Okay, it’s not like I actually saw a recruitment poster, but I certainly would have been drawn to one like it. When I first began my training career, I cut my teeth and honed my craft pretty close to home. I never said no to a new training opportunity, and within two years, I had a solid base of training programs I could deliver to a wide variety of companies and industries. I began travelling to more and more client locations, attended annual sales conferences at resorts and cool destinations and worked almost as much in the US as I did in Canada.
Four years into my training life, I was away from home delivering training a total of 152 nights in one calendar year. I have met a large number of extraordinary people along the way, and forged friendships that still remain today. What I also remember are some challenging travel and training situations…so I thought I’d put my top five list of most memorable training gigs together. Here goes.
My Top Five Most Memorable Training Gigs
5. Travelling on an early morning flight to New York from Toronto only to be kept in a holding pattern near La Guardia airport due to severe thunder storms. Still mid-air when I was due to start the training day, the pilot finally had to resort to his alternate destination. Newark? No silly, that would be too logical. No, we headed for Montreal. The day was a wash, and I headed back home to Toronto.
4. Training in Puerto Rico for a day for a distiller. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Sadly, we headed for home right after the training, The flight was delayed almost causing us to miss our connection in Atlanta. There was a cool part though. Since I was travelling with a group of other AchieveGlobal trainers all destined for Toronto, they held our connection for us, and the ground crew ushered us out on to the tarmac into an airport vehicle and delivered us to our awaiting aircraft. I knew those planes were big, but I had no idea just how big until I saw them from that vantage point.
3. I travelled with a group of Canadian salespeople from a company that had chosen to conduct negotiations training as part of their annual conference in a beautiful resort in Cancun, Mexico. I arrived without incidence, and since I always hand-carry my leader materials, I was ready to go. What didn’t arrive was all the participant materials, and you guessed it, there was no business centre or opportunity to make copies of my materials. I ended up reading to the group for over half a day before materials arrived.
2. Training a group of rig workers in Houston to provide quality service skills is still something that haunts me. It was the perfect storm. It was the tail end of their onboarding/training school – the last two days in fact. They had already passed all their tests and had been given their permanent assignments and the only thing standing between the rest of their lives and American Thanksgiving was me. Let’s just say that it did not go well. The “best” participant feedback came from a young man from Alabama who summed it all up by saying (please read with appropriate drawl punctuated by the sound of occasional spitting of chewing tobacco) “When you’re starting a new job, it’s important to feel manly. These skills are not manly.”
1. And the number one spot goes to training on a cruise ship during a hurricane. It was truly a once in a lifetime event I hope. I remember looking out the porthole and not being able to differentiate between sky and water. I remember the gourmet meal of ginger ale and soda crackers, and trying to train while everyone in the ballroom (training room) was lying down on the floor. It was certainly a bonding experience. I was never fearful for my life, but I was very happy that we were in a large ship with a double steel hull.
All in all, fond memories. Looking forward to 2014 and new experiences. What are some of your most memorable or unique training assignments?