We never stop learning from the minute we are born to the day we die. Whether what we learn is valuable or not is something that depends on our needs at the time. We carry on this learning from childhood to adulthood and adapt our skills according to the path we take, with the ability to learn dependant on our willingness and understanding.
For those providing training, whether parent or teacher, it is important to make the experience interesting and engaging. The more interesting the experience of learning becomes, the more we crave the knowledge and enjoy the whole experience of gaining additional skills.
When looking at our own industry it’s not difficult to say that financial services is by no stretch of the imagination a dry topic. Many of us would no doubt prefer to have a two hour lesson on improving our golf swing than sitting through a death by Power Point session on a topic such as the latest EU Directive.
With the changes in regulatory structure over the last few years and implementation of new rules on the giving of advice, continual training and development has become a necessary evil for financial services practitioners. Even though it’s necessary, event and training providers should take a moment to consider a few basics.
Top tips and reminders for event providers?
To make event and training sessions interesting then here are few simple reminders and tips when talking about financial services:
1. Remember financial services is a dry topic so make the session the opposite - It will make the whole day more interesting for all.
2. Where possible allow delegates to dress down if they choose, so they are comfortable and relaxed – after-all you want them to feel at ease.
3. Make sure you provide a clear agenda of the day/event and leave this up on display or in the delegates pack.
4. Move delegates around during the day – keeping delegates active keeps them stimulated – avoid musical chairs though and allow them to have a base desk where they can store their laptops and paperwork.
5. Allow for rest breaks.
6. Include fresh drinks and snacks on tables to keep delegates nourished – avoid noisy wrappers and crunchy apples though to avoid a cinema punch-up!
7. Make sure you have a strong Chairperson who can control the day especially timings.
8. Keep sessions short per trainer/speaker etc and stick to timings as financial services can be tough going – 20/30 minutes maximum.
9. If you can, use actors to role play or even training videos to impress the point – not so easy when talking about the latest EU Directive but useful when talking about business conduct, complaints and redress, financial crime and AML training etc.
10. If you or your speakers must use a Power Point Presentation make sure it’s no longer than 7 slides long and don’t just read out what’s on the slides. Use the slides as prompts – We’ve all groaned when the first slide says 1/100.
11. Also make slides interesting and clear and not cluttered and complicated with charts, graphs etc. – You don’t want delegates squinting to see what’s on the slides and trying to work out what your are talking about whilst also trying to deconstruct a graph and then they miss something important.
12. Make sessions interactive and fun - Humour when talking about dry topics is useful…don’t overdo it though as no one wants to listen to a would-be stand-up comedian who really has not mastered the art of comedy.
13. If providing a webinar then make sure the facilitator knows how to use the mute keys for everyone else – No one wants to know you are working from home but they will if they here the kids screaming and the dog barking.
14. Provide support information at the end of each session and allow time for questions.
15. Make sure you spell out the learning points from the day in a proper conclusion and don’t just end the last session in mid-air by saying “and that wraps up the day”.
16. Provide follow up contact details and a delegates list as these are great for networking opportunities.
None of the above is rocket science but try to remember what training and lessons you have enjoyed in the past and try to encompass this in to training sessions and events you may be running in the future.
Just because financial services is a dry topic it doesn’t mean the event has to be!