As I work more and more with corporate trainers I become aware of their need for time to plan and prepare.Clients I have worked with admit they will often give their training session a thought about a week before the event to check they have the resources they need, slides, attendee names, learner books printed as well as the usual marker pens, post-its and flipcharts. What became apparent this week for a group I worked with is that planning and preparation as a trainer/facilitator consists of more than just the above elements.
Here are 5 areas we identified:
Planning starts at a higher level than just the learning event.The learning event needs tolink to the overall business plan, skills and behaviours being learnt support business growth………….how do you make that happen?
There are key stakeholders to engage prior to the learning event – business sponsor, line managers, HR business partners.Tailor your message to each person and don’t be afraid to manage upwards.
When planning for your learning event avoid Plug & Play.Plug & Play is when you do what you have always done, no review of the outcomes, looking to see how you can do an exercise differently, comparing notes with someone for a different perspective.
If you rely on slides ask yourself what you would do if you had a technical failure?How would you bring the learning to life using flipcharts, posters, story-telling, a game?Challenge yourself to find another way to bring the learning to life.
Creating engagement with learners is more than talking with them in the session.It requires thinking about the materials and resources that will be used and how they will be used.For example there is no point having a learner book/work sheet/aha page if you never refer to it. Ensure you weave your resources and materials into your learning sessions, don’t assume the learners will think to use them.Be directive, give learners time for self-reflection and clearly signal when to use the materials & resources.
It’s been one of ‘those’ work weeks – longer than normal and hard. Hard mentally, physically and emotionally. Morning Skypes and calls, travelling the breadth of Ireland, trains, planes and automobiles, observing, eating and working in the evening, back in the gym (owch), holding the space for others, client challenges, thinking for me, thinking for others, thinking for the business, more gym, seeing my cottage fleetingly, early morning train to London, I coached, I traveled, I wrote, I spoke to clients and I made things happen and then BAM. I STOPPED. I had to stop. I was called to stop by my heart and by others. ‘What are you on about?’ you may be saying. Basically I had stretched myself physically, mentally and emotionally. I had over-committed to projects, I was up at 5.45am each morning, meditating, the gym then breakfast. Work starting at 8am. I wasn’t there for people I am collaborating with, I wasn’t there for myself as I had gone into automatic pilot and got on with what was required of me.
Owning your own business, more often than not, sees you going the extra mile, stretching yourself to accommodate everyone’s requests and needs. I like to think I factor my needs into a week, I know I need to resource myself if I am to shine brightly for my clients, friends and family. Guess what? I am human, I forget me and put everyone else first. I am in a helping profession and this is one of my weaknesses – others before me.
What did I do?
Got support from my trusted network: I spoke with those around me who I knew would hold me and understand my desire to talk from the heart and speak my truth. This group of awesome women shared their wisdom and gave me space.
Listened to my intuition: I went home. I missed my cottage, the green fields, the calmness and peace.
Cleared my diary: I had 3 commitments in my diary. I was really worried I was letting them down. Guess what – they were cool about it. This behaviour isn’t my normal MOD.
Created space: I gave myself a mental break and chose not to beat myself up.
Had an honest conversation: I reconnected with the people I am collaborating with and we talked – a lot – about the journey, how we are feeling, what we need from one another.
I genuinely believe that as a coach, facilitator and trainer it is important that I resource myself. I must look after me emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. This week I learnt to put me first. I know this isn’t always easy and we will all have a long list of excuses. As we move into Spring think about what you can do to resource yourself, what can you weave into the framework of your world? Come to an SOF Gathering, find yourself being held within a group of like-minded people, connect, share and learn. Come and share your stories. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
A friend once asked me ‘how did I manage my personal friendships?’ She asked this as I have a large group of friends who I like to stay in touch with. I pondered the question and realised I unconsciously split my friendships into different groups and then circles. I have always played sport so I mentally split friends into gym, sailing, skiing, hockey. Then there is work – Bass, Diageo, Associate, Clients and School of Facilitation. Finally, we have School, University and Family. Once split down like this I find it manageable to think why do I want to stay in contact and how can I do this authentically and easily? Within each group I have close friends, family members, confidents, work colleagues or associates – they are in the inner circle and I talk, text, email, what’s app, like or tweet them weekly. The next circle out represents clients, friends or people I am doing something with soon, whether that is work or play.
As we move towards the outer circle I realised I have friends and clients all over the world. These are people I don’t see regularly yet when we do connect we have a ball, catch up and the friendship returns to where it was when we were in regular contact. I have caught up with these friends when I work abroad. And finally, I have contacts on the outer fringe, those I have met on my adventures, previous clients, delegates or colleagues from a past life. People who it’s good to hear from every now and then and who one day may come back into my space for a reason. This is all very well and good but how can you use this thinking with all your business contacts and even your own friends? Stop and think about how you currently manage your network of family, friends and colleagues. Do you have some unsaid rules that you manage your network by? Draw out your own circles, grid, list so you can see who is where within your business world and think about how you connect with them and the reasons why. You need a valid reason to connect with someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Know what you would like to achieve from connecting with this person. Linked-in is a great tool for re-establishing relationships. Personalise the invite, ask a question, suggest a coffee or share some information
When travelling abroad connect with people a month in advance and say you will be in town. People will tell you if they are free
Be positive and bold with your communication. State politely why you are emailing and what you are seeking. Don’t beat about the bush
Be prepared to put the effort in. Maintaining friendships and business contacts takes time and energy.
Use your time wisely. If you travel by train, plane, taxi or bus these are perfect opportunities to write a message and stay in touch.
There is no right or wrong to how you manage your network or whether it is large or small. It needs to be right for you personally or your business. This week asked me whether quality of connection is better than quantity of connections – that is another conversation me thinks………
Create your network, reach out, connect, make alliances, build relationships……… Am I hearing deep sighs from some of you or maybe some are thinking no way, not my thing or its hard enough balancing the relationships I have at present?
Whatever you are thinking I am sure you know that your net worth = your network. Most of your business will come through people you know, have worked with or people you know have recommended you. Therefore, it makes sense to think about how you ‘manage’ your network.
Today I talked with a friend in Hamburg and she commented that I have a diverse network of friends, associates and colleagues that span across the world. Another friend commented that I am good at making friends, staying in contact, building business relationships and maintaining a global network of acquaintances. This is all true and it made me wonder why I do it, how I do it and what is it I do to maintain my network. Why I do it is easy – I enjoy getting to know people, what makes them tick and I love linking them to other people I know whether it be for business or pleasure.
Five years ago I was transiting through Dubai Airport and met a man in a lift and we started chatting. He had flown in from Nairobi where he had worked on a mining site as a geologist and was now heading home to Perth. My brain instantly scanned my network for people in Perth, something made me say the name of a friend who lives there, works as an engineer and often travels to Nairobi. It transpires they know one another and work on the same project. I took his business card so that I could introduce him and my friend. Why bother you might ask? Well the benefit is that I have facilitated another link for my friend within her team, it’s good to build rapport on project teams and this chance encounter creates some common ground to kick off a conversation. During the same period, I was working in Melbourne with a client. I was working with a Home entertainment company and the client was going through a cultural shift in response to the market place changing. This company were focusing on shifting their selling behaviours and the Sales Director was focusing on their trade strategy and commercial planning process.
Click goes my brain – I have a great contact in Australia who at the time worked for CUB plus he has FMCG. Wanting to talk to my contact I dropped him a line asking whether I could introduce him to the Sales Director I was working with. ‘Yes’ said Mr CUB ‘drop us both a line’. 5 years on I know that relationship is still going strong and to quote Mr CUB ‘He is a great guy and we share a coffee regularly and keep each other sane with what’s happening in the world and different categories! ‘
Here are some simple things you can start to do to build your network:
The Celestine prophecy suggests that we notice instances of synchronicity, which is the belief that coincidences have a meaning personal to those who experience them. Become aware who comes into your field, they are there for a reason. Seek to understand why they are there.
Talk to people, its OK they don’t bite. You will know when a stranger is happy to connect with you, the clues are there – smile, open body language, a comment is made over the shared situation you are in.
. If you see or hear someone looking for support in a field that is your strength or the strength of someone you know ask whether they would like an introduction. If yes, check in with your contact and then facilitate the connection.
What’s in it for me you might be wondering?
I love linking people together especially when there is a positive consequence for all parties
I find it easy and when something is easy then I suggest it is a skill/behaviour or habit you can use and develop. You never know what will come your way because of these connections.I now realise that my belief in the law of reciprocity and an abundance mentality support my behaviours and attitude towards my network. I guess if you looked at your values it would lead you to understand how you view your network
‘Breath in, 1,2,3 and out 1,2,3. In through your nose and out through your nose’. The calming and gentle voice of Michael Townsend-Williams is talking to me from my laptop. I have signed up for his 6 week course on breathing as I have realised whilst I can breathe without any conscious help I wonder whether my breathing is effective and supporting me. I met Michael at the DO Lectures in July this year. He has a presence that is both calming yet makes you curious to want to know a little more. I joined Michaels breathing workshop and started to discover some new things about my breathing.
1. Whilst I breath without thought or consciousness (we all do!) I sometimes held my breath when I thought about something hard or when I was scared. When you hold your breath you are starving your brain of oxygen and therefore are not thinking clearly – take a deep breath to enable you to think effectively. 2. Learning to take long slow breaths through your nose for the count of 6 and out for 6 is harder than you think yet once you do find your rhythm it does have a calming effect, it grounded me and I felt more level. 3. Lying on the floor and consciously breathing is surprisingly relaxing. Big full deep breaths from the belly vs small shallow gulps from the upper chest. Try it for 5 minutes, it feels great. 4. Breathing through your nose is way more effective than your mouth. I genuinely can’t recall why but as I write this now breathing through my mouth feels stranger than breathing through my nose! Try for yourself…………. 5. Read Michael’s book on breathing: DO/Breathe. Calm your mind. Find Focus. Get stuff done!It talks all about: