Choosing the Best Professional Training Courses Part 1
How can you figure out which training programs are solid and which courses you should avoid at all costs?
Is it possible to develop a customized, exciting, career accelerating, skill building and positively challenging professional growth curriculum? Yes! Absolutely!
But creating YOUR perfect training curriculum will require you to do some research, and, once that’s done, put the right questions to your short list of prospective training providers.
That thought brings me to another that’s been showing up over the past few weeks.
Why do so few of us ask questions?
Is there is a widely held belief that it’s rude or inappropriate or somehow “bad” to ask questions? Or is it simply that we’re never taught how to question in an effective and respectful manner? Surely it’s less than polite to assume that we know what someone else is thinking.
I was recently on a conference call to support an artist client who had been approached by an agent who wanted to represent her. She did her homework prior to the call, googling the agent, reviewing his on-line profiles and the websites of artists he represented. But when it came time for our conference call, she was unable to ask the questions we had agreed that she really needed answered. Well, that’s not quite true. She DID ask, but answered her questions herself (by applying her assumptions and projections) before the agent had a chance to respond. This left the agent with the challenge of filling the rather confusing gap at the end of her statements.
The artist’s goal was to find out what markets this agent could open up for her in terms of additional sales and exhibitions. But that’s not what she asked! Here’s how the conversation flowed. (The context of the conversation has been changed to protect the identities of those involved)
Q: “I understand that you work with artists all over the country and specialize with those based in the north-west pacific states, but that you also do a lot with those in the east and south-west, as it’s such a big market, so you really have a national clientele. Is that correct?”
A: “Well…I work primarily with those in Washington and Oregon. There are also quite a few in the New York/Connecticut/Rhode Island/Massachusetts area and some in Arizona and New Mexico.”
Did she get the answer she wanted? No. But I have to give kudos to the gentleman being questioned for his ability to field a confusing statement-phrased-as-a-question.
I jumped into the conversation and clarified by circling back to the original question my client hadn’t asked.
Q: “You told us that you work with artists in Washington and Oregon, New England and Arizona/New Mexico. Could you give us an estimate of the breakdown of the sales of the artists you represent, by area? For example, 50% in Washington and Oregon, 30% in New England and 20% in the South West.”
This question was much easier for him to answer. And if there had been anything he was reluctant to disclose, it was also more difficult for him to evade doing so as any hesitancy on his part would give us another potentially revealing question to ask. “Why did you hesitate before answering?”
Do you accept the information that the training programs you are interested in provide at face value? Most of us tend to trust, not question.
What IS a healthy dose of doubt?
Since our generation is subject to vastly more sales and marketing pitches than any other generation in history, I have come to believe that a reasonable degree of skepticism is healthy.
Read more about this in Part 2…