June 2021 Leader Letter

Make the Most of Training

Find advice on how you can get the most out of attending training sessions or seminars.

By Andy Tonge

Training can be a fun and interactive experience that leaves attendees feeling empowered and ready to face the challenges presented to them. Whether you’re a professional looking to add skills to your toolbox or simply a Toastmasters leader looking to provide the best experience to members, you have probably participated in training programs throughout your life. Let’s take a look at how we can maximize the impact training has on us.

Keep an open mind

Perhaps the most important factor in any training is that participants come ready to learn and are open to the instruction. As leaders, being open to the training and showing a willingness to change is imperative. According to the Harvard Business Review, “…education and training gain the most traction within highly visible organizational change and development efforts championed by senior leaders.”

This is especially true for leaders within Toastmasters, who help provide the environment for members to learn and grow. Soon, Club Officer Training and Area and Division Director Training will happen around the world, with District Leader Training starting in late July. Each year, thousands of Toastmasters leaders attend these training programs, providing them with the valuable skills they will need to find success during their term in office. Clubs that historically have struggled to attract new members will be able to take lessons from the newly-created training sessions and implement changes, but only if the club’s leaders are willing to have an open mind.

Challenge yourself

Some trainings we attend may be required, even if it is on a topic we consider ourselves knowledgeable on. Instead of tuning out this training, it’s important to find value in it. This type of training provides an opportunity to refresh your knowledge on a topic, learn new best practices, or hear how others have found success.

For example, members who work in marketing professions might find that marketing in Toastmasters differs from their workplace. Instead of rejecting this training, maximize your return by finding value in how you can use the information learned. Hearing how others succeed may open your mind on a topic or find you new paths to your own success.

Be a full participant

As the saying goes, showing up is half the battle. Past that, it’s important to be prepared, even for training! Does your training have pre-work? Were you asked to read an article, book, or watch a video beforehand? Are you ready to take notes? Do you ask questions when you have them? Have you tried to remove as many distractions as possible before the training starts? You will get the most out of any training if you’re ready to be a full participant. Complete pre-work, be engaged during the session, and spend time to reflect on training and how you can use it to make a positive impact.

Follow this advice and you will be prepared to make the most out of your next training opportunity!

Additional Resources:

Club Officer Training Materials

Division and Area Director Training Materials

Training Basics