We're always curious to hear how our members and contributors tackle the challenges that the ever-changing world of L&D throws at them. We've got a wealth of experience and knowledge across the site, and what better way to showcase the diversity of our community than to get them to walk us through an average day?
Want to tell us about your way of working? Email us at [email protected], or let us know in the comments below.
First up is long time TrainingZone member and self-employed trainer Adrian Pitt, who set up his own company Develop-meant Training Consultants back in 2009. We've been enjoying his blogs on the site and were curious to know how he organises himself around the demands that a freelance role brings.
So, Adrian, run us through your day...
Starting the day with spam (and a meal deal)
09:00 - Once Jack, Lucas and Fred have been fed and watered (they’re not my children, but two cats and a dog!) it’s on to the laptop, praying there’s a million-pound contract sat winking at me, nestled between the Spam emails - it hasn’t happened yet...
11:00 - If I’m meeting a new client or delivering a training course I’ve not presented before, I’m probably still suffering from what I call 'The Night Before Syndrome'. Most trainers will relate to this; it’s that feeling of dread, coupled with nervous excitement and a sprinkling of self-doubt.
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13:00 - When the moment arrives, if I’m really stressed en route, I’ll eat my £3 Meal Deal lunch for breakfast. My Mini Cooper’s a dumping ground for sandwich cartons and crisp packets - it’s no reflection on the standard of cleanliness in my home, can I just add?
The flight attendant approach
15:00 – Usually the time on a training course where some people are flagging. I often liken myself to an air steward having to keep a gang of passengers happy on a long-haul flight. Stood at the front all smiles and 'eyes and teeth' (even when some of my 'customers' are getting highly strung!). It's not long to go before those crucial evaluation forms are going to be given out and completed; but just before I hand them out, I do a bit of a 'Bruce Forsyth' and tell the crowd: “You were so much better than last week’s audience!”
17:00 – Time for reflection, either on the train or in my Mini. Fifteen evaluation forms completed - fourteen happy delegates, and one piece of suspect feedback from a disgruntled participant. There’s me focussing entirely on their criticism, planning how I’ll seek my revenge!
19:00 – Wine time - when I’m at my most creative!
Now, tell us...
What are your main passions within L&D?
You’ve all been on the receiving end of terrible training, I'm sure. 'Death By PowerPoint' - a trainer who gets so wrapped up in what they’re saying that they forget their audience? I made myself a promise that I’d never be like that - I’d design and deliver training with impact; people would learn loads, have fun, and there would be an obvious return on investment.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
A great 'work-life balance', being freelance? That doesn’t happen for quite some time, trust me! If, like me, you’re from the corporate 9am to 5pm world, going self-employed is a shock to the system.
I'd say, seeing people grow in confidence. Reading evaluation forms where practitioners say they’ve laughed lots and learnt loads! Job done.
What one thing would you improve?
I need to get better at planning. When I’m busy - I call them my 'Downton Abbey Years' - I have a role to play, I’m in almost every scene and I’m confident I’ll be around for the long-term. However, what happens when my contract comes to an end? I suppose, like any actor or actress, being in charge of my own destiny, I should be looking to my next job? I could do better in this respect…
One tip you’d pass on to your peers?
Can I have two top tips? First, to my fellow trainers: No 'Death By PowerPoint'. Second, to Training Managers: Consider us smaller providers, where the spotlight is on quality and the personal touch. Any more ignored emails, and Fred, my Boston Terrier, is coming to get you!