How To Get The Most From An All-Day Seminar

Planning to attend an all-day seminar or workshop? Try these tips to make the most of your upcoming training opportunity.

If your organization is planning to send you to an all-day training seminar, start planning now to maximize benefits.

If you think that attending a seminar requires no special effort on your part, think again. Spending a day away from your usual duties means you may get behind. And who couldn't find a day's worth of fun if you could use those hours for personal activities?

Since you must be away from your job and someone in your company is paying for you to be there, why not take advantage of this opportunity to learn all you can about the topic? Who knows, you might come away with a changed perspective or even some new skills that will make your job easier or more meaningful. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your seminar:

1. Get rested the night before. Don't skimp on sleep with a view to dozing during the session. Check in full of energy and feeling alert. That way you won't miss anything important and you even be able to contribute to the experience for others if volunteers are needed or if participants are asked to share their views or experiences in small group sessions.

2. Eat a healthy breakfast. Fruit and cereal make an ideal combination. Skip fat-laden foods and don't overdo the caffeine. Besides, you will probably be served snacks during the seminar. Choose a healthy lunch if possible; eat lightly otherwise. You don't want to nod off in the afternoon portion of the program.

3. Bring a notebook and a couple of pens unless these will be supplied. Read up on the topic if you have been advised to do so or if you know in advance what it will be. Prepare a list of questions for the speaker if time permits. Make the most of your opportunity to meet with an expert.

4. Dress comfortably. Wear clothes that can be layered so you can remove or add items in response to the room's temperature. Ask for the dress code in advance so you will fit in with other participants.

5. Take notes on the key points of the seminar. Don't attempt to copy every word the speaker shares. And don't include information that may appear on handouts. Record anecdotes, exercises, or insights you may have in response to the presentation.

6. Don't hesitate to ask questions or seek clarity. If you are unable to raise your hand during the speaker's presentation, wait for a break or the luncheon. Some presenters offer a specified question and answer period for this purpose.

7. Don't distract or be distracted. Whispering, joking, getting up and leaving the room, or speaking out during the session is rude. Save your comments for small group sessions or whole group discussions.

8. Ask about follow up. If the presenter does not distribute a list of recommended resources, ask if he or she will email one. Also plan to do additional research of your own as you seek further understanding of the topic while the presentation is still fresh in your mind. File notes in a handy place where you can reference them as needed.

Hopefully you will come away from the seminar with a renewed vigor toward the topic and your job. Perhaps you can email the presenter with a note of thanks. If your appetite for the topic was sufficiently whetted, you may even want to look for another session in the near future. Attending a seminar need not be an exercise in futility. Make it a meaningful opportunity as you invest time and energy to maximize results.

© High Speed Ventures 2011