Your training experience or the pursuit of ‘Victory’
“Without training, they lacked knowledge. Without knowledge, they lacked confidence. Without confidence, they lacked victory.”Julius Caesar
Do you value your training experience ? Everyone smart enough to know who Julius Caesar is will probably understand that remaining static in one’s life or in one’s professional career is, at best, a sure path to achieving nothing of significance. At worst it could well mean regression and social demise.
If the latter frightens you then you should seriously consider getting some training experience ! And this is not only a job related concern. Most entrepreneurs I know of would tell you they only became truly successful after they realised they were their best asset in which to invest time and money. Even if you are not an entrepreneur you should invest in yourself. If you are still not convinced just spend five minutes browsing the internet. I am pretty sure you will soon enough stumble upon your typical internet self-help guru influencer who wants your business, badly !
We’ve all been there before. A lack of decent training generally appears on our long list of excuses why we may not get that exciting new job or achieve this dream we’ve been pursuing. Instead we should stop cooking silly excuses and get on with it. Because a properly suited training programme can make a big difference and help you reach your full potential. And hopefully that matters to you.
For instance, surely you have noted how so-called ‘self-help’ products have become unavoidable these days. It is all over the internet as well as on many book shelves in any decent bookstore. How did our ancestors manage without these, nobody knows. Self-help products can certainly help (pun intended) but it is first and foremost a very lucrative evergreen concept and it only works with those people that were already convinced for the need to act anyway and just needed a gentle nudge in the right direction. Although admittedly some famous authors are very good and their training material very powerful the market is flooded with too many opportunistic salesmen these days. They benefit greatly from this trend despite delivering very little value.
For the purpose of this blog post let’s focus on technically related professional training only as we could easily submerge ourselves with pages and pages of silly arguments would we take the risk of commenting on personal improvement ‘diets’ and ‘self-help’ training products instead.
When it comes to professional training of a technical nature the risk of stumbling upon a dramatically inadequate training offer is significantly lower however. Still the level of quality one can expect from such training varies significantly from one offer to the other within a similar price range. It is definitely not easy to navigate between the various options and it takes a great deal of research for an eager individual to make a choice. So how should you protect yourself from these uncertainties ? Well there are a number of things you can do:-
1 – Recommendations from trusted independent sources
From choosing which hotel or restaurant or where to spend our holidays to deciding on our next fancy car or washing machine we often rely on recommendations. We are surrounded by recommendations not to mention advertising. In recent years people have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing recommendations before making a decision to buy. And so should you. Training is no exception. But whose sources should you trust ?
Friends and colleagues at work are usually a good starting point. If they enjoyed a positive training experience they would probably recommend it to you and tell you to stay away from it if they didn’t. Comparison websites can also help although the more specific your training needs the less likely these website could actually help. If you are an employee and your company is a decent one they would have their own training suppliers you could benefit from on a regular basis. Although you won’t have any say in choosing the supplier bad press travels fast and smart businesses know when to listen to their people and make changes. Another straightforward option is to Google those companies that deliver the exact training that you require and find out if they have a testimonial section on their website. Get in touch and if those recommendations are genuine and have been made by real people you could probably ask if they could contact you to discuss their experience. If they don’t maintain testimonials on their website get in touch anyway and ask them about their credentials, how many people they train a year, how they record feedback and how they act on it and if they train corporate clients or individuals or both.
Some training companies will have no time for you: maybe because they are too big and too busy, because they have more demands than they can fulfil anyway or because they are a faceless corporation that pretend that they don’t need your business. Others, usually smaller SME, are more likely to talk to you as a real person, to help you in the process, to satisfy themselves this is the right training for your needs and to ensure all your relevant questions are answered before you give them your credit card details. This does not guarantee they are the right fit for you but it does considerably help with your decision process. And if, rather unlikely, you stumble upon a training SME that has no time for you then stay away from it ! Because that is a sign something rather unhealthy may be happening and you would be wiser not to get involved…
2 – Money back Guarantee Schemes
Once you are ready to make your choice, ask yourself what will happen to your hard earned cash if you decide to change your mind, or get stuck in traffic on the day the course starts or if your internet connection dies on you ? Do they reimburse advance payments of courses in full, do they charge you a non-refundable administration fee, what are their terms and conditions, are these fair, can you find better terms elsewhere ?…Can you go as far as starting the course and voluntarily quit before the end nevertheless because you believe it does not meet your expectations and still get some or all of your money back ?
Many online e-learning providers pretend to offer a ‘Money Back Guarantee – No questions’ asked scheme. Still I invite you to read the small prints carefully before you commit and book your course because it is not always as straightforward as it sounds unfortunately.
3 – Share your Story
So that’s it, you’ve taken the first step. You acknowledged it would probably be wise to get some decent training to enhance your career or attract new clients and beat the competition in the process. Then you did your homework, asked friends and colleagues, got in touch with a few suppliers and in the end made an informed choice based on the information available. ‘Victory’ is now in sight ! The worse that can happen is that you get disappointed by your experience. Not desirable but if you are a ‘half-full glass’ person your unpleasant experience may help others make a better choice so it is always valuable to tell your story. That way your bad experience won’t be a total waste and it could even be a priceless therapeutic experience for you 🙂
We are really interested in hearing about your past training experience. Feel free to share with the rest of us in the comments section below or on our LinkedIn company page. As a corporate training centre ourselves we certainly value your feedback and tips on what made your last training experience pleasant, valuable and memorable or quite the opposite, irrespective of who your training supplier was.