Learning More Than You Planned: Take the drudgery out of continuing education

Posted on Posted in Being Your Best, Blog, Professionalism

 

Do you drag yourself to your continuing education units with the enthusiasm of an early-morning teenager? I now enjoy in-person learning events, but that wasn’t always the case. As I write this, some fellow trainers are experiencing a recertifying year. Many of us are hustling to fulfill those units before the clock runs out — or procrastinating for another year. Here are my tips for taking the drudgery out of CEUs:

1. Sign up for courses that address your specific needs.

Where do you struggle the most as a trainer? Feel clueless about the Olympic lifts, nervous about pregnant clients, unsure about your legal risks as you venture on your own? The greatest remedy for fear is action: Instead of avoiding these areas, throw yourself into learning more about them. Your instructor will be thrilled to have a novice student, and colleagues will often happily share their knowledge with someone eager to hear what they have to say. Look for CEUs that fill these gaps and ultimately reduce your anxiety.

2. Make it about people.

We all have attended talks that were in some way a bust. The description didn’t match the presentation, the presenter strayed off topic, or the environment quality was somehow lacking. Still, there is something to be gained by attending CEUs, and that’s networking. Strike up a conversation with a neighbor or the person who asked an interesting question. Personally thank the presenters for their expertise. Follow up with an email or even a handwritten note asking to meet for coffee. Connecting with other attendees is an invaluable tool in your continuing education experience. I have often learned as much from my colleagues sitting in the audience as I have from the paid presenter in front of the room. Smile, introduce yourself, and ask a few questions about your neighbor’s experience. You might be pleasantly surprised.

3. Share your CEU experiences.

Tell your clients what you learned and what is trending, and indirectly convey that you care enough about your career and their training to pay attention. Need material for your blog or newsletter? CEUs are an easy, powerful way to inform your clients of your expertise and professionalism. Have fun with it: Take a picture (with permission) of a famous presenter, or photograph an odd piece of equipment and ask clients to guess what it is.

Learning is an integral part of success. Addressing your gaps, keeping the focus on people, and sharing your experience can make all the difference in enjoying your obligation and need to learn.

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