Raise your hand if you've been part of a so-called team-building exercise that involves a blindfold.
Today's training is less about running the ropes course and more about simulating actual workday situations. The trainers we talked with inventoried some basic components of good training:
It has to be relevant and challenging to the participants.
"I'm a believer that straight-out generic training in the classroom is not the best investment of time or money," says Linda Richardson, CEO of her own Philadelphia-based sales training and consulting firm." If you are pulling people in to be together, they really should be working on their issues and their challenges. That means it must be customized.
It has to be interactive.
You can talk about training from now until the end of time, but nothing really happens until the coach is with you, stops the action, helps you rethink it and flex those skills," Richardson says.
"The best bang for the buck is when you can get people to touch a process," adds Matt "Boom" Daniel, a member of the Afterburner Seminars team who launched his own military-themed training and consulting business, Combat Ops Network, Ltd., this year.
It has to be reinforced.
Nothing is more important than the sales manager role modeling the training, which means he or she completes the training as well with coaching component added, says Richardson.
It has to be short.
Two days maximum; one day is more common. Let people go out and utilize the training.
It has to be followed up.
Many trainers follow up off-site sessions with a visit to the client's office weeks or even months later to ensure that lessons learned are still being practiced. The sales manager should always make sure that newly learned best practices are put in place.
"Companies get together and plan, but as soon as everyone gets home from their training, they answer the 500 voice mails, the 2,300 e-mails, and everything goes back to ops normal," says Afterburner Seminars' Anthony Bourke." We continue to fly on that client's wing and help them implement what they learned at the training session instead of just letting it go away. We try to get them away from the flavor of the month."