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

Is Your "Bun" Out of Balance?

client contact after training needs to match contact before training

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Imagine the training projects you coordinate with your internal clients, the seminars and online courses and other events and activities you prepare and deliver for various departments and functions in your organization, as some type of sandwich, even a hamburger. The activity or event itself is in the middle of the sandwich, and above and below the "meat" are the bun or pieces of bread that make it a sandwich.

Now, think of the two halves of that bun as the interactions you have with your internal client before and after the event.

Before the event, you may have a lot of conversations with your client. You need to identify needs and objectives, as well as constraints and options. You work out costs, scheduling, locations, delivery channels. You design training and revise it to better and better address their needs.

Let's think of all that effort as the bun on the bottom, since it is the foundation of the training service you will provide to your internal client.

Then let's look at the interactions you have with your internal client following delivery as the bun on top.

Step back, look at your training sandwich, and ask yourself, "How out of proportion is the training bun?" I wouldn't be surprised if you saw a huge, thick slab of bread, with a reasonably substantial filling on top of it, and a razor-thin bun on top.

If someone served you a sandwich that looked like that, in a restaurant, you would not find it very appealing. You might well send it back.

And you should not find it very appealing when you encounter it in your professional training work.

It is fair to say that the bun will always be a bit lopsided. It is just a lot easier to get your client's attention leading up to the training, and it is more of a struggle to get them to sit down with you after the fact. And there are probably more options to be considered, more decisions to be made, on the front end rather than on the follow up.

But that does not mean you shouldn't make the effort to grow that top bun a bit. You probably cannot make the two pieces of bread equal, but you could make the imbalance between them a little less extreme.

One of the best strategies is to schedule those follow up discussions before the training even takes place, to get that commitment well in advance. There is plenty to discuss, including:

  • whether the training had the desired impact;
  • whether additional follow up should be conducted when the training has had more time to deliver that impact;
  • whether there are practical delivery issues that could be improved upon;
  • whether there are design issues or actual training content that was omitted, or that was included but not that useful;
  • what steps the client, the management of the client department, could take to ensure maximum impact of the training;
  • what the training staff learned from working with the participants, what feedback they gained about processes and systems and work behaviors, that should be passed along to management.

It does take extra work to build a heftier bun on top of your training sandwich. And it does produce better results for your and for your clients.

© 2012 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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