Training. It’s a funny thing – Most people acknowledge that there are things they need training on, or that they keep meaning to arrange training for their staff about, but never get around to. That’s for a many reasons, but usually it’s because there are other tasks that are more important to the day-to-day running of their business, or the person who knows the product or system isn’t confident to stand up in front of a group and talk, so they just send an email with a recap of the training they’ve had themselves, pointing their colleagues at YouTube clips that nobody will bother to watch.
As well as the organisation of training being a problem, we also encounter people who tell us they hate formal, sit-down and watch training sessions because they hated school and a classroom environment turns them off. We hear you! We also hear complaints about dull-as-dishwater trainers who didn’t engage them or simply bored them to death with PowerPoint. (The worst I encountered was over 100 slides for a single day of training – I wish I was joking! And the only thing I actually remember from that training session was how horrified I was at the number of slides and how dull the trainer’s voice was!)
There’s so many reasons people dislike training, but in eCommerce, change is constant, and training is an essential for your business to stay current. If you’re going to be delivering a formal training session for your colleagues on a new system, there’s a few tips on how to deliver a great session – most of them are obvious, but often get forgotten.
1. Be Prepared
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – perfect preparation prevents poor performance. There is nothing worse than turning up to learn something new, and the trainer was late, or they barely knew the product they were supposed to be talking about. You’ve taken valuable time out of your day to be there! So, as the trainer, as well as making sure your PowerPoint and handouts are done, make sure you’ve checked the room ahead of time – does your laptop connect to the Wi-Fi connection there, is it warm or cool enough, are there enough chairs for your attendees and so on.
2. Announce Your Intentions
There’s been more than a few times that I’ve sat in a training session where someone isn’t in the right room, and it’s only after the first five minutes that they realise and have to do the awkward run for the door muttering “sorry… I’m in the wrong place”. Make sure your audience are clear what you’re talking about, and they know who you are, remind them to switch their phones to silent, what to do in case of emergency etc.
We’ll leave it up to you if a cheesy ice-breaker exercise is relevant, but making your audience comfortable is important – we recommend making sure there’s coffee and good biscuits (Jammy Dodgers or chocolate biscuits are going to be appreciated over plain old Nice or Malted Milks, and your audience are more likely to look on you favourably, as well as the sugar providing them with some energy so they don’t nod off!)
3. Be Entertaining
We can’t all be Russell Howard or Sarah Millican, but dropping a bit of your personality in, combined with the odd funny anecdote will help your audience stay engaged and prevent them from zoning out or nodding off. And we’ve already hinted at not using hundreds of PowerPoint slides, but depending on what you’re training people on, and how long your session is, consider including a really great video clip, a quiz partway through, or group activities to really increase your audience’s understanding and engagement.
4. Read Your Crowd
No matter how well you’ve planned your session, sometimes it just happens – you’ve lost your audience. You can tell they’re bored, or they’re looking at their watch counting the minutes until lunch or home time. Don’t just plough on – you’ll just end up wasting everyone’s time, because they’re not listening, and you’re feeling stressed. The thing to do here is to change tack slightly, switch up the session – ask your trainees questions, or give them a five-minute coffee/comfort break while you regroup. You might want to do the same if your trainees are getting into a heated debate too, so they can cool off a bit.
5. Get Feedback
This is how you learn about how well you’ve done your job, and whether your audience took the information in. You could print out questions for your group to give you as they leave, or you could use a free anonymous online questionnaire tool such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms or Zoho Survey to ask them questions after the event. We find most people are that bit more honest when they feel their name isn’t going to be attached to anything, and remember people will tell you good things as well as providing advice on how you can improve, helping you feel a bit more positive about your work!
If you’re not confident, don’t have time to plan a training session or would just like training provided by an expert so your team get the best experience and understanding, talk to us. Our Linnworks training is delivered by experienced trainers who have worked in Further and Higher Education environments, who know the system inside out, who can answer your questions and most importantly will adapt to you and your company’s needs.
We won’t sit you down in a classroom setup if there’s only two of you, for example – we’ll sit around a PC and have a chat – you’ll still get the same information, just in a less formal way that enables you to ask those ‘daft questions’ (that usually aren’t daft at all). If you have staff worldwide who require training, that’s no problem either – we can provide a remote training session that they simply connect to and interact with us on their PC. If you have staff with disabilities or additional needs, we’ll cater for them too, whether that’s printouts in large fonts or having a separate session to talk them through Linnworks separately on their machine that has SuperNova or Jaws on it, for example.
Tell us what you need, and how you think it will work best for you. Whether it’s an hour’s overview of a Linnworks module, or you need to know absolutely everything from scratch, we’ll make it happen in a manner that is comfortable for you and your team – either remotely or in person, in a classroom or at a PC. Call us on 0208 090 4547 or email [email protected]