A few years ago, a client shared his experience of a training session he attended.  It kicked off with a vibrant, energetic trainer who attempted to pump up the audience with enthusiasm and excitement about working together. This was followed with a presentation containing a lot of fluff and platitudes, without any real content or activity. Lastly, the session concluded with the joyful distribution of branded chocolate bars to all the participants. I always cringe when I hear stories like this. Fluff and chocolate should never go together unless it’s a chocolate marsh mellow cookie.

There are a number of considerations to include when preparing a training session or a presentation to any business group.

  1. Ask yourself “what do I want them to walk away with from this training/presentation?”
  2. Consider what metric can be used to measure success.
  3. Contemplate what will be different for them a year from now, due to this training if it’s successful.

If we take the above example, the answers might be:

  1. I want them to walk away feeling good.
  2. The metric for success is the number of chocolate bars eaten (i.e. feeling good)
  3. Nothing will be different for them a year from now due to this training. (except the additional calories consumed from the chocolate bar.

If any of the above describes you, or a training session you’ve attended, you are not alone. In this article, they describe several ways of avoiding useless, boring training sessions. Here’s the most important thing:

Know your audience and use them.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Find out who in the organization is best at what you are trying to deliver. If it’s sales training, find out who the best salesperson is in the organization. If it’s emotional intelligence, find that Then—interview them, ask them what they’ve done to be successful and ask them if they’d be willing to participate in the training. Chances are they are well respected for their performance and can be a great resource. They also will serve as a leading example and increase your likelihood of success and buy-in from all participants.


  • Incorporate what you learn from your interviews into the training, while giving credit to your resources. This makes your training very relevant to the current audience and typically gives them something they can implement immediately. In addition, you are helping them to connect with the more senior or successful team members for future reference and mentoring.


  • Make sure to ask your identified expert sources what’s been tried before, what’s worked and what hasn’t. The last thing you want to do is to incorporate some training that failed miserably last year. At the very least, you want to understand why it failed and how you might present it differently if you still believe it’s absolutely critical to your training.


For some additional bloopers, check out this additional blog.

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