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Having delivered my fair share of salesforce training sessions recently, it has got me thinking about what makes a good trainer. The quality of training users receive has a high impact on system adoption but it is so often overshadowed by the focus on getting the technology right.
Although there are some influences beyond the trainer’s control (such as technical problems) we have to claim responsibility for the degree to which trainees leave highly motivated or looking as though they have received some kind of punishment!
Here are some quick tips on how to ensure a smooth training experience:-
• Know your audience
A group of trainees rarely share the same level of technical skills so don’t assume that everyone has had previous experience of internet applications. Introducing new processes and new applications can be a daunting. Existing users or new starters may be nervous about moving out of their comfort zone, or that they lack the technical skills to fulfil daily tasks. Training is a great opportunity to address any reservations and give users comfort that they will receive the support they need.
• Balance the content
Wherever possible, use relevant examples which resonate with the audience, instead of irrelevant generic processes. Prepare day to day scenarios in advance which reflect the roles of the users in the session. If possible, get the audience interacting by demonstrating what they have learnt or talking with their peers about how they will use the application. Try to put yourself in the trainees’ shoes and understand the organisation culture – there needs to be a balance between focusing on the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’.
• Remember trainees are human!
People need regular breaks – however engaging the content, the attention span of even the most enthusiastic trainee can wane, particularly when there is a packed agenda. Inject some humour or personality into the delivery as there is nothing worse than listening to a monotone voice for hours. Make sure there are adequate refreshments and a comfortable temperature – you don’t want any factors to distract attention.
• Plan a technical back up
It is not easy to deliver slick internet application training if there is no internet connection! Believe me, I have tried and it is not much fun. Check in advance whether you can be wired into the internet. If you are using wireless, double check the connection speed and have a back up plan just in case. It’s also useful to have some slides with screenshots depicting key processes so that you can continue with the training if the cloud is unavailable.
• Support beyond the training
Once the trainees leave the room, it is important that they can reference support materials and understand who to turn to if they have a question. Often a lengthy printed user guide document sits on the shelf gathering dust. We prefer to create simple crib sheets or short video training clips which can be shared as links within salesforce.com and provide a quick step by step guide to the main processes.
Training delivery can be very rewarding especially when the feedback is positive – careful research and content planning can really make a difference.