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Training is (often) useless

In a meeting with a potential client about delivering an incompany communication workshop I got asked the following question:

"Isn't training just useless?" 

He explains: "We've done communication workshops before and nothing really changed. After a few weeks everybody just does what they always did" 

I get this question a lot. And I always answer honestly:

"Yes. Most training workshops by itself are often useless"

Fortunately I also have an explanation and solution to this.

Because there are three simple aspects that can make a training workshop useless or a waste of money.
If you tackle these aspects early in the process, the workshop will actually be a great return on the organisations investment and provide the changes sort by the organisation.

The first aspect lies with the participants.
The second aspect lies with management.
And the final aspect lies with the training workshop itself.

The Participants

Most training workshops end up in the category 'Well meant initiatives'. Participants don't end up putting the theory into practice. Sometimes that's because they weren't motivated to do the training workshop in the first place. Sometimes it's because they didn't have clear learning goals to begin with. But more often its because participants don't practice the new found skills and return to there old work habits. Just like learning anything new in life it requires practice and commitment.


It's key that management is informed about one's learning goals and provides the opportunity to practice and support the new behavior. If this is not supported by management a training workshop can not just be useless but can even backfire. The employee may get frustrated and demotivated as a result.

The Training workshop

A lot of training workshops are designed to teach people tricks. They are typically non-confrontational and solely provide a lot of theory, examples and tips. Although its necessary to provide knowledge for skill development, a training workshop should contain more aspects to be truly effective.

So how does InterACT WA work?

InterACT WA always works with individual learning goals and will never deliver a workshop without having had a full intake with client and participants to determine a clear cause, outcome and goal for the training workshop. This will create insight into whether training is the right way to go.

All our training workshops are based on experimental learning and use role play actors. This means a lot of practice and a lot of feedback. This often continues with a follow up program after the training workshop with quick one on one coaching sessions in the working place with role play actors to keep the practice going.

Finally our workshops are impact full and confronting. No sitting back watching power point slides. Our programs go beyond providing theory and examples. We challenge old behaviors and dare to (respectfully) ask the hard questions.

All to accomplish what everyone wants in the end: A lasting change!

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