Dealing with difficult people in the workplace is such a perplexing challenge that the first two free seminars at the Mississippi Business and Technology EXPO 2006 will address the subject.
“We’ve all encountered them,” said presenter Gay Saxon, training services coordinator for the Eagle Ridge Conference Center at Hinds Community College (HCC). “We know who they are. But what do you do with them? How do you work through differences effectively without allowing emotion to control your behavior? Come and see how working with difficult people may be easier than you think.”
Sponsored by Cingular Wireless and Eagle Ridge Conference Center, Saxon, Jim Harper and Lisa Morgan will present 10 free seminars during the two-day EXPO.
“All three presenters are professional trainers who are geared to business programs and have a proven arsenal of presentations,” said Robbie Bell, vice president of business development for the Mississippi Business Journal and director of the EXPO.
On Wednesday, January 18, Saxon will present the first three seminars, beginning at 10 a.m., and following every hour: “I’m Not Difficult, I’m Just Not You!,” “OK, I Am Difficult, Here’s How to Deal with Me,” and “Thinking Inside the Box! Creative Problem Zapping.”
“Lecture is seldom an effective means to instruct adult learners,” said Saxon. “This is why we use a variety of techniques to engage participants. Our goal as professional trainers is to make training relevant, productive and fun.”
Harper and Robbins will share afternoon seminar presentations, beginning at 1 p.m. with “Preventure: What Comes First When Starting A Business,” followed by “Next Step: Getting a New Business on the Success Track” and “Genius Marketing Strategies.”
“The training sessions Eagle Ridge will be conducting at the Business and Technology EXPO represents only a small sample of what Eagle Ridge offers to clients,” said Saxon. “An effective training program covers soft skills development for all level of employees, from frontline workers to executives.”
One way to illustrate the need for training is to look at professional athletes, Saxon pointed out.
“These individuals are paid millions of dollars and are the top in their field, yet they still spend time in training, practice, and team-building activities,” she said. “Businesses foster championship teamwork when they invest in professional development.”
Saxon and Morgan will share presentation duties on Thursday, January 19, starting at 10:30 a.m. with “Great Teams Don’t Just Happen; How to Bring it On,” and following every hour with “Maximize Your Communication: Get Them From ‘Hello,’” “First Aid for Your Meetings,” and “Ergonomics: Healthy Work Habits for Everyone.”
“The training sessions at the EXPO will be both entertaining and enlightening,” emphasized Saxon. “Each participant will leave with something they can take back and immediately put to use. Training that does not lead to changes in behavior isn’t effective.
“Businesses that don’t take advantage of the networking and training opportunities at the EXPO are missing out on a great resource. When was the last time someone walked into your business and said, ‘I would like to offer you some free training?’”
Preparation for participants should include an open mind and a great sense of humor, Saxon added.
“We’ll do one of two things: add new tools to your professional toolbox or remind you of tools you already have that need to be dusted off and used again,” she said.
John J. Woods, Ph.D., director of economic development and training for the Eagle Ridge Conference Center at HCC, said after years of being an EXPO exhibitor, sponsoring the seminars made sense.
“Eagle Ridge Conference Center and the training department have had a long standing relationship with Joe Jones, the Mississippi Business Journal and the EXPO,” he said. “We think it’s a natural fit for our staff to provide the breakout training sessions at the EXPO this year. It not only gives us a chance to network with new contacts, but also offers conference attendees useful training information and tips. After all, that’s what we do best.”
Doyle Warrington, director of sales for Cingular’s central/north Mississippi markets, said after years of participating in the EXPO, the company “is excited to sponsor this year’s free training seminar as it is a great opportunity for attendees to gain some valuable tools and knowledge which can be applied in all areas of business. We look forward to supporting the EXPO in its effort to advance technology and grow local business in 2006.”
For every hour-long seminar attended, seminar attendees may register to win two tickets from Southwest Airlines to fly to any destination within the continental U.S. The last seminar will conclude at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 19. The drawing will be held at 2:45 p.m., just prior to the conclusion of EXPO 2006.
The free seminars have been moved from the tent on the exhibit floor to Room 1 of the entrance foyer hall at the Trademart to accommodate more people and to eliminate interruptions from PA system announcements and people walking by during the programs, said Bell.
“We expect the popularity of the seminars to grow, so any company that wants to e-mail us to assure seats are there for their people can let us know which seminars they plan to attend by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Bell.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at Lynne.Jeter@gmail.com.