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Do Breakfast Seminars and Workshops have a purpose?

According to Nick Wreden an "informational seminar is a way to educate customers about your services and products, as well as to market yourself through entertainment, handouts, and to generally show that your company has a wealth of knowledge to offer."

So this makes sense form a marketing point of view, but do these seminars actually help us to learn?

I believe they do! Being in a room filled with like-minded people possibly leads to the most effective informal learning there can be. It is however important to keep a few pointers in mind:

  • Focus on the value those attending will be able to walk away with - template, tool, technique.

  • Target the audience. Begin by asking yourself, who am I trying to reach? What are the needs of the people who might attend? What are their hopes and fears?

  • Keep everyone awake. According to one rule of thumb, seminars should be 60% education and 40% entertainment. Boring is never good and especially not at this kind of event!

  • Evaluate properly afterwards not only in terms of how you have done but also in terms of a self-evaluation of a before-and-after knowledge on the topic.

See more about this in "Running Successful Seminars," Harvard Management Communication Letter, Vol.4, No. 10, October 2001.

Webinars:a high-tech, low-travel alternative?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia: "Web conferencing refers to a service that allows conferencing events to be shared with remote locations. Most vendors also provide either a recorded copy of an event or a means for a subscriber to record an event."

We are all aware of the rising frustration of getting people together for a training event. Webinars is a definite option to increase interest and decrease frustration! There are however always a few problems involved in using alternatives to traditional approaches.

Seminars should be 60% education and 40% entertainment - Nick Wreden

TRAINING GAME: Icebreakers for conferences

We all know how hard it can be to get a conference off to a good start. All the hard work and arrangements all seem to hang in the balance of those first few minutes of the opening! Ice breakers are particularly well suited for beginning a speech. As the name implies, they "break the ice," help everyone relax, and generally set the tone for the day. Ice breakers can take various forms but those that seem the most popular and effective are those that promote interaction, sharing, and team building.

The most important thing to remember however that your icebreaker remains in line with the main theme or topic of the event/session. They also need to be content appropriate to the group as well as be appropriately timed. Knowing when to insert an ice breaker requires sensitivity and creativity.

Objective: Break big groups into smaller groups.

Resource: Comic Strips

Players: Small to large groups

Select a number of multiple-frame strip cartoons. Cut them into individual frames. Place the frames in a container. Each participant picks one comic frame from the container. After everyone has a frame, the participants begin to search for others with the same comic strip sequence. After the participants have found everyone in their group, they must arrange themselves so that the sequence of frames is in correct order. Upon completion of sequence, the newly formed group sits down together. Great game to break large group into smaller groups.

Objective: Assess what the participants have on their mind!

Resource: Magic Wand

Players: Small to medium groups

You can use almost any stick as a magic wand…even a toilet plunger! You can imbue the wand with any sort of power in which you might have an interest. For example, the wand can change any aspect of your work. The wand is passed around the room, and the participants explain what three things they would use the wand to change about their work, or whatever the facilitator wishes to stress. The wand can also be used to influence the behaviour of other people. A participant can point the wand at a person and the person has to follow the movement suggested by the wand.


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