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Train the Trainer: Becoming a COI, Part 3


Jun 30, 2017


By Ed Wenck

NOTE: In Parts 1 and 2 of this article, we focused on "Ground Rules and Readiness" and different learning styles on the road to becoming a CEDIA® Outreach Instructor. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

The Presentations


The first four-hour session was followed the next morning with each attendee presenting 10 minutes of a sample course plus a quick roundtable of feedback from the group. The COIs-in-training are graded on a scale of one to five (the highest number equaling maximum proficiency) in five areas: knowledge of materials, classroom management, using the question-and-answer portion of their presentation effectively, staying on topic, and using compelling communication techniques. A minimum score of 15 is required to become a COI.

As the presenters begin, it’s clear that this group has been prepping well ahead of the in-person coursework. Jessica Reinhardt from CMI Interiors, Inc., for example, knows the material cold. She’s got a lot of energy – but does lose her train of thought. It’s not so much a negative as a teachable moment – CEDIA’s own Wendy Griffiths, monitoring the class, has a tip for when the rails disappear: “That’s the perfect moment to interject a question.” Ward has a further tip: Instead of simply asking a class if anyone has a question, “Ask how everyone feels about what’s happening so far – are they getting it?” It’s less open-ended and likelier to spark engagement.

Brad Hintze of Control4 is eminently polished. Dan Soler (DBD Electronics) and Chris McLaughlin (eloDesigns) are pure New Yawk in their delivery – both self-deprecating and fast on their feet. Each and every attendee brings something terrific to their audition: Frank DeFilippis of DISH notes the importance of gaming in his presentation: “The Xbox generation is now buying homes,” he notes. A number of presenters note that they’d like to leave us with “that one thing:” Bring the integrator in early.

The group’s covered their material properly, they’ve adhered to the rules but brought anecdotes both entertaining and informative to their presentations. As the class finally wraps at noon, the attendees swap business cards and contact info, and it’s apparent that all of them will soon be similarly connecting with architects, interior designers, builders, and even realtors in that same way. And, as any veteran COI will tell you, those contacts eventually turn into cash.

Here’s what attendees had to say:


Awesome class. Very informative and helpful. Thank you!

-Chris McLaughlin, eloDesigns

First class all the way. Best and most useful training I've ever done! 


Peggy was really, really good. Her guidance and management of the group was perfect in every way. I'm going to recommend that all my dealers who could benefit from this sign up for her class in San Diego. It’s a top notch program.

-Michael Cortigiano, Jarmac|Customworks




COI Train the Trainer Course at CEDIA 2017

The “Train the Trainer” Course will be offered at CEDIA 2017 in San Diego.

Tues., Sept. 5, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Presented by Peggy Ward

Register for CEDIA 2017 HERE.

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September 9: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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