Increase Training Attendance

Take a page out of marketing’s playbook and increase training attendance by creating a campaign that builds excitement for the program.

You’ve built it—now how do you get people to attend your training program? You might assume that just because you listed it in the learning management system or an executive said it was mandatory that the training miraculously will draw participants. But that’s just not the case.

So take a page out of marketing’s playbook and increase attendance by creating a campaign. There’s a build-up to creating excitement about an event to get attendance—even training that is mandated. Assuming you have leadership support for the training in place, here’s what to do to make sure people are excited about your program—and then show up for it.


First, create a training description that sounds intriguing and interesting, but still accurately describes the program. It doesn’t matter what the topic is; you can make anything interesting, even travel expense account reporting. Spice it up with real-life outcomes and worst-case scenarios if people do or don’t get trained.

Then create an e-mail campaign that builds enthusiasm about what participants are going to get out of the training. Don’t state learning objectives. Instead, talk about what they’ll discover.

For example, here are two ways you might position a sales training:

• Come and discover how to get customers to say, “Yes!” 90 percent of the time!

• Come and learn a new sales process. Which one grabs you? It’s all in how you spin the outcome. Use language that creates interest and piques curiosity.

In the campaign, use testimonials from those who attended the pilot, attended past workshops, or designed this course and their take on what makes it exciting. Perhaps participants’ work, lives, or processes were improved as a result. Show your target audience that it’s worth their time to attend.


Many employees who are mandated to attend training are more motivated if you tell them what’s in it for them. This is especially true of the Millennial generation, but it’s not limited to just them. One company we worked with had a training program on how to properly complete travel expense account forms. The “what’s in it for me” spin here? Come to training so you can get more money and get it faster. Great motivation, right?

As part of the campaign, you also can include a link to a short, two-minute video from the executive spelling out why folks should want to attend. Make sure the reason is not just because of some new corporate initiative.


At the end, you’ve run a successful campaign, and lots of people signed up. Now you need them to show up! So continue the campaign for enrollees. Send e-mail reminders, not just a calendar invite. Continue reminding them of the “what’s in it for me” aspect to sustain the excitement. Give them prework that extends the enthusiasm and motivation to attend.

Then, of course, you need to follow through with quality training. If you build the hype and follow through on what you’ve promised, the next time you run a new program, there will be a stampede to sign up and attend.

Kendra Lee is a top IT seller; prospect attraction expert; author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet”; and president of KLA Group. KLA Group develops custom training programs to help clients break in and exceed revenue objectives in the small and midmarket business (SMB) segment. Lee is a frequent speaker at training conferences, national sales meetings, and association events. For more information, visit or call 303.741.6636.