Alexandria SBDC staff and speakers do our best to provide meaningful educational programs for small business owners. We hope that you are able to take advantage of these free learning opportunities to strengthen your business. Whether you’re attending one of our workshops or any kind of educational programming, here are a few tips to get the most out of your experience:
- Most programs require pre-registration (for our events, there is a registration link on our website). Make sure to click the register button just one time, or you may accidentally register yourself for the event multiple times. Registering before the last minute will ensure that the event sponsor has enough time to prepare adequate materials for all participants. Keep in mind that not all programs accept walk-ins, so make sure to register!
- When you have registered, make sure to attend the event or send the an e-mail letting the host know that your plans have changed. Printed materials are expensive, and organizers want to have enough for everyone without printing unnecessary packets.
- Arrive on time, or preferably early. This gives you time to get settled in and to network. Most programs are timed to begin and end right on time, so they may not take the time for attendee introductions once the program has begun. If you’re interested in chatting with other participants, being early is key.
- Be prepared! You will probably want to take notes, so make sure that you have a pen and something to write on. Not all programs provide copies of the presentation, so it’s good to come prepared with your own notebook.
- Out of respect for the speaker and fellow attendees, make sure to turn off your phone before the events begins. If you must check on an urgent business matter, please step out of the room to make or take a call. Similarly, please refrain from checking e-mails, playing games on your phone, etc., which is distracting to the speaker and to other attendees. If you find yourself more engaged with your phone than with the workshop, you may want to evaluate the type of workshops you are registering for and how those help you achieve your goals.
- You will get the most out of any program by paying attention to the speaker and actively participating in the conversation. Questions are generally welcome, but those that are specific to your business should be saved until after the presentation, unless the speaker specifically requests individual scenarios.
- If there is an evaluation or survey for the class, please complete the form and hand it in. For many organizations, this information is required by funders and enables them to continue to provide programs without charge. Your feedback is also valuable as they plan for new programs and consider topics for upcoming events. Feel free to make specific requests for new or follow-up topics.
- If the event uses plastic name badges, please return them to the organizer, along with any extra folders or program materials. These items are expensive, and many organizations operate on a limited budget.
We hope you will find these reminders helpful and will continue to gain insight from small business programs across the region.