organization by Jen Kim, on Flickr

I often need to reuse material I’ve created for my trainings. For example the introduction about culture in general can be reused no matter if I’m conducting a training on Indian culture or Finnish culture. However, every time I reuse my material it seems I find some improvements to do. This means that my material often is out of sync; in which presentation did I have the most updated version about culture in general?

The answer to this is to work with a modular setup of your presentations. At first it can seem a bit cumbersome to do so but you’ll find the reward in having to spend less work preparing your trainings.

As an example I’ll use a recent training I held on intercultural customer communication. I held it for an audience in India, that would be working with customers in Finland.

The training contained four parts:

1. What is culture and how it affects perception
2. Differences between Indian and Finnish culture
3. Customer communication tips
4. Workshop

I saved the material for the four parts separately on my hard drive, as four modules/files with the following structure:

1. Documents/Culture/Intro/WhatIsCulture.pptx
2. Documents/Culture/Specific/IN-FI.pptx
3. Documents/CustomerCommunication/GeneralTips.pptx
4. Documents/CustomerCommunication/Workshop.pptx

A few weeks later I was asked to give the same training for a Romanian audience. I only needed to adjust the second module and could use the other three as they were. The adjusted module I saved separately as a new module in Documents/Culture/Specific/RO-FI.

Later on I was asked to give a training about Indian culture for Finns. I picked modules one and two, no other work needed. However I improved the first module.

Next I was asked to repeat the training for Indians. This time it was just a matter of picking the right modules and holding the training.

Now my documents look like this and I know they are all the latest version:

1. Documents/Culture/Intro/WhatIsCulture.pptx
2. Documents/Culture/Specific/IN-FI.pptx
3. Documents/Culture/Specific/RO-FI.pptx
4. Documents/CustomerCommunication/GeneralTips.pptx
5. Documents/CustomerCommunication/Workshop.pptx

If I hadn’t had a modular system, I wouldn’t have known where my latest version of the first module was (the one I updated) and I would have had to cut & paste my content for each training. By now having a modular setup for my training material my training preparation time has been reduced. I hope you might find this useful as well!


Image credit: organization by Jen Kim