If you are like most business owners you are inundated with pitches for training, workshops and seminars to attend. They tout things like:

Learn the 7 Proven Ways to Grow Your Sales

Create a Culture of Success and Overcome

Obstacles One Day to Greatness

Attend this one-day leadership institute to interact with other women business owners and learn from industry and business development experts

It’s not that I don’t want to learn new things, grow my business or network with interesting people but my days are packed. As a result, I am really picky about “learning opportunities.” Here are a few of the things I consider.

Relevant Content: Many of these sessions are so generic that I could learn more doing some research on my own. They have really catchy titles which are linked to business challenges or pain points but depth of information is often limited and not specific enough to be worth my time. I am looking for content that is current, as well as relevant to my position and industry. I also need information that is actionable. Can I put at least two or three of the things I learn into practice immediately? Often, the content of sessions is a thinly veiled sales presentation. The session is more about trying to sell me consulting, products or programs rather than content that was promised.

Time Invested: I am willing to spend the time but often the content is stretched out to fill a morning or afternoon when a two hour power packed session would be better. I want to know specifics about how the time will be allocated; lecture, activities, question and answer?

Credible Source or Organization: Too often individuals who present are “self-made” experts. By that I mean that they have developed a talk or seminar but their knowledge is not based upon substantive experience. I like to see someone who has actually rolled up their sleeves and done the work. Perhaps they owned a business or were in the C-Suite of a business. Do your homework to see if the presenter has the credentials and don’t rely on testimonials that are not directly attributed to a named individual and company. If the event is sponsored by a credible organization it is likely they have done the due diligence. Events sponsored by the Small Business Administration www.sba.gov are one place to start. Local colleges and universities also have a wide variety of programs focused on the business community. You might consider online resources. My company subscribes to www.lynda.com which has a huge library of programs and there are other services like this one which make learning convenient and affordable.

Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 80 or 20. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

We should never be too busy to learn but you do want to choose the best opportunities because they will help keep you and your business fresh.


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