For some time now, I’ve been considering the idea of adding a training side to my business. Having now done a number of 4Sights for 4Networking meetings on “How to Write Right”, I’ve got to that awkward stage between considering and arranging which we call planning. And so I’m using this blog essentially to think aloud, though hopefully it may resonate with other people too.
Of course, the most basic question is what I’m going to train people about. Something to do with writing, of course, but that covers a range of topics. So far, I’ve done a twenty-minute whistle-stop tour of how to approach a piece of business writing, but I’m going to need more than that to offer a full training session.
I have ideas, but perhaps the obvious approach would be to find out what people most want to learn. So expect some time soon to receive an invitation to make suggestions — perhaps in the form of a survey. Or, of course, you could always make suggestions (legal and physically possible, please) in the comments here.
Delivery and Equipment
There are plenty of ways I could deliver training: at one extreme I could just stand and talk, at the other I could give everyone exercises and let them get on with it. Neither would make a satisfactory session, but where in between do I pitch it? I can think of various possible approaches:
- PowerPoint presentation — This is pretty much the default way of doing it and probably the way I’ll go. Obviously, this will mean buying or borrowing a projector and screen, and probably updating to a laptop made this decade.
- Flip-chart — The low-tech version, though it does have the advantage of allowing improvisation. Requires a flip-chart pad for each session, as well as a frame.
- Handouts — Of course the participants would want any PowerPoint slides in permanent form, though these could be physical handouts or sent later electronically. Alternatively, handouts could involve a few exercises. Requirements are a printer and lots of paper and ink.
Venue and Organisation
- Venue — The venue would have to be a pleasant space, well adapted to my needs, accessible and (at first, anyway) not too expensive. I do have one possibility, which I think would be a great place to have a training session, but other suggestions would be very welcome.
- Cost — What do I charge, and how do they pay me? Eventbrite seems to be the method of choice, so I’ll need to investigate how to get paid through it (I already know how to use it to pay).
- Refreshments — Either bring them myself or come to an arrangement with the venue.
- Organising the evening — How long do I go on for? Given that me talking straight on for too long wouldn’t be a good approach, should I divide the evening into themed segments with breaks in between? Or should I get someone else to contribute?
- Bums on seats — I’ll need as many ways as possible to publicise the event. Using all my networking channels, of course; sending out invitations to contacts; Tweeting, Facebooking and LinkedIning (not a real word, according to my spellcheck) to the maximum; perhaps getting leaflets put up in libraries. And as many other ways as I can come up with.
Pretty soon “planning” will need to give way to “organising”, so watch this space. In the mean time, all advice and suggestions are very welcome — including suggestions about what you’d most want to learn.