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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

The Power Of Automated Follow-up

put yourself in your participant's shoes through this demonstration

The concept of regular follow-up contact is easy to grasp, intellectually. It is also easy to underestimate, in terms of impact.

The best way to get a feel for what this can do is to try it yourself. I have prepared a series of "messages" that might follow up a course (classroom or online) to help participants apply what they learned when they get back to their normal environments.

Got a Plant You Don't Like?

Imagine that I teach a popular four-hour course called, "How to Kill Your Houseplants!" In this course I give participants ideas about how to get rid of plants they don't like, especially when they live with others and can't just openly trash the bush. Good for home or office!

After the seminar, it might be hard to get started on that first planticide. Often, people are overwhelmed by what has piled up while they were away at training, they get busy, and they fall back into their old ways before they have a chance to practice, and strengthen, new habits.

A little bit of contact — just brief, regular nudges following the event — can make a huge difference, as you can see by . . .

Experience It for Yourself . . .

You can easily play the part of a participant in my imaginary course on "How to Kill Your Houseplants!"

Assume that you have taken my four-hour seminar, and that I have your e-mail address. I have prepared a series of messages that will be sent out by my assistant to poke you into action.

I've chosen to send these out, for the most part, at weekly intervals. These messages will:

  • Remind you, by their very arrival, that you took the course. That helps you overcome that overwhelmed feeling and remember that you learned this stuff for a reason, that you want to use it.
  • Give you practical tips for getting started, small first steps that will draw you back into the subject matter.
  • Provide additional techniques and resources to extend what was covered in the original seminar.

To walk through the series, just take this link to Message #1 (will open a new browser window).

All of this is Easily Automated/Delegated

There is no reason that an assistant couldn't deliver these messages at prescribed times, to everyone on a class list, at designated intervals. (There are even ways to automate e-mailings by having participants sign up for an "autoresponder".) It makes little difference whether you are following up after a live class, a regional conference, or online training.

The trick is to prepare the content in advance and design the delivery schedule and system. Once the messages are created, they can be used over and over as new people complete your courses.

Once it is all set up, participants receive encouragement, reminders, and helpful tips that extend learning and make it much more likely that they will actually use what they learned. They get the right messages, in the right order, with the right timing, for maximum impact on their learning.

And it takes very little in the way of resources to produce that enhanced impact.

A Few Tips

  • Again, this kind of extended contact could be either preparatory or follow-up, or both.
  • It works best when you create the extended contact material at the same time you create the rest of the course or event content.
  • Contact could be by phone, in person, or mailed. It could be delivered by an assistant (on staff or outsourced — a great job for a "virtual assistant"). Or it could be automated.
  • A longer discussion of these options is found on the Case Study page, and
  • You can watch and hear a narrated PowerPoint presentation on this topic here.

© 2007-2008 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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To Jump Right to the Simulation . . .

Think Pieces

Where's the Bun?

Case Study

Extended Contact Article

Narrated Presentation

Play Along: See the Follow Up Series