The Trainer's Emergency Kit is your goto bag for everything you need as a corporate training professional. You may not find all of these items necessary, but there are some aha! items that I don't even have in my bag yet. I asked for input on twitter and you can find the responses, and those who contributed, in this twitter moment.
If you're interested in last year's emergency kit you click here: Part 2 - Trainer's Emergency Kit 2015
Presentation Remote Control
A standard presentation remote should always be in your bag. Even if you are in corporate training as an eLearning developer, there will be plenty of times where you will be glad you had it. Everyone working in an organization should keep a remote handy. If you don't find yourself ever needing it, you will have plenty of opportunities to help out a colleague who has forgotten hers. The Wireless Presentation Remote Clicker by Red Star Tec is a good option from Amazon.
Connectors, Adapters, and Dongles for Everything!
Technology has changed a lot over the years and computer companies have a bad habit of changing connector features on hardware. This makes it difficult, and risky, to rely on the A/V department to meet your specific needs. The Apple line of laptops have long since done away with the RGB connector that is typical of most projectors. So you need an adaptor that will convert your MacBook's Thunderbolt connector to RGB. If it's a newer Laptop it will already have an HDMI port. And if the projector is newer and has HDMI as well then you are in luck. However, I've discovered that some A/V setups still use the RGB connector even when HDMI is available. So, understanding your options is important so that you have options when things go wrong.
This is probably one of the most optional items to have in your emergency kit. A/V cables are often thick and heavy, and usually need to be long in order to be useful. You shouldn't need to pack a twenty foot cable where ever you go. However a short HDMI cable has come in handy many times in small room situations where a TV was available.
Extra cables also means extra cables for charging your mobile devices as well. Never bring just one. Even if you only have one device you should carry at least 2 cables. Someone will always ask if you have a spare they can borrow and that, "they'll give it right back".
Whiteboard Markers and Eraser
Nobody working in corporate training should be without at least one good dry erase marker and eraser. How many times have you walked into a classroom with a whiteboard and your pleased to see the tray filled with markers. Then as you begin your instruction you realize that they're all dry. Always bring your own and always make sure it still has some ink left in it. And again, it doesn't matter if you think you'll never teach a classroom course in your entire career. It doesn't matter. Changes are pretty good that at some point you will need to explain something in a meeting and you'll be glad you came to that meeting prepared to draw.
I've seen post-it notes used in many different creative ways. I'm fairly boring in my post-it note usage and use them to leave notes for people. But much like the dry erase marker, they come in very handy when talking through processes on a white board. The combination of the "yellow stickies" and good, fresh, dry erase markers can be highly effective in the hands of someone creative enough to mix them on the fly. Good facilitators master this as an art form. At least the good one I've experienced.
Cube Travel Packing Bags
At a certain point you're going to have too much stuff in your bag. That's when you realize the usefulness of smaller packing bags. This 4-pack of Small Packing Cubes from Amazonbasics are great. But you don't need to get fancy. Start off with ziplock bags to organize your stuff. The key to any organizing pack is being able to see inside without opening it. So clear plastic or a mesh cover is key.
And the little things you put in these bags?
- long pins
- blue tape
- USB drives
- sticky tack
- dry erase markers
- ADVIL (this is important 🙂
- toys and candy
Portable Batteries to Keep Your Mobile Devices Charged
You've got a few devices that need a charge. Charging cables were mentioned above, but sometimes you need to pack your own power. The small "lipstick" style chargers are light and can keep you running until you find a more permanent source of power. But those small chargers won't handle multiple devices. If you really want peace of mind then a larger charger with multiple usb connectors is the way to go. But what you gain in charging capabilities you also gain in weight, so keep that in mind.
Geeky Mini Tools
You may not know how to tear down your own electronics and put them back together again, but you'd be surprised how many times you end up needing a small screwdriver. This Pen Style Screwdriver set is good for any trainer's bag.
External Harddrives or USB thumb drives
Prices have dropped significantly on hard drives over the years. So why not carry your important files on a separate hard drive just in case your main laptop or mobile device fails. External hard drives are great to have when you are moving to new computers as well. It's just a good idea to have a process for storing your digital files. Finding a rugged hard drive that is built for travel abuse is important. You get less space for the money but the peace of mind knowing that it will hold up is worth it.
What's Your Favorite Trainer Bag?
And of course you need a good bag for your Trainer's Emergency Kit. I'm still using my old Bum Back Pack or bbp. I've also used the Oakley Kitchen Sink and Bathroom Sink models which I loved. But they do not look very professional. However, their unique look always tends to start conversations at airports.
Shannon Tipton offered up her favorite bag of choice. She prefers the rolling briefcase style computer bag. This is the one she shared with me that comes closest to her favorite: SwissGear Patriot Rolling 2-Piece Business Set.
Do you have any items you'd like to add to the list? Let me know on twitter @Litmos or @bschlenker.