Back to School!
Have a plan for how you will put the learnings to use
I once worked for someone who thought training was pretty much a waste of time and money. When I finally got approval to attend a multiday conference, I knew I had to come back and "wow" him with the value our organization received for the investment.
My solution was to write up my report on the training (required) but not simply regurgitate my session notes. Rather, I quickly summarized each session and then divided my learnings into one of five categories, each identified with a graphic to make it "jump out" in the report. These categories were: Key Takeaway, Information, Action, Idea and Terminology (four new terms that I didn't know before the training and suspected my boss wouldn't know, either).
By sorting my notes into these categories, I not only convinced my boss that the training had been valuable, but I came home with an action plan. My "Action" items were for immediate implementation. "Idea" notes were for further thought and research. And "Key Takeaway" notes helped shaped my strategic thinking.
My system might not work for you, but devise your own system to make what you learn useful — to you and to your organization. This helps justify the training investment, both to your boss and to you.
As you head back to school, remember what Henry Ford said: "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." Enjoy staying young!
Pamela Barden is the creative juice and the copywriting machine behind PJBarden Inc. Pamela also serves on the FundRaising Success Editorial Advisory Board. You can follow Pamela on Twitter @pjbarden
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.