2 Unique Corporate Training Options: Thinking Beyond the Classroom

Have you ever started a workweek on Monday knowing that you had a week full of training ahead of you—and dreaded it? The long hours sitting in a chair, knowing that only about half of what you heard (if that) would be relevant to your job? Pretty sure that by the third day you’d be fighting the urge to nod off during the sessions?

It’s time we started thinking beyond the classroom for training. Most companies have social outings and sometimes even teambuilding exercises that get people on their feet and engaging with each other in exciting ways—but training can be approached the same way. Here are two examples of less traditional ways to get your team learning together and sharing experiences that will be the talk of the water cooler for months to come.

Of course these suggestions may not be on your geographic area, but they’ll get you thinking and looking for the next training idea in a less likely place.

Competitive Fencing

Did you know that competitive fencing is on the rise in the U.S.? It’s a great athletic option for kids that may not excel in team sports or full-contact sports like football, perhaps because of their size or just their temperament.

The Academy of Fencing Masters in Campbell, CA offers a Leadership Development training course for executive-level teams. From the course site: “Participate in a highly interactive fencing competition that mimics real-world business challenges and sharpens key leadership skills.” The training is designed to improve decision-making skills by practicing making quick decisions, staying adaptable in the face of change, and overcoming disadvantages.

You don’t need any prior fencing experience and all equipment is provided! The training divides your group into teams to work through challenges together in a highly-interactive game-like scenario. Note that the site also has a Team Building course listed, so this training is not just about camaraderie, but about developing leadership skills.

You may not live near Silicon Valley, but it could be a nice place for a team trip! No one ever complained about visiting California.

Improv for Business

The word “improv” or “acting” or “perform” strikes fear in the hearts of many … and the word “stage”—oh, forget it. But the truth is that taking some type of performance class is an invaluable experience for your business skills. Acting and improv (which is really just acting on the fly) both develop skills like listening, confidence, presentation abilities, thinking on your feet, building trust, empathy, and so much more. The benefits will not only apply to your work, but your personal life as well. Your spouse or partner might be thanking you shortly after taking this type of training!

Here’s a great example of a company that does this type of training in Atlanta, GA. These trainers are people who perform improv every weekend.

Going through improv training as a team can build connection perhaps better than any other activity. Particularly because it’s almost guaranteed that most of you will be a bit afraid and have to break through this barrier together. One issue I see in the business world these days is a fear of the personal and the emotional, but we can’t ignore that side of ourselves or those on our team if we want to truly maximize the work environment. A positive company culture embraces the emotional to an extent, and improv training will help you break through some of these barriers.

Have you participated in other programs that were unique and successful for your team? Do you have other recommendations? I’d love to hear from you below.

Photo: Princess Bride

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