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Back to School Deals for Training Professionals!

It’s back-to-school season here in Seattle and I found myself in Staples last week walking through the bargain bin aisles. It turns out, back-to-school sales aren’t just for k-12 students!

Here are 12 sale items that caught my eye, things you may want to pick up if you’re a training professional looking to stretch your budget a little further this fall:  

Colored Paper. If you have a variety of handouts, printing them on different colored paper makes it easier for you and your participants to identify which handout they should be using at any given time. “Now pull out the green handout…”

Mr. Sketch Markers. They’re the highest quality flip chart markers that I’ve ever found. They are long-lasting, don’t bleed through the paper and they have fun scents.

Sticky Notes. They can be used to help participants brainstorm ideas or to jot down steps in a process (and then move the sticky notes around as needed to get the process correct). Having a good supply of these on hand for a training session, strategic planning session or just creating to-do lists is a good idea.

Pens. How many times do participants show up to sessions without something they can use to write? Having a supply of these available is just good customer service.

Highlighters. I love having participants use highlighters to identify skills on checklists or evaluation forms that they’re strong in (using a green highlighter), things they could stand to improve (pink highlighter) and things they don’t know much about (yellow highlighter). There are lots of ways to use highlighters to help provide at-a-glance cues in a training session.

Hand Sanitizer. Materials, pens, markers all get used multiple times. Having some hand sanitizer at each table may help get rid of germs for both the participants and for you.

Little Packs of Tissues. In case the hand sanitizer doesn’t completely work. They’re also helpful to have in your pocket in case someone took the white board eraser from your training room.

Note Cards. Participants can take notes on them, or if you get different colored note cards (green and pink for example), they can be used as a low tech polling option. Yes/no questions can be voted on with green/pink note cards. Multiple choice polling can take place by assigning each choice a different color note card.

Lunch Box. Sometimes the same pizza or deli sandwiches get old… sometimes it’s nice to bring a taste of home into the training room.

Computer Bag/Backpack. These can get pricey, so if you’re in the market for a new computer bag, why not take advantage of the back-to-school sale?

USB Memory Sticks. It’s always good to have something to back up your files in case your computer decides to crash or, perhaps more common, in case your computer doesn’t play nicely with the projector and you need to use someone else’s computer.

External Computer Speakers. Some trainers like to have walk-in music. Others like to play music during breaks (and then when the music goes off, it’s a cue to everyone that the session is about to begin again). And they work a lot better than most built-in computer speakers when it comes to showing videos or playing audio in a large room.

Back-to-school sales aren’t just for students. What other training supplies would you recommend that your fellow trainers pick up while they’re on sale these next few weeks? Drop your recommendations into the comment section!


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