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This is a question Training courses, seminars and conferences

Inspirational or a waste of precious slacking-off time? I once went on a buzzword bingo-laden training course which ended up with my being held at gunpoint in public. Could have gone better, to be honest. Tell us your tales from either side of the lectern

(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:01)
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Here is a game that's fun to play while at workshops or on training or some other interactive thing when you're lumped in with strangers. The clock starts when you get in the room. You have 30 minutes to identify the most annoying moronic cunt. If you can't, its you.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 18:45, 7 replies)
Every 2 years we have to attend a "Safe Manual Handling" course
It's a morning of boring PowerPoint slides, followed by an afternoon on the car park taking it in turns to take a small box out of the back of a van, then put it back in again. All this whilst having a trainer with the charisma and lively voice of Trigger repeating his mantra of "lift with the knees". No lunch provided, it usually rains, and you can't skive as it's at the workplace and the gaffer can look out of the window to make sure everybody is having "fun". God, I hate this course. :(
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 18:31, 12 replies)
Working for a large firm of accountants
Back when they could still afford these sorts of things, the entire IT department was sent on a team weekend which although it involved foot washing (!) did culminate in the opportunity to walk on broken glass.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 18:21, 2 replies)
I recently went on a training day for GP registrars held at a 4 star hotel.
On the first day we played a game called 'Wizards, Elves and Trolls' which is a bit like British bulldog but you had to pretend to be a wizard, an elf or a troll.
In the afternoon I gave myself full thickness leg burns from a metal vent in the sauna and that evening we had a pub quiz and got drunk.

(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 17:55, 1 reply)
Laughing at the sensitivity course
A big fat irish girl laughing at the word spacker in a room full of people and she still works there. Full on chortle mind you, then just repeating the word over and over while inhaling for breath.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 17:51, 2 replies)
My friend Cockney Hans...
...is, as you might guess by his name, a man of mixed heritage. His dad's German whilst his mum is proper East End Gorluvvaduckgawdblessthequeenmuvva type and a lot of his youth was spent in the Fatherland prior to moving to the UK in his teens.

Anyway, in his younger days Hans was a jockey, riding racehorses, but then we lost touch for a number of years.

The other week I bumped into him again, now retired from riding. I asked him what he was doing now.

'Trainink 'orses AB' he told me.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 17:47, 2 replies)
Every time.
1.Arrive at our hotel, then get pissed.
2.Attend conference with hangover. Try to stay awake. Go back to hotel, go out to eat and get pissed. Try to avoid having to go to seedy strip joint and end up being dragged there because, and I quote, "it's a laugh". Watch a sad eyed girl wriggle around a pole. Drink a lot more.
3.Repeat #2 or drive home, red eyed, numb and feeling terrible, physically and morally.
4.Report the great success of the conference to anyone who asks.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 17:32, 2 replies)
Years ago, I took a computer based confidence building course.
Among many design flaws, the one that stood out was when I got to the end and got the message 'You have failed to achieve the required score to pass this course'.

Who the fuck designs a confidence building course based on a pass/fail test?
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 17:18, 4 replies)
All of the team leaders at my work were sent on a three day Course for stress management.
The course was for dealling with stress yourself and how to help people in your team to deal with stress. The next day back to work after the course, one of the team leaders phoned in sick, with stress.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 17:03, 12 replies)
There's a training company called David Begg who are very well known in the Pharmaceutical industry.
Their courses are a little pricey but very good. Ten years ago, when I started working for my current company, I was asked about what training I wanted/needed.

I'd heard a lot about these David Begg courses and how highly rated they were. Everyone except me seemed to have been on one. So I replied, "I wouldn't mind doing a David Begg course, I'm feeling a bit left out."

My boss and the training department obviously took this to heart as I got sent on 6 of the things over the next year, at costs ranging between £2500 to £6000.

One in particular, at a cost of £4500 was very good indeed, perfectly targeted at what I was doing, full of useful information, course notes which I still occasionally refer to 9 years later and so on. Well worth every penny IMHO.

Sending me on it a second time was an accident. The training department didn't realise that the course got revised for the new year and renamed slightly but was 80% the same. Which was Okay - it was a good refresher, some newer material, different perspectives and more experience meant I had better questions and still got value from it.

Sending me on it a third time was definitely a little over the top though. They'd hired them to come and do the training in-house, as it was so good. At the last moment, one of the managers had to drop out. I was offered the spare place.

"I've already done it twice. Give the place to someone else."

"There's nobody else available to do it at this short notice and we don't want to waste the place on the course as we've already paid for it."

I just hope my company have got their £13,000 worth out of me in the years since then. And if anyone wants a spare set of course notes...
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:58, 2 replies)
I was once sent on a time management course by my manager.
I thought it was just a waste of time but she assured me I wouldn't come back to a backlog of work and that it would be good for me to get out lf the office, have a free lunch and generally skive off.
So I turned up at the training centre about ten minutes early, to be told that all but two of the other people booked onto the course had cancelled. Over the next half hour those two people cancelled also, because they'd managed to miss their train so would end up a couple of hours late to a day long course.
I learned a valuable lesson about time management -- don't waste your time on bollocks courses.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:49, 3 replies)
Team Building
At my last place we used to have an annual team-building exercise, wherein the entire Company would get on the boat and bugger off to France, ostensibly for a bit of shopping and a bite to eat before heading home.

Tradition dictated however that all we would do was get absolutely shitfaced and never talk of anything that happened again - if we weren't on British soil, it didn't happen. This meant not talking about my boss (now a Director) playing volleyball in the street with womens underwear on his head, the MD cancelling a round of coffee before getting on the boat and replacing it with (particularly awful) calvados, a Director and an Assistant Manager hooking up in the restaurant loo (classy, I know), smuggling our body-weight of booze out of the restaurant before being thrown out, a colleague falling into a canal (twice), smuggling our body-weight in booze back through security etc.

It was actually a brilliant exercise in team building - it brought everyone together massively and, compared to sending everyone in the firm on some long-winded course during work-hours headed up by some fatally condescending twat trying to "compare the firm to an aeroplane", was far cheaper for the Company and resulted in far fewer people falling out.

Good times....
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:48, Reply)
The time I got dragged out and shot on a training course
I work in a business where they sometimes send you to nasty places. I've been to some nasty places, and came back with a bump on the head and a tale of (now pleasingly dead) Congolese militias that would allow me to dine out for years. To this end, my employers sent anyone who was going to visit a hazardous environment to the Hazardous Environments Course, in which you are sent to a large country estate for a week, and taught how to avoid getting killed TO DEATH by former members of Her Majesty's Special Forces.

We were taught first aid, map reading, how to avoid getting killed TO DEATH (Essentially: Don't be there in the first place; or if you are there, run away), and what happens when things get blown up. They demonstrated what happens when things get blown up an awful lot, mostly by gleefully blowing things up.

On the last day, the course climaxed with a field exercise, where we would pose as hapless field journalists and run around a field in Hampshire, trying not to get killed by bands of heavily-armed Special Forces posing as bandits.

So, there were were minutes later, captured by a band of heavily-armed Special Forces posing as bandits. I found myself kneeling, hands behind my head, as a man with a sub-Aleksandr Orlov accent pointed an AK47 at my vitals. It was at that exact moment that the 0945 Virgin Crosscountry train from Reading to Bournemouth should come to a halt at the red signal not twenty yards away.

A man in first class looked up from his Daily Telegraph. We made eye contact. He looked away. The police did not come.

Then we were dragged out and shot.

Best training course ever.

Full 12-inch version of this tale of mirth and woe HERE
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:35, 12 replies)
Not funny, just fun
The best training course I ever went on was two years ago; the Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) and Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET).

Best three-day course ever: escaping from pitch black smoke filled buildings, putting out fires, getting winched into (fake) helicopters, and escaping from a simulated crashed chopper in a swimming pool. Search youtube for HUET and you'll get the idea. Perhaps best not to do what I did and spend the evenings out on the piss before you get strapped into a seat that gets plunged underwater and turned upside down.

Best thing is, if I miss my one-day refresher before four years is up, I'll have to do the three-day course again!
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:27, 4 replies)
Denying it just seems to make matters worse.
When overseas on a conference, it's always a good idea to find out where the local gay area is before you book anywhere for dinner. That way you won't find yourself sitting prominently in the window of a restaurant, underneath the huge rainbow flag, eating dinner with your much older male boss as the fit delegate you have been eyeing up for two days walks past with her gay colleague.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:17, 2 replies)
We had an in-house training course on ASP.NET
It was ok.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:15, 12 replies)
A couple of years after I started work my company decided to send all the bright young things on a particular training course meant to improve leadership skills. It was one of those courses with outdoor activities for teambuilding, some basic pyschology, and a lot of introspection and talking about yourself and the others on the course. We all had to learn to give and take honest feedback. I was in the first batch to go: 9 of us, all around the same age. We had a great time, all got on well, really bonded as a team.

The second group to go didn't have the same experience. They went on exactly the same course, with the same trainer. When they returned several of them were no longer talking to other people in the group. A couple of people had walked out of certain sessions, some in tears. Within a few months 2 people had left the department and 1 had left the company.

Of course they were all sworn to secrecy and wouldn't divulge detailes of what happened. No one else was sent on that course.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:14, 4 replies)
It was just odd.
I work in a small business, at the time of the 'training day' there were only 4 of us, now there are 3.

We went through all the usual team building games and tasks. Took some random personality tests. Had a spot of lunch. Then came time for the 'say how you feel' moment. We all sat around in a circle and I went first, spouting out some standard cliches, then the other worker went and said a few home truths to the bosses (who are a married couple and it is their business). Then came the bosses. The wife of the couple goes first, explaining how well we work as a team, how we can do better etc.

Up steps the boss.

And he starts crying.

I have never felt so awkward. Do I hug him? Do I laugh at him? Do I join in like we're all supposed to be crying?

No, I just went for a sort of understanding squint of a look.

And we've never spoken of it again since.

I got a 25% pay rise a few months later, so I guess I went for the right option though...
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:02, 7 replies)
My current class were sent to a public speaking training seminar
led by a dance teacher. He told us we'd be doing 2 hours of exercises designed to help us project our voices- namely, diaphragm exercises and 'how to breathe properly'.

We pointed out that we were all music graduates, could play woodwind and brass instruments, and had all been soloists in choirs. All skills that require proper projection and, y'know, the knowledge of how to breathe.

Rather than taking that as read and moving on to something else, he told us that we'd spoken to him with "wrong voices", undoubtedly we'd been taught incorrectly... and so on.

One month after we passed that on to our teachers, the feud continues... headed by the dance teacher refusing to speak to anyone in our department. I'm tempted to point out the irony to him.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:52, 3 replies)
oooh! Touchy!
In mid 2000, I worked for one of our glorious awarding bodies. In an act that demonstrates exactly how they have far more money than sense, they flew me to Washington DC to take part in an education conference. While there I was also to go to vist the Department of Education and the British Embassy to discuss...well...incredibly dull things that never came to fruition, so it doesn't really matter actually.

After two days of dull conferencing broken up by experiencing the delights of a Georgetown club, it was my day to go off to the British Embassy. There's a road in DC known as Embassy Row, where lots of them are gathered together and nestled among them, next to the British Embassy, is the Vice President's residence. The British Embassy, like everywhere else in DC it seems, is guarded American soldiers, one of whom I got speaking to as I was leaving. All was going swimmingly it seemed until in a moment of youthful arrogance that assumed everyone in the world felt like I did I said 'So, I understand that's where the VP lives? Or your next President, we all hope, huh?'. And my bowels turned to jelly this heavily armed and suddenly very furious giant turned his face to me and said 'You goddamn superior acting Brits may hope so, but I sure as hell do not, boy. Now git your ass out of here before I git you out of here'.

I left. Sharpish.

Edit: To save other people needing to Google. This was the end of the Clinton presidency so the VP was Al Gore.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:51, 2 replies)
The professional…

This is quite the coincidence I think - it might be a slightly tenuous link but I think it still applies, even if just for it's timing.

I have only just finished sending this message as a gaz to a fellow B3tard before I even saw what the present QotW was…

(There are only very mild tweaks from the original gaz to protect the innocent)

"You asked for advance warning of the next Pooflake calamity before I posted about it..well, This has just happened to me...

I have just experienced a quite genuinely proper 'twitchy arse moment’ – As usual, I was overstaying my lunch hour at the pub with Todj (Captain Placid, the big gay bear, blew me out again) and I received a text from my boss...

Now, that would've been weird enough (he normally either phones me or emails), but weirder still, he is currently IN GERMANY. Slightly worrying. He asked me: 'Where are you? and what are you doing right now?'

I knew I was rumbled - but I gambled and replied 'I'm in the office, and I'm available...'

He texts back immediately: 'Ok, can you go to my desk and sit in my seat?'

Ohhhhhh fucksocks.

Like the true drinking professional and royal hardnut I am, I promptly shat my pants.

Todj & I collectively decide to abandon our drinks and heroically bollock our way back to work as I desperately attempt to nullify my boss via text.

A couple of minutes pass by...and as I leg it through the doors of the building I respond again: 'Ok, I'm there, what now?'

He replies: 'Well I can't see you on the webcam?'

Oooh buggery fuckflaps I hadn't got there yet...erm…

‘Just be one more min' I text back, now in a seriously massive flappy panic.

His first reply: '???'

His second: ‘I want to introduce you to the CEO and higher board'


Jesus-fucking-H-bastard-cunting-christ-on-a-hoverboard!! 12 seconds later, there I was, plopped into his chair, slightly squiffy, red-faced, out of breath, the spillage involved in my last hurried attempts to quaff my cider still dripping from my tie, catastrophically late, and now waving like a particularly deranged mongoloid to a blank screen whilst my image was being projected 30 foot high in a conference hall in Stuttgart as part of my (now slightly embarrassed) Boss's presentation to my bosses' bosses' bosses' bosses' bosses.

Crikey, I am a massive twat. Well, you asked and there you have it. I haven't even written the bugger yet as a post...that's exactly how it happened.

I want to go back to the pub now".
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:50, 10 replies)
To open our grand away day, a few years back. It was a new CEO and he was well up for it - an opportunity to rally the troops and share his vision for how to save the struggling company.

At the end of his 45 minute speech, he invites questions. First question is from an old-timer who's worked there for years:

"I've been here for twenty years. In the last six, there have been five CEOs. All of them said pretty much exactly what you've just said. They all got sacked. What do you think about that?"

Oh, how we laughed. With that, and with two free pints each in the hotel bar after, I think it might have been my favourite ever training thingie.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:45, 2 replies)
Presentation training course led by an utter twat
I went to a training course about how to succeed when giving a presentation, improving confidence etc.

After an hour of various tips and advice, the professor guy running the lecture brought in 3 volunteers from his company to give example presentations that they'd had to prepare.

As the first guy was setting up, the professor told us all that we'd be seeing an example of a great presentation, an average presentation and a poor one, and we'd have to write on some sheet which we thought was which.

You instantly saw the one girl's face drop as the first guy up started speaking.

When it came to her turn, she was all over the place. It was awful and an error message even popped up half-way through the presentation and she had to restart it and skip to the correct slide. Complete cringefest all the way through and everyone in the room really felt for her.

I just love that he'd specifically picked her out for being crap.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:39, 4 replies)
Just the other day
one of the girls in the office had to edit a PDF. She'd opened it in Acrobat, but was confused because a pop-up had appeared saying that some of the fonts were missing. I went over and explained that because the PDF had originally been created on a Mac, she needed to substitute the font "Times New Roman" for "Times" and plain old "Wingdings" for "Wingdings (TT)". I demonstrated how to do this a couple of times, selecting the text that was in the wrong font and changing it to the correct one.

She looked at me as if I'd been speaking Klingon and had just smeared her monitor with excrement for all the good it did. Instead she waited a full day for someone from IT to come and look at the problem, and when he arrived he asked me what to do.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:31, 12 replies)
I took my dog to obedience classes.

(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:22, 9 replies)
Twitter feeds at conferences.
I'm not on Twitter, but I do like registering a Twitter account if I'm at a conference with a hashtag and a live Twitter feed. The game is "Can you get people in the room tweeting about something unrelated, on this hashtag?".

I successfully managed to hijack the Twitter feed at a social media conference/awards night into people talking about owls.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:13, 8 replies)
Ran a seminar with a fantastic bunch of people engaged in scientific research, and they were discussing international teamwork.

Swiss lady: "Your team works really well doesn't it, even though it's a mix of Italians and Germans?"

Italian chap: "I'm not sure it's always a good thing when Italians and Germans work well together"

I had to laugh out loud... Possibly unprofessionally.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:09, 1 reply)
Rumbled by our Ginger Fuhrer

Hi Rob

On Wednesday lunchtime I paid £20 towards B3ta, but 48 hours later it occurred to me, belatedly, that you would have no way of knowing that...

The payment was from XXXXXXX and my user name is scarpe. Anything you need me to do to get an icon so people stop telling me to...well..get an icon...




done! thanks for the cash - much appreciated - we'll throw a few more kittens on the server bonfire



That was quick.




I'm more amused to get your autoreply saying "I'm now in training" when you're obviously pissing around playing on the internet


(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:07, 4 replies)
second indeed
These are always dull - this could drag a bit this week.

not like last week
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:05, Reply)
.--. --- .-. -. ---
An army trainer I knew used to keep the troops attention by interspersing his dull presentation slides on signals and whatnot with hardcore pron.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:03, 8 replies)

This question is now closed.

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