7 Tips for Planning a Great Corporate or Customer Training Session
Struggling to grab — and keep — participant attention during training sessions? These tips will help you create a corporate or customer training session that engages attendees from start to finish.
Training is a crucial part of every employee’s or customer’s experience. In fact, 68% of employees say a training and development policy is the most important one that a company can have.
As for customers, 63% of customers say that onboarding and training are an important consideration in whether they make the decision to purchase a product or service in the first place, according to Wyzowl research.
But it can be a challenge to truly capture and keep someone’s attention. So, how do you plan a training session that strikes the perfect balance between engaging, entertaining, and informative?
We hope this article will help take the stress out of planning an effective corporate or customer training session — no matter the topic or goal.
What Internal Training Sessions Are
Internal training sessions are led by in-house professionals to help employees, partners, or customers learn and develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.
Corporate training sessions can cover almost any topic. Here are a few:
- Professional development
- Security, HR, or legal compliance
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- New products or services
- Process or workflow improvements
- Company updates or change management
- Team building and collaboration
- Customer onboarding
The Benefits of Training Sessions
Although training requires time and resources, it’s well worth the investment. In addition to ensuring transparency, here are some other benefits of training sessions:
- Encouraging professional development
- Helping employees with digital upskilling or reskilling
- Improving performance and productivity
- Increasing employee engagement
- Creating a more inclusive and comfortable environment
- Boosting employee and customer retention rates
- Building customer loyalty and satisfaction
In fact, Wyzowl found that more than 90% of customers believe that the companies they buy from “could do better” when onboarding and training customers. On the employee side, according to a LinkedIn workplace survey report, 94% of surveyed employees said that if a company invested in helping them learn, they’d be more likely to stick around.
At a time when retention and turnover are the top workforce management challenges named by 47% of HR professionals in the SHRM/Globoforce survey, we think trainings are worth the investment.
7 Tips for Planning a Training Session
If you’re ready to engage participants with a stand-out training session, look no further. These tips will help you plan a memorable, high-impact internal training event or customer training session.
1. Determine What Type of Training You Need
First thing’s first: You need a training topic. Conducting a needs or gap assessment with your employees or customers can provide insight into what people on the ground really need versus what you might think they need. This will make it much easier to upskill your team and help you to achieve your business goals.
Are your employees lacking any key skills? Are skill gaps specific to certain teams or departments? Are your customers struggling with a product or feature? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can build a training session (with a unique event theme!) that fills those gaps.
2. Consider Different Learning Styles and Neurodiversity
Different people learn in different ways. According to LinkedIn Learning’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report, 58% of surveyed employees said they like to study or train at their own pace.
It’s no surprise, then, that more than 30% of training professionals expect to implement custom learning paths in the near future. Custom learning paths give attendees the chance to engage with information in the way that works best for them.
- Some employees are visual learners while others are auditory learners.
- Some folks learn best in-person while others do better with virtual training.
- Some attendees are more comfortable with cameras off while others prefer cameras on.
To accommodate different learning styles, try to use a mix of the following:
- Graphics and other visuals
- Videos with subtitles
- On-demand content
- Hands-on exercises
- Self-paced activities
Additionally, if you’re asking employees or customers to register for your training event, be sure to include a question on the registration form about learning preferences. This will ensure you’re able to meet everyone’s learning needs.
3. Set SMART and CLEAR Learning Objectives
If you’ve ever logged onto a meeting that didn’t offer an agenda up front, you know how frustrating it can be going in blind.
Similarly, customers and employees want training programs with clear learning objectives. Be sure you set SMART and CLEAR goals for every training session.
- SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely
- CLEAR: Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, and Refinable
Instead of “this training will allow you to be a better sales person,” be specific and thoughtful. Here’s an example of a SMART and CLEAR goal for customer training:
After this training event, customers will be able to confidently and clearly use and integrate all new Q2 software features into their events for Q3.
Additionally, communicate the agenda and goals to your attendees before the event takes place so participants can prepare. Folks might want to write down questions or read up on a specific topic in advance to ensure they’re getting the most out of their training experience.
4. Think Beyond Educational Sessions
No one wants to sit in a conference room or in front of their computer for hours. Rather, participants want a rich event experience — yes, even at a training event!
It’s important to break up the monotony of training sessions with diverse and creative sessions. When you sprinkle immersive and entertaining activities throughout your program, you have a higher likelihood of keeping attendees engaged and giving them the opportunity to form deeper connections with other participants.
Here are a few ideas of sessions to include:
- Icebreakers or team-building activities
- Gamification and contests
- Virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) experiences
- Wellness or creativity breaks
- Networking opportunities
Not sure where to start? Check out “21 Creative Corporate Event Entertainment Ideas” for inspiration.
5. Create Compelling Training Materials
Training materials help attendees engage with content during the training session. Not only do participants want to be able to reference the materials and ideas they learned, but they also want to keep the momentum going from one training event to the next.
Create a few extra resources, such as videos, podcasts, or slide decks, to accompany each session. Additionally, remember to account for different learning styles. For example, if you create a training ebook, make sure that you offer an audiobook option for those who prefer auditory experiences.
6. Choose a Memorable In-Person or Virtual Event Venue
Whether your training takes place virtually or in-person, the venue can make a huge difference. Although the rising tide of in-person events is exciting, over the past two years many employees have gone fully remote, relocated, or simply prefer to attend events virtually.
A smaller meeting room from The Office Group. Source: HeadBox
Event management software can help you make training sessions memorable for every attendee by building thoughtful event experiences. When choosing a venue or platform, consider the following:
- Size: Can the venue comfortably accommodate everyone?
- Accessibility: Is the space accessible? Does the software offer diversity and inclusion features?
- Equipment: What equipment will you need to pull off a successful event (e.g., video production equipment)?
- Features: Do you need specific engagement features (e.g., 1:1 messaging, audience reactions, breakout rooms)?
Need more in-depth guidance for planning a hybrid training session? Check out our “Guide To Planning the Best Hybrid and Virtual Corporate Events.”
7. Gather Attendee Feedback to Improve Future Trainings
Most people managers, account executives, and customer success professionals and event ask for feedback after a training session. But attendees can provide valuable insight before and during a training session, too.
For example, G2 explains that surveying employees about upcoming sessions can help you identify popular topics and add them to your training calendar. And, if you get feedback during a training session, you can optimize your event in real-time.
Not sure what to ask? Check out “51 Event Survey Questions To Ask for The Best Insights.”
Start Planning More Memorable, Human Training Events
Ultimately, the challenge in training sessions is engaging and retaining participant attention. Luckily, the right partner can help you plan and execute a training session that captures your attendees’ attention and delivers meaningful growth opportunities.
Want to see how Bizzabo can help your next internal training succeed? Schedule a demo.