Con-Com-T, Inc. Conceptual Communications & Training -- Jay Gentry
"In the introduction exercise Jay asked attendees what was the most valuable part of the pre-workshop assignment and every section came up at least once… but the customer interviews were the favorite by far."
Alex Roher
Sales Territory Manager during Alside's Alstar Training Currently a Business Owner

Effective Training

Importance of Pre-training Preparation
The expense and time invested when participants come together for training is significant. Anything that enhances the effectiveness of the experience is valuable. Pre-training Preparation can make an important contribution. We use several different elements to maximize that contribution… a few are described below.

  • A Self Evaluation can help a participant realistically assess personal strengths and weaknesses in order to set personal goals for the training experience. This can subconsciously reinforce the key elements of the training content and flow and can be used by managers for coaching.
  • Quotes from an interview process can be used to highlight issues and cause participants to decide if they agree or disagree… and what should be done. When people have given previous thought to an issue, the interaction starts from a more fertile place.
  • Participants can be asked to prepare information on case studies, business issues or opportunities, and even personal success stories or difficult situations.
  • Field exercises can guide participants through questioning and discussions with real prospects and customers.
  • Pre-training reading of articles, information, plans, marketing materials, etc. can save time in the group setting. Questions associated with the reading can prepare participants for rich discussions and debates in the training itself.
People Learn/Change when talking, not listening
Clearly there is a need for some presentation of concepts, models, forms, and other elements. However, we believe that people learn or commit to change behavior while talking and debating, rather than while listening. As a result we try to design training where at least half of the group time is spent interacting. We use Table Group Exercises, Pair Practices, Trio Role Plays, Panel Debates, and other interactive devices to keep participants engaged and to facilitate frequent presentation practice. Preparation for post meeting application of concepts and then presentation of those plans is another effective learning device.
Integrate elements for time spaced learning
In recent years with the evolution of web based interaction capabilities, we have seen the addition of Webinars, Web Meetings, and Web Coaching to the training solution/systems. For example: Imagine two 90 minute webinars (each with pre-webinar preparation and post-webinar application exercises), followed by a one day workshop (the post-webinar application becomes the pre-workshop preparation), followed by post-workshop application exercises and Web Coaching sessions. Over a several week period, the participants are introduced to concepts and skills, apply them to real situations, learn what works and does not, interact with each other and a facilitator or manager on Webinars, bring it all together during a Workshop, and then apply the new skills and receive coaching in that application. This kind of system and time-spaced-learning can develop skills and change behaviors at a very reasonable investment of time and dollars.
Coaching is the key to implementing change
Just as Pre-training Preparation is a key to getting the most from Workshop, coaching is the key to changing behavior and building skills. Ideally the management team participates throughout the process…
  • In the development of training objectives and the review of concepts, models, tools, and skills to be included (usually through interviews);
  • In coaching the pre-training assignment (coaching guides provided);
  • By participating in each training element (with other managers or with students); and
  • By coaching the post-workshop application exercises (coaching guides provided).
When possible, it is valuable to prepare selected managers as Leader/Trainers to facilitate the different elements. We generally recommend that they be assigned and work as teams of at least two to ensure quality and consistency.
Your investment with CCT should enable you... make decisions, solve problems, address needs,
or capture opportunities
"The modules were designed to be very interactive, with team activities and lots of peer to peer conversations… elevating the education and awareness of the 300 plus people in marketing."
"We also offered the program to people in finance, information technology, purchasing and even sales to provide common ground for discussion of the nature of our business, our supplier’s business, and our
customer’s business…"
Bob O'Malley
SVP of Marketing, Tech Data Corporation (2006)