Ten survival tips for CPD training

Ten survival tips for CPD training

By Beth Pipe

In my first blog I talked about CPD Training Prisoners and, whether or not the SRA change their requirements regarding CPD points, there may well come a time that you find yourself on a training course wondering what on earth you’re doing there.  But training courses aren’t just about the training, so I’ve put together a few helpful guidelines to help make the day pass a little less painfully for all involved.

  • First up don't hold the trainer responsible – it is highly unlikely that it's their fault you've been sent along.  They're as much of an innocent victim in all this as you are.
  • Stop being mad and start thinking.  If you insist on spending the entire day in a petulant sulk then you really are unlikely to learn anything.  Seeing as this day away from the office is now inevitable, what can you do to make the most of it?  Reread the course content (or read it for the first time) and start to think about how it could possibly apply to your role.
  • Why are you viewing the training as a punishment?  Very few managers set out to punish people by maliciously booking them onto expensive training courses so, although they may not have properly briefed you they are, at least, investing in you.
  • Be honest with yourself.  Are you 100% certain that you know absolutely all there is to know about the given subject?  I've been in this line of work for over 19 years now and I'm pretty sure there is still plenty for me to learn.  Even Socrates recognised he had much to learn when he said "All I know is that I know nothing".
  • Remind yourself the business will survive if you're not there for the day.  Many delegates complain that there's so much going on back at the office that they don't have time to attend a training course.  Doesn't stop many of them taking holidays though.  And if your work gets that backlogged during just one day or your team really is that unable to cope without you then perhaps there's something you could learn after all.
  • What else could you get from the course?  Maybe the content truly is at the wrong level or irrelevant to your role, so what else could you get out of the day?  Well, networking springs to mind; if nothing else the course should provide you with the opportunity to meet and talk with other professionals within a similar field.  "It's not what you know, it's who you know" has never been truer than it is now, so get mingling and start connecting.
  • Improve your PR.  How do you want others to perceive you?  Trust me, other delegates pick up very quickly on a sulker.  I recently had two "prisoners" on a course who huddled together at the back, glared at me throughout, sniggered and whispered whenever they got the chance and, despite my very best efforts, didn't engage with anyone else on the programme.  Hard to believe they are managers.  The other delegates clocked it immediately.  Hardly a great impression to be making on others considering you never know who knows who and who might be important for your next career move.
  • What could you contribute?  Perhaps you are an expert in your field and maybe the course is beneath you, but don't assume that's the same for everyone else in the room.  You'll gain a greater amount of respect by contributing appropriately and sharing your experiences during discussions and activities.
  • Don't stop others learning.  You may have been sent and you may feel that you have nothing to learn, but disrupting the session with moans, groans and inappropriate smart answers doesn't help those who are genuinely there to learn new things.  Perhaps have a quiet word with the trainer prior to the start of the session to explain your situation.  Any trainer worth their salt should be able to accommodate learners of different levels and help you turn the experience into something more positive.
  • As Paul McGee puts it "Shut Up and Move On" (SUMO). Take responsibility for where you find yourself, behave appropriately and get the most out of every situation.  Deal with the situation appropriately and you may even end up enjoying the experience.

Well, I hope some of that helps.  At the very least the course will probably look good on your CV because, let's face it, who wants to continue working for a manager who sends people on courses without discussing it with them first?


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About the author:
Beth is a learning and development consultant with over 19 years experience working solely within HR and L&D. Beth has worked both in the UK and internationally with a number of high profile law firms including Trowers and Hamlins, Kingsley Napley, Bird & Bird and Shoosmiths.