Prisoner, Vacationer or Professor – which one are you?

Try to rememer the last workshop or training course you had. Got it? Great. Now try to remember how did you feel about being there.  Were you happy to get some time away from your “normal job”? Or perhaps you would rather have been doing more productive work- catching up on email, making that important call or preparing that report?

In the McKinsey report Getting more from your training programs  the authors cited three types of people who attend training course; prisoners, vacationers and professors. Prisoners would rather be somewhere else yet have been forced to go. Vacationers are effectively “on holiday”. Professors want to show off how bright they are.

In the process of setting up presentationgym, I have had the opportunity to talk with many trainers and coaches, and these generalisations seem to hold true. The one group however which demands the most attention. The prisioners. These are the sales people who would rather be closing deals. The busy people who don’t see the point in being taught stuff they already know (while their in-boxes fill up). The people who have forgotten most of what they learned at the last workshop and have no reason to believe the next one will be any different. Not a great starting point.

Prisoners illustrate clearly the problem of Return on Investment. Not only is the training investment less likely to „stick“ and provide a return, but the company also looses an employee for the course duration. Time when they could have been doing productive work.

This is one of the reasons behind the revolution in learning which is currently going on. Training needs to be relevant, timely, accessbile and whenever possible, fun and challenging.  It is also one of the reasons why we started presentationgym. To give people the tools, support and inspiration to train their communication muscles. Whenever and wherever they are. Whatever their current skill level.

I am fascinated about the process of giving people the discipline and tools to put what they learn into practice. You can check out the report at their site. You may need to log in, however there are worst places to get information than from the McKinsey Quarterly. Personally, I think it is worth signing up.