In Challenges, Communication, Employee Development, Feedback, Wednesday Wisdom

Find the lesson, even if a training seminar doesn’t have immediate applicability.

It was one of a dozen “training” sessions I attended that year. Luckily, opportunities to learn about a new idea or a subject from an expert in the field seem abundant in the Corridor. The topic of this two-hour session was relevant for all businesses, and the speaker was good. As we exited the auditorium, I found myself directly behind a small group of people discussing the material from the presentation. I was speechless as I listened to the dialogue.

“That would never work in my organization,” one said. “Mine either,” added another. The third added, “My manager would listen, but she would counter all of my ideas with reasons why they wouldn’t work.”

Granted, not every topic is applicable to every organization. Some presentations, even with great content, just don’t apply for a number of reasons: timing, industry, resource availability, workload, etc. I’ve found myself with some of those same concerns regarding sessions I’ve attended in the past. Or, sometimes the opposite happens; if you’ve ever attended an industry-specific, multi-day conference, the volume of ideas and their applicability can be overwhelming in a positive way. With so many good ideas to consider, the question becomes: where do I even start?

Needless to say, I was dumbfounded at the immediate dismissal of the information by these participants. Less than a minute after leaving the seminar, they appeared to be done processing the material and on to the next task. To be fair, I don’t know exactly what they did with the information, but based on their response, I’d wager a decent sum they were done with the material, and there would be no further action.

I invite you to capture the lesson(s) from any seminar you attend by asking a couple of follow-up questions. If you are an attendee:

What new information did I learn?

Could this apply in any area of the organization?

Would a colleague benefit from the material?

Could I follow up with the speaker and provide some feedback on what I valued in the presentation?

Even if your manager doesn’t require it, I invite you to take responsibility to capture the experience, for your benefit and the benefit of others.

If you are a manager of an attendee, I invite you to ask a simple question: what was your take-away from attending that seminar?

Incorporating the “take-away” question into the regular process of attending and reporting back on education opportunities prompts discussion around what insights were garnered from the investment.


What wisdom will you share from a recent development opportunity?






Start typing and press Enter to search