Business Tools

Making Your SEMA Show Educational Experience Worthwhile

By Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick, Chuck Udell

Chuck Udell
Jim Kirkpatrick
Wendy Kirkpatrick

The 2014 SEMA Show is less than one month away. If you are considering investing in training for your staff or yourself, whether at the SEMA Show or another venue, this article and another one appearing in two weeks will ensure that the training delivers the intended benefits and bottom-line results.

A Model for Ensuring Training Value

One of the most recognized methods of evaluating the value of training is the Kirkpatrick Model.

The Kirkpatrick Model

Level 4: Results

To what degree targeted outcomes occur as a result of learning event(s) and subsequent reinforcement.

Level 3: Behavior

To what degree participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job.

Level 2: Learning

To what degree participants acquire the intended knowledge, skills and attitude based on their participation in the learning event.

Level 1: Reaction

To what degree participants react favorably to the learning event.

Applying the Model to Training Programs

The Kirkpatrick Foundational Principles are the key beliefs underpinning Kirkpatrick training evaluation:

  • The end is the beginning.
  • Return on expectations (ROE) is the ultimate indicator of value.
  • Business partnership is necessary to bring about positive ROE.
  • Value must be created before it can be demonstrated.
  • A compelling chain of evidence demonstrates your bottom-line value.

Parts Store Example

For example, suppose you own several parts stores. Your expectation is that your stores are profitable. Prior to coming to Las Vegas, you meet with your marketing and sales manager and together determine that you wish to attend a session entitled, “Customer Service & Sales: Selling to Women—Today’s Greatest Economic Engine.” The program description says that you will learn effective selling and service techniques to market more effectively to women, therefore increasing your sales to them. If attending the program could increase your sales to women and therefore contribute to an increase in your overall sales and profitability, this session could be a good choice for you.

When you return from the Show, it will be critical for you and your staff to debrief what you learned and determine exactly which sales techniques will be applied in your business. From there, a plan to implement the new techniques, and to monitor and support them, should be created. Finally, roles and responsibilities to ensure that the techniques are used, and progress tracked, should be assigned. After all, if what was learned during training does not actually get applied on the job, there is no value to your company.

Viewing all training investments through the lens of what value they will contribute to the bottom line and making a plan to ensure that what is learned gets implemented will make training a valuable contributor to your organizational success.

In two weeks, we will be back with a second article describing how to implement the remaining three Kirkpatrick Foundation Principles and create a complete plan for ensuring that training programs result in true business value.

For more information about how to maximize the value of your training investments, register for free at, or e-mail Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick at or Chuck Udell