20 Dogmas of Corporate Training

  1. Be obscenely early. If the training is at 9am, get there a week ahead of time and arrest anyone else who wants to use the room.
  2. Prepare like a madman. It don’t matter if you’ve run the session 100 times in the past week — prepare like one wrong move will get you investigated by the MACC. Oh, if it’s the first time you’re running a particular show, you know what to do: Get a divorce, leave your house, close your Facebook account, dump your phone, check into a cave and stay there until you receive a glowing revelation from Apocalypse himself that you’re ready to go.
  3. Skip the “Let’s keep this session interactive” nonsense; if you’re a participant and you hear a trainer say that, start a mutiny of silence.
  4. Ban all mobile phones. Alternatively, make your session more interesting than the chat-groups on your trainees’ WhatsApp
  5. Get the music and speakers ready; I once attended an Introduction to GST workshop which could’ve totally used a dash of Taylor Swift or, given the participant-demographic, Elvis Presley
  6. Acid test for whether these 7–8 hours are going to be worth remembering or not: Can you get a third of the folks to laugh with you within 10 minutes?
  7. Is there free-flowing coffee? There is only one correct answer to this.
  8. Proclaim you’re a MacArthur Genius Award winner on the subject and chuck that false humility BS aside. It don’t matter if your topic is Nuclear Disarmament, Nuking Losers in the Office or Nudist Art — if the participants don’t remember that you knew your stuff better than God Almighty Himself, give them their money back
  9. Systematic organization of material is over-rated; requiring your participants to sort and sequence some of your topics by themselves is a great way to fuse the ideas deeper into their minds. A little confusion never hurt.
  10. Be aware of the emotional states of your trainees; if you sense the boredom index rising, play some games or say something offensive or turn on the laughing gas
  11. Update your material. If the last time you did that was about the time when Malaysia qualified for the World Cup, stop everything right now, download everything in Google Scholar related to your topic and turn your rusty slides and handouts into gold
  12. If you’re giving a phone-book sized folder at the start of the workshop it better not be a repeat of the slides you plan to show; you only do this if you’re topic is Example of Pointless and Wasteful Redundancy
  13. Marker pens. How many different colours are available? If it’s just one, kidnap the organizer and lock him in a rainbow-decorated room for 20 years. How many colours should you have? Rule of thumb: How many different kinds of food did you eat yesterday? Take that number and double it.
  14. Include something painful if you’re running a ‘team-building’ session. Nobody learns shit if it’s all fun. Ensure that blood is shed and limbs are torn. And if they don’t like just repeat ‘Pain is your friend’ a thousand times until they thank you.
  15. Get some prizes ready. They can range anywhere from a BMW Alpina to thumb-drives to cheap-ass sweets or, if all else fails, a handshake.
  16. If less than half of your slides are photos, don’t show the other half.
  17. You’re showing nothing but words on your Power-Point? Ensure some of the paragraphs include erotica or give out ecstasy pills.
  18. If you’re NOT using the huge cinema-like screen in front to capture/engage your participants’ attention, then tell me this — wait, are you a trainer or a swimming instructor?
  19. Get your participants to talk. First, elicit responses from them. If that don’t work, walk up to them, grab their mouths and force them to talk. If nothing else works, pay them to say something, anything. Learning demands participation. And finally, the most critical dogmatic point, far above anything just written…
  20. Ensure the nasi lemak tastes above par. Any error in this area and the only possible verdict is that your training was a national disgrace.

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Alwyn Lau

Alwyn Lau

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Edu-trainer, Žižek studies, amateur theologian, columnist.