Tuesday, April 17, 2012

First Impressions

I once attended a training session where the instructor was late in arriving to the session, was in a bad mood due to whatever it was that made him late in the first place and was a little dishevelled, also likely due to whatever made him late.  My impression of him and of the training was negative;  I didn’t like this guy and my thoughts of the training was that I wasn’t going to get anything out of this experience.

It turns out I was wrong.  By the end of the first day it was clear this guy knew his stuff and the material was excellent.  I learned a great deal and it changed the way I felt about the subject matter. 

The expectation we put on instructors and facilitators is extremely high.  We expect that they have all the answers, show up an hour early and stay and hour late to answer questions, are perfect in appearance and dress, and are immaculately groomed even when the learners in a session are sometimes more than casual.  We hold them to a higher standard. 

I used to ship my documentation, equipment, and student guides to a location in advance of my arrival.  This was one little thing that you could avoid having to chase after.  That said, what is your contingency if your materials do not arrive.  What do you do?

All I can say is plan for the normal and the abnormal.  Ask yourself these types of questions as you are preparing.  “What happens if my materials don’t arrive in advance of the training?”

Having contingencies can make you look professional and demonstrate to your customer that you can roll with the punches.