The Problem With Most Training Workshops

The scene: Marco Island, Florida. My family hanging out in our rented tiki hut on the beach. My wife and I relaxing on lounge chairs. My sons playing happily in the sand. The four of us eating lunch delivered by the resort’s beach jeep.

That was one of the best days we’ve ever had as a family.

The specifics are a bit hazy by now—Did I have the crab cake sandwich or a salad for lunch?—but the magic of the day lives on.

Memories tend to work that way. As time passes, details fade, and general impressions remain. While that works beautifully for vacations, it works poorly for training workshops intended to build long-lasting skills.

We work with clients keen to push their public speaking or media interviewing abilities to a new level. Forming a positive general impression of the training day is good—enjoying the experience of learning likely leads to better outcomes—but it’s not enough. Unlike vacation memories, the entire purpose of a training workshop is to make sure the details stick.

Having attended dozens of workshops throughout my career, I’m way too familiar with what I’ve dubbed the “One and Done Syndrome.” It’s a condition you develop after attending a training workshop, forgetting much of what you’ve learned, and failing to hear from your trainers ever again.

As an example, I attended a two-day communications skills workshop last year. I learned a few new things about myself that I didn’t know coming in. That was helpful. Since the session, I’ve received dozens of emails from the company—but every single one of them was a marketing message trying to get me to sign up for another session.

Not one was designed to ensure that the material I learned stuck.

I’m not throwing stones. I’ve been guilty of leading workshops that operate the same way. It is satisfying to lead a workshop that people enjoy and feel good about. However, I’ve concluded that we haven’t done as well with the second part of the equation—the long-term follow-up that ensures growth over time.

We started Throughline to solve that problem. The days of “one and done” are over. Our firm’s promise is to deliver a great workshop followed by rigorous follow-up that takes several forms:

  • READING: 10 in-depth clients-only reports, delivered one per month following your training workshop, that are intended to help you reinforce and build upon the skills you learned.
  • LISTENING AND ASKING: An invitation to a live annual webinar, during which you can refresh the skills you learned, gain new techniques, and ask questions specific to your speaking situation.
  • DISCUSSING: A free one-hour phone or Skype call with one of our trainers within one year of your training, during which you can discuss an upcoming talk or interview or receive feedback on a presentation or interview you recently delivered.

Distributed in that way—over time and in different forms—you’re much more likely to remember and act upon what you learned. Your investment in yourself will pay dividends far greater than the one and done approach ever could.