Professional Development That Works
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
Most of us know by now that everyone learns differently: some of us are visual or auditory, reading/writing or kinesthetic. But if you close your eyes and think of professional development, what comes to mind? I’m willing to bet you see a conference first: rooms of attendees quietly watching a presentation.
Don’t get me wrong: conferences are important and irreplaceable, but an organization’s talent bench is deepened greatly when engaging and practical trainings are added to the mix. What do these trainings look like?
- They include individual and group exercises so that each participant expands their style and approach.
- They mix different skill levels in groups so mentoring and experience can be shared.
- They invite team members with creative approaches to share their strategies, because there are so many ways advancement officers can be successful.
- They use role plays to support core concepts, and to again expand style and approach. It’s one thing to talk about something, quite another another to put it into action.
Equally important is to not let your investment in these trainings end when the session is over. Build key topics into staff meetings. Ask how these new tools are being deployed. Create additional exercises to reinforce key messages and to ensure these new tools become habits.
There are other easy opportunities to reinforce learning:
- Sending someone to a conference? Have them share core concepts at an upcoming staff meeting. Encourage them to deliver this content in creative ways, such as skits or games.
- Sending multiple team members to the same conference? Ensure they attend different sessions, and that every member is accountable to bring new information back to the team.
- Create a professional development repository, and put materials into a shared drive so everyone can access.
- Pair webinars with a facilitated lunch-and-learn debrief discussion.
If you’re looking for a new approach to training, contact KDD Philanthropy. We customize exercises, role plays, and leave-behind tools to meet the needs of all of your employees and ensure your return on investment goes beyond your day of training.