I daresay that 90 percent of seminars that I have attended in the Philippines are subject-centered. Attendees drink on a firemen’s hose; lecturers try to “cover” 300 text-heavy slides in a day. It is as if lecturers measure the value they provide based on the amount of information and data they dump.
On the other hand, people who are used to these seminars also expect lecturers to dump mountains of information. At the end of these seminars, participants expect to get a copy of the slides so they have something to “review.”
Of course, some demand a better learning experience. You can find the 10 percent that provides better learning opportunities when you go interview training providers.
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There are better alternatives to seminars. Use them to provide faster, better, and sometimes cheaper learning opportunities to your employees.
You can get the knowledge that matters in 90 minutes. In webinars, you can do away with nice-to-have-but-not-necessary activities typically done in seminars to ensure that people don’t get bored.
You don’t need to advertise your overflowing coffee. You don’t have to prepare an icebreaker and three energizers. You don’t have to prepare jokes to keep those who are bored.
One problem with seminars is the thinking that you have to hold it from 8 to 5. People start to get bored after 17 minutes. Why expect them to stay alert in 8 hours.
Lecturers are forced to be brief and concise. They trim unnecessary information. And because you get great lessons for a shorter time, webinars tend to be cheaper.
Because many of us are used to 8-hour seminars, there is a wrong belief that a two-hour webinar provides 1/4 value.
I am not saying that all webinars are equal. You don’t expect the boring lecturers to become more effective when they become webinar presenters.
Most of us are newbies when it comes to using webinars as a platform.
Keep this in mind: if you want to learn knowledge that matters, 120 minutes is enough. An excellent webinar speaker knows that shorter is often better.
Less than five percent of those who enrolled in online courses are finishers. I am talking about many of the online courses offered by marketers, so you get something expensive that they provide. Thousands of people enroll in free online courses because they are free.
I am not saying that free online courses do not work. Many of these courses work. What does not work are those online courses that do not offer solutions.
I have enrolled in Coursera, Novoed, Philanthropy University, and some agencies of the United Nations. I took premium (paid) online courses offered by Linkedin and CreativeLive.
I will try TESDA courses one of these days. Finishing them will help you get better-paying jobs.
I recommend that organization design their online courses. You can use these courses again and again. If you need my help, give me a call.
Workshops work because the focus is on acquiring new skills. There are multi-day workshops, but the more effective workshops are shorter ones meant to build mastery. Workshops are like going to the gym. You develop your skill muscles one day at a time.
Some seminars are sold as workshops because the sessions are interactive. True, workshops are interactive and engaging. But that can be said of all practical learning opportunities. Seminars focus on getting knowledge that matters, and workshops focus on helping you master new skills.
Coaching is time-consuming, but coaching is ten times more effective than seminars when done correctly and consistently.
You can provide one-on-one coaching to employees. That’s ideal since individual employees have unique needs. There are times that group coaching works too.
The purpose of coaching is to improve performance.
Performance problems are usually caused by lack of knowledge, limiting beliefs, wrong attitude, or lack of skills.
When employees lack knowledge, you can send them to seminars, give them a book to read, a youtube video to watch, or demonstrate to them. When the problem is the attitude, you engage them in courageous conversations. When the problem is a lack of skills, you mentor them.
If an organization has a coaching culture, you won’t have to send employees to classroom training all the time. Your company will save bushels of money, and you will solve performance problems your way.
Among these four alternatives to seminars, I recommend that you pay more attention to building a coaching culture.
After the pandemic, you will have more opportunities for a workshop. A 90-minute workshop is enough to help people acquire one crucial skill.
Instead of seminars, consider webinars and online courses. These are cheaper and more accessible.