If you’ve been on any training course, whether its to upgrade your computer skills, improve your presentation skills, or increase your knowledge of your own organisation, there are several things that you can do to ensure you retain the information, and make the most of training.
Use it or lose it
If you have just learnt how to turn your documents into a masterpiece, or you’ve learnt how to take ten business development techniques and turn them into sales, you dramatically improve your chances of success by practising your new skills within seven days. It is important to create the opportunity to do this. One way that many find helpful is to commit to following a training event with a presentation to their colleagues on their learning from that training. They discuss what they have learnt, how this learning applies to their work, and how they think their workmates might benefit from using these skills.
Fake it 'till you make it
Incorporating any new skill into your working life requires a bit of effort and a lot of practise. At first you’ll feel a bit apprehensive about doing things differently. We’re all creatures of habit and it is tempting to go back to our old ways and ignore any new ideas. The trick is to start small and fake confidence. No one will know you’ve never done a high-tech proposal before or never started a presentation with a high impact anecdote - only you do. So fake it ‘till you make it and soon you’ll be doin’ it for real.
Engage in post event re-runs
The in vogue term for this is being a ‘reflexive practitioner’. Educational psychologists Costa and Liebmann suggest that there are four phases in planning to be a good practitioner:
- Pre active;
Lets say you’ve completed a training workshop on presentation skills. Following training you would think about how you might use your new knowledge ahead of your next presentation (preactive phase). Then, during your presentation, you’d think about what was going well, and what you needed to refine (inter-active phase).
After the presentation you can conduct your post event re-run on what worked well, and what you can improve on another time (reflective phase), and then you are ready to plan how you will introduce these changes in the future (projective phase).
Some of this you do almost by instinct, sometimes it requires a little more effort to utilise your new skills.
Next time you learn some new skills, follow these steps to become a reflexive practitioner and make the most of your training.