Training seminars are an integral part of any business’ ongoing success. Whether you are introducing new sales protocols, streamlining office procedures, or bringing your sales force up to date on the features of a new product line, the training seminar is where employees and management come together to ensure the ongoing productivity of the company. Staging a training seminar is relatively simple, but getting the most out of one can sometimes be more difficult than it might seem. Let’s review a few simple tips for getting the most out of your next training seminar.
Choosing a Location
The first step along the road to a successful training seminar is to decide where to gather management and employees for the day’s activities. This is a particularly important point for larger businesses who may have multiple locations, and/or companies that rely on a mobile sales force. In these cases, choosing a centralized location for the seminar is vital, and that means hiring a professional event space. It is always tempting to simply call your sales personnel into the office for the day, or spend consecutive weekends sending training teams to each of your business’ locations. However, this has a tendency to diminish the focus of a training session. Sales personnel will be fielding calls from their clients, management will be called away for other duties, and the training session will suffer from an endless series of interruptions. Holding separate seminars in each of your business’ locations is also problematical, and can result in a loss of enthusiasm on the part of the instructors, and an obvious delay in implementing new sales techniques and introducing new products or services. Choose a centrally located event space, gather your staff together, and focus all of your attention on the day’s activities.
Obviously, organizing the seminar’s content may take months and you will only really be concerned with setting a schedule after the training session has been prepared and finalized. Announcements should be sent out at least one week ahead of the date of the seminar. Attendees should be informed of the location of the training seminar, and should be given a comprehensive time table of the day’s events.
Set an Agenda
To really get the most out of a training seminar, it is vital to set an agenda for the day’s activities, and to stick to it. Maximize the time allotted for each of the day’s sessions, and leave time for a question and answer period after each presentation. A good rule of thumb is to allot 75% of your time for the presentation, and 25% for questions and brainstorming. At the end of the day, ask the attendees to email any unanswered questions to a designated facilitator. These questions should be answered within 48 hours of the seminar.
Use Visual Aids in Your Power Point Presentations
Visual aids are a proven teaching technique, and should be integrated into all of your power point presentations. When you book the event space for your seminar, ask if they can provide the necessary audio-visual equipment you will need for the day, otherwise it may be necessary to hire it from any outside vendor. Slide projectors, DVD players, and video monitors should be tested a couple of hours before your seminar begins to ensure that everything is in working order. This will give you ample time to make any changes, or to send back to the office for any content that may be missing.
Successful training seminars encourage participation from all of the attendees. If your seminar consists of a large group, consider making microphones available to make it easier for people to submit questions from the audience. Also, consider creating informational packets and applications that attendees can download directly to their tablets or laptops. This will make interaction with the speakers much easier, and attendees will be able to have reference material at their fingertips.
Training seminars are one of the fundamentals of good business practices. Without them it is nearly impossible to ensure that every member of your staff and sales team are kept abreast of the protocols and practices that will make your business an ongoing success. By following the few simple tips outline here, you will be able to get the utmost out of your next sales and training seminar.