The world is filled with bad training programs. I see them all the time in my inbox. And based on so many flawed examples, I’ve compiled this list—the seven deadly sins of professional association training programs:
1. They’re created by people who don’t understand education and training. There’s a reason education schools exist—teachers learn something about learning modalities and how to communicate material in a way that it can be retained. Many association training programs are just, “let’s put a smart guy in the room and let him tell folks what to do.” That’s not training. That’s an ego trip you’re inviting members to attend.
2. They’re not timely. The best trainings often have a “just in time” element to them—explaining new regulations as they are about to go into effect, for example. The worst trainings appear to be taking place at the time that makes sense for the organizers. A tax advice seminar on April 16thdoesn’t help me much.
3. They’re impossible to get to. And I don’t just mean physical location. By now, every association should have online training as part of its offerings. If you need help building your online training capabilities, an association management company can help.
4. They’re priced wrong. Pricing should have some relationship to the market. For example, what are the prices of competitive programs? Is there a monetary benefit for me in taking the training? Often, the pricing strategy seems to be, “$199 sounds like a good number…”
5. There’s not enough information for me to decide if I should go. Sometimes the extent of information made available to me about a prospective training is a title, instructor name, date and location. Hmmm…I could use a bit more. Remember in college when you could check out the course description and syllabus before you decided to take a course? Besides, if you can’t offer these items, you’ve probably already committed the first sin on the list.
6. There are better sources out there. One thing many organizations haven’t realized is that the Internet—and to an extent cheap air fares—have eliminated their geographic monopolies. There was a time when my local association’s programs were all I could choose from. But if I’m considering a webinar, I can get that just as easily from an organization in London as one in New London, CT. So associations need to make sure their training is truly world-class.
7. The sign-up process turns me away. Sometimes I’ll get all the way to the finish line—I read the program, think I should go, and attempt to sign up—only to be confronted by a giant turnoff like, “Please fax us your registration form.” I’ve encountered training sign-ups that ask me to email my credit card number, along with countless other annoyances that just aren’t customer friendly. If your training’s sign-up process is anything less than seamless, you should get help from an association management company like ours, or from a company that provides registration software.
But whatever you do, don’t make it hard for me to be your customer—after all, you cleared the first six hurdles already.
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