Skip to content
Alexandra Tseffos Wed, Jan 18, '23 6 min read

How to Retain New Information with Ease During Your Next Online training

This is a guest blog by Configura Service Partner, Alexandra Tseffos, owner of Silent T Consulting + The Design POP, including tips and tricks for getting the most out of online training experiences.  



At the start of my career, the only option for employee on-boarding was in-person training. When I was introduced to CET in 2006, a regional training was offered, but nothing in my hometown, which meant I had to travel. Oftentimes, CET users like me were not trained until official training dates were announced and scheduled.

Thank goodness training has evolved in the last 15 years! Continuing education is critical for most industries, but especially for design—there are always new products, trends and technology that need to be adopted and understood.

Now CEUs (continuing education units) can be accessed virtually by listening to podcasts and completing an online quiz, live online sessions, self-paced courses and in-person training. The barriers to professional development are no longer access related.

For continued success, it is vital to not only address how companies support investments in continuing education but also how people desire to learn.


Getting to know CET 


I have been involved in CET training since 2009 when I joined the Configura Training & Support team. I hosted in-person training sessions across the Americas and through monthly virtual webinars. Toward the end of my time as a full-time employee at Configura, the company was rolling out a variety of live virtual training options.

Engagement was always a huge topic. Even in-person training takes effort from the attendees to put new learnings into action. Early on, one of our greatest concerns was “can we keep the human connection alive while doing training virtually?”




Ironically, I don’t know if that mattered in the end. Many organizations at the time didn’t want to bring an in-person trainer on-site for a few new hires in comparison to an entire team. As the adoption of CET continued, training options had to expand to meet demand and virtual training offered many upsides.


Commit to learning   


I believe that each person has different training needs based on their own learning style. Facilitators should provide options that resonate with all types of learners.

Webinars provide optimum accessibility; however, they are also challenging on both the side of the attendee and presenter.

For an attendee, they usually show up for a reason. There was likely a nugget of information in the description of the webinar that sparked interest. But staying focused throughout a session until that topic is addressed can be difficult, even without considering the numerous distractions at our fingertips.

On our best days, we cannot stay engaged for a full hour. Knowing that most designers do not have an hour to spare, they are most likely multitasking—working and listening. This means the presenter must stay high energy and promote engagement.


Hosting a successful webinar 


I host at least two webinars per month on behalf of The Design POP and a few per week as a part of my consulting business.

Here are five tips for hosting a successful webinar:  

  1. Agenda—plan and organize  
  2. Thought provoking questions—give attendees something to “chew” on  
  3. Polling, word clouds and other engagement tools—encourage participation  
  4. Pause for questions throughout the session—leave space to think and reflect   
  5. Be agile—adjust the session based on your attendees and their unique needs 

Typically, there is a pre-approved, specific agenda that I will follow for at least 50 percent of the webinar, but I leave a lot of time for side topics and questions. I believe it is my job to try to keep attendees engaged—and part of that requires flexibility and agility in the presentation!

I have learned over the years that when hosting webinars, asking questions of the audience and pausing for answers generates greater interaction from the participants—the session is for them after all! Polling, word clouds and other engagement types can help enhance the webinar experience. But ultimately, the participants must commit to paying attention and engaging from the start.

No matter how specific my webinar is, there is always at least one person that has a question that they would like to ask. If I can create a collaborative environment, I believe they will feel comfortable asking the question. Please remember, the presenter wants to know if someone is out there listening.

Some people (like me!) will even tailor content to the questions that are asked on the call—and honestly, responsive webinars are often the most engaging. Each trainer brings something unique to the table. I am a continuous learner. I sign up for webinars and normally do my homework about who is providing the training. If there are options, I might even do research to see who I will have the most success learning from based on their past experiences.


The Design POP - November 2022 (10)


Getting the most out of that next webinar as an attendee  


Since everyone learns differently, it is important to have the option to hear the same topic presented in multiple ways. This helps to create your own perspective on the “right” way to do something.

It is not that one video is right, and one is wrong, it’s that sometimes there are eight different ways to do something. It doesn’t mean you will ever need to try (or should be trained on) all eight, it simply helps to understand how to best impact people with different learning styles.

If just two different trainers each show you their top two favorite ways to accomplish something, we can all get down to business much more quickly!

Here are some proven techniques for retaining webinar information:

  • One of the easiest ways to stay engaged is to hold yourself accountable – keep your camera on. This means that you will not be on your phone, doing laundry, catering to your dog or cooking as you listen along. This also may enable good habits like asking questions, chatting, participating in polling and even taking notes to share with others.  
  • Speaking of sharing with others, consider organizing a webinar watch party with your coworkers. Challenge each person to write down three takeaways from the call and plan 20-30 minutes beyond the webinar to discuss the findings. I can guarantee that you will learn more and put it into use faster with this strategy! 
  • Even though I work from home, I have found that if I call people that I collaborate with after a webinar and repeat what I heard, it helps to solidify the ideas in my brain. I’m an extrovert and this is the way I process.  
  • For those of you that are note takers, take notes! Many will screenshot ideas shared on the webinar. If you screenshot, it means that you most likely want to communicate an idea with others. Why not throw that screenshot in a Miro board to be immediately shared with your team?   

So, I challenge you to think differently about the next webinar you attend. Trainers want to engage with you as the webinar was created uniquely for you—even virtually.

Training isn’t about checking the done box; a successful webinar includes a strong human connection, which is really how you’ll gain the most insight, new skills and lasting takeaways.


Subscribe to the Configura Blog to get notified whenever we post something new:





Alexandra Tseffos

Alexandra Tseffos (pronounced with a silent “T”) has a B.A. in Interior Architecture and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She started her career as a dealer designer before joining Configura’s Training & Support team where she assisted dealerships and manufacturers across the Americas. Alexandra took her dealer knowledge and CET skills (including her most coveted skill of designing live for clients) and joined the business development team at Fluid Interiors, calling on end-user clients and influencers in the commercial real estate market. That was her first introduction into real estate before joining CBRE Minneapolis to head business development efforts for a tenant representation team. Silent T Consulting and The Design POP are a culmination of these experiences.