How to make the most out of your CPD events

 

Finding courses, workshops or conferences that meet your requirements is only half the battle. The real challenge starts when you want to use your new skills to upgrade your business.

Maybe you’ve been there before:

First you spend countless hours to find the right event. Then you reschedule your work to be able to attend it. You listen carefully to all the tips and ideas, inspired to put the new suggestions into action. But when the session ends, you go back to your daily grind. Your enthusiasm slowly wears off and soon you can’t remember anything from the course. Days go by and you still haven’t changed anything in your business.

Does it sound familiar?

You can change this pattern in three simple steps:

 

1. Have a plan

Once you move past the “I know it all” phase, throw yourself into the ocean of CPD possibilities, and find time to follow all the amazing events, you’ll need to come up with an action plan. It’s easy to listen to the new content in a passive mode. Especially now when everything moved to the online world. You might be tempted to view your course on one screen and keep working on your projects on the other one.

A little mindset shift may help in here.

Try to define your goals before your CPD event starts. Why are you attending the course? What do you want to learn?

When you’re aware of your goals, prepare the right environment. Limit distractions, reschedule your work, mute your phone, forget about multitasking.

Next, prepare yourself to capture new information. Will you take notes? Will you watch the recording several times? How will you store the main takeaways?

You can have a digital or paper system to save all the amazing ideas and bits of knowledge. But even the best system will fail if you forget to…

 

2. Put your ideas into action

When your notebook is full of new information, it’s time to sieve through the content. Analyse what’s the key message you’ve heard during the event. Maybe it’s something that would help you change your approach to your finances or maybe it’s detailed explanations about tools that you need for your work. Again, define your goals and set your deadlines.

 

If the course inspired you to add little tweaks to your business, use the momentum and do it right away. If you feel motivated to implement bigger changes, break them down into smaller chunks and schedule your tasks.

 

The key to success is to do as much as possible before your initial enthusiasm wears off and you totally forget about your training. But even if you do so, remember to…

 

3. Double check where you are

Look back once in a while to find out if you managed to upgrade your skills. It’s easy to slip back into old patterns. Even if you’ve changed something in your business right after your CPD event, don’t forget to check where you stand as time goes by. Reviewing your progress is as important as setting and reaching your goals.

 

For example, if a course you attended motivated you to start using social media in a more effective way, make sure your great results will last. Every month review if you still follow your strategy or can truly engage with your fans. Even if you’re swamped with work, take a break to change your perspective and assess your progress. If there’s anything that doesn’t go as planned, simply fix it.

 

Otherwise, you’ll soon find yourself searching for more courses, more books or more training sessions about the topic you’ve tried to delve into so many times before.

 

This week, as I’m joining the Financial Success Summit for Translators, I’ll definitely follow my plan to be able to implement useful bits of advice.

 

Over to you

What’s the next CPD event you’re going to attend? Do you have an action plan?

 

Dorota helps businesses and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is a qualified translator and an entrepreneur supporting other self-employed professionals on their path towards building a more successful business.