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TRAININGS vs. MEETINGS: How to Get Maximum Benefits from Both

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Trainings vs. Meetings

They may seem similar on the outside, but trainings and meetings are two very different animals when it comes to the attendee’s mindset. That’s why how you deliver them will determine their success. 

First, let’s define their key purposes. Meetings are generally to share—and in some cases, gather—information. Meetings should be used to communicate general company news or updates on company policies, processes, or procedures. They can be recurring or a one-off, depending upon the need, but your team should always be given as much advance notice as possible in order to mentally prepare.   

Trainings, on the other hand, should be specific to “skilling-up” your team members. They should be designed to focus on a particular outcome (increasing ticket sales, improving call taking, etc.) and provide the tools and information to achieve it. Because trainings are often interactive, they should always be scheduled in advance, so your team shows up with the right mindset. 

You may be wondering why mental preparation and mindset matter. The answer is simple: If you toss seeds on rock, nothing is going to take root. However, if seeds are planted in tilled soil, growth will be abundant. It’s the same concept as your team’s thought process. Unless you make a living from being in meetings and trainings all day, the thought of suddenly being called into a conference room without advance notice can be disruptive and downright scary. A negative impression can create a mental roadblock, and why would you want to impart important information to a closed mind?   

Tips for Successful Meetings and Trainings

With that in mind, here are some tips for running successful meetings and trainings: 

  • Unless it is a secret reveal, give attendees ample notice. Differentiate whether it’s a training or a meeting when you notify them. They evoke completely different mindsets, and that terminology alone is very powerful!
  • Set a start and end time, as well as have an agenda. Structure is key!
  • Identify the meeting subject from the get-go. The last thing you want is for team members to sit around waiting and confused. A negative group mindset can derail the entire event.
  • If the event is going to be long, do something to physically change the attendees’ state. Having their body do something different will reset the brain so that they can then consume the next component you want to share with them. Then you can bring them back mentally by saying, “Now we’re going to jump into…”
  • Allow time for questions. If all we do is spew for 30 minutes straight and don’t give any opportunity for thought-provoking questions, attendees may start asking others and/or tune out altogether. This is how miscommunication happens.
  • Stay true to your company’s culture. If your office is informal, don’t host a meeting with a super corporate atmosphere, and vice versa. This can create the ultimate mindset obstacle, unfamiliarity. 

Combining a Meeting with a Training

Lastly, you may ask, “What if I have to combine a meeting with a training?” 

The downside to meshing meetings and trainings together is that you send mixed signals. However, there may be times when combining the two is necessary. For example: You’ve decided to change your company’s software. You have a meeting to roll it out and plan to add in some basic training at the end. To transition attendees’ mindset from passive to interactive learning, make it known when the meeting portion ends. Provide a short break, if possible, and take a minute to change their positioning. As with long events, have attendees stand up, do jumping jacks, stretch, touch their toes, etc.   

At The Blue Collar Success Group®, we subscribe to the acronym I.W.A.Y, which means I Do, We Do, And You Do. All of those are vital to ensure that the training was interpreted correctly. 

Remember, the purpose of a meeting is to inform, while the purpose of a training is to elevate.  That means the outcomes are going to be different. In his bestselling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen R. Covey wrote “Start with the end in mind.” When you have an audience of team members, you have an opportunity to inform or elevate. If you don’t know what result you want to achieve, neither will they. 

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Chris Crew

Posted In: ACCA Now, Employee Training, Leadership & Planning, People Management, Soft Skills

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