Inside ‘Train the Trainer'

Attendees Assess CEDIA Outreach Coursework
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CEDIA recently hosted a “Train the Trainer” class for the CEDIA Outreach Instructor program (COI), which enables trained members to teach courses on a variety of topics specific to the home technology field. That daylong session unlocks all the COI courseware for the attendees so that newly minted instructors can begin educating those in design and build industries about the CEDIA channel, while collecting a bank of contacts ripe with referral potential.

The most recent session, held in Dallas, drew integrators from around the country, all of whom saw the class as a terrific opportunity to enhance their credibility, especially because COIs have the ability to dispense continuing education credits.

“I wanted to create a platform to reach out to architects, designers, and other industry resources to provide them with information,” said Glenn Murdzia of Paragon Systems Integration. “Using the COI platform allowed us to offer more than just a sales pitch but an unbiased education that also benefits attendees by receiving CEU credits. This allows us to cut through the feeling that they are attending a class to be sold or pitched a specific brand.”

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The “Train the Trainer” class for the CEDIA Outreach Instructor program (COI) enables trained members to teach courses on a variety of topics specific to the home technology field.

It’s a sentiment shared by Digital Delight’s CEO J.J. Canon: “I want to be known as the ‘trusted advisor’ in our market when it comes to technology solutions in residential and commercial applications. This will help build that brand.”

And as for the class itself? It’s a bit of wish fulfillment for some. “I’ve been wanting to inform others in associated industries about CEDIA and myself for years,” said Darren Huddleston of Oklahoma’s M&K Lighting Technology. “I’ve been wanting to take this course and get the ability to teach these courses for several years, and I was finally able to get the time and funding.

“I was pleasantly surprised at all that I learned. I thought I would be spending a couple of days listening to something just to get the certification. However, I learned a lot to improve my presentations. I learned about the different learning styles, the ways in which people learn, whether they are visual, auditory, reading and writing, or touch learners.”

For Canon, part of the experience included overcoming a fear shared by many. “Public speaking has always been a hurdle for me,” he said. “I learned that I can get in front of a group of my peers and speak clearly without reserve about topics that I am well versed in.”

And that learning experience includes “trial runs” at presentations, complete with mock challenges. “It was a great team experience that allowed us to try and throw each other off with questions or interruptions and how to counter all in a test environment,” Canon recalled.

Murdzia’s newfound designation as a COI adds more firepower to his marketing arsenal. “We already push to get builders, architects, designers, and real estate professionals into our office, but this will add be an added bonus. I feel that this is an opportunity to push for getting additional employees on our turf.”

And Murdzia also sees opportunity in the nature of the programs he’ll be presenting. “The coursework allows us to be comfortable, but hopefully allows attendees to be comfortable as well since the material is ‘neutral,’” not product- or firm-specific.

Huddleston is equally bullish regarding next steps: he’ll use it to widen his already broad influence. “I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and have a good reputation in my local area–Stillwater–as well as the two major metropolitan areas in our state, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. This certification and these classes will allow me to expand that to even more of the major players who have to maintain their own certifications and licenses. I plan on reaching out to professional groups and companies in these major metropolitan areas also.”

For his part, Canon is even more succinct. “Overall result? I want it to help Digital Delight to make more money!”

CEDIA’s next Train the Trainer event is scheduled as part of CEDIA 2017 in San Diego. Find more information on the CEDIA Outreach Instructor program here. Questions? Contact or call 800.669.5329.