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Have your Bag Ready for Pop-Up Training

Following a growing trend at universities around the country, Pop-Up Classes are emerging in the corporate training world as well.


Popup classes are short workshops that aren’t part of a standard curriculum. Rather, they are impromptu learning events that give learners the chance to explore a hot new topic or bring much-needed material to an eager group. Because they’re often put together quickly, having ready-to-go materials on hand is key.

When I was traveling a lot with work, I assembled a second toiletry kit to save time packing. And of course, when I was pregnant, I had a bag ready for a quick departure to the hospital.

I like to do the same for training sessions–to have my basic kit ready-to-go. Then, all I have to add are the particulars for the next event.

What to pack

  • The Bag: I like to start with a Big Tube,  30″ L x 7″ D. It let’s me carry most of what I need in a convenient package
  • Wizard Wall Whiteboard: rather than worrying about the availability of flip charts and whiteboards, Wizard Wall let’s me create a dry-erase surface in 2 minutes, literally. Electronics are great, but I’m still old-school in my preference to record contributions in real-time. Creating visual record ideas, which can be perused without looking at a computer screen or PED (personal electronic device), is invaluable.
  • Dry-erase Markers: Don’t run the risk of event spaces not having markers, or having only markers without ink. Think of markers like your toothpaste!
  • UNZIP-it! or Thumball: I like to start with a quick icebreaker to put people at ease, establish goals for the day, and get folks accustomed to talking and participating. Each of these communication starter tools provides a physical experience that is playful and can be customized to the needs of your session and group.
  • Fidget Toys – just because you’re traveling light you don’t have to forego the fun stuff! An On-the-Go Fiddle Set (or two) will pack nicely into your tube and establish a playful environment.
  • Sticky Notes – I like to keep something in my bag to foster participation. Sticky notes pack light but are an excellent facilitation tool enabling individuals to record thoughts anonymously and post them to a central location, for sorting, prioritization, or future reference. Start-Stop-Continue-Change Notes are a personal favorite. They prompt users to think about the actions they’ll pursue once the learning or training event is over.
  • Starburst – okay, I know this is random and not so healthy by today’s standards, but as a kid I always kept a handful of Starburst in my gymnastics bag, for a quick sugar fix. I suppose you could pack some nuts, granola or fruit, but I don’t know that they’ll age well.

Focus on the Content

Understandably, the most difficult part of preparing for a Pop-up Class is the content. However, once you have all the logistical stuff easily taken care of, you can focus your time and energy on making the material memorable.


Icebreakers to Start a Soft-Skills Session

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