful,” Cowan says.
Cowan sends prep materials six weeks before the seminar so managers have plenty of time to review them and follow up. “It gives them a chance to get back to you and say, ‘Hey, you sent an article on what’s being covered, but can I get more reading material?’ ”
A strong emphasis on seminar preparation, Cowan believes, makes people ready to share information.
Tip #9 and Tip #5 reprinted from Managing the Front-End of Training by Bob Pike with Christopher Busse, book four in the “A Best of Creative Training Techniques Newsletter book” series.