There’s a saying in this sector, that we’re often asked to “wear multiple hats” in our orgs. And for many of us, training staff definitely falls into the extra hat category.
This summer, I was tasked with getting my team up to speed on Salesforce. While I’ve played a big role in the CRM implementation, training others is a whole different ball game.
That’s because training isn’t just about being a subject matter expert. It’s about connecting with an audience over that material.
And personally, I love it. It may come with its challenges. But there’s something incredibly satisfying about bringing someone into your work, and connecting the dots together on how it can serve their work.
So if you’re wearing the trainer hat, I hope that perspective helps! Now, here are some concrete tips to prepare and organize.
10 Tips to Deliver An Awesome Staff Training
1. Outline your agenda beforehand.
What are the buckets of information that people need to learn? Is there a sequence that is most effective for absorbing the information?
Use these answers to craft an agenda that will make sense to your staff. By plotting out these areas, you can create a logical flow of session topics. Don’t just wing it!
2. Figure out how much time it will take to learn AND explain all the information.
Determine the time investment on both sides. You don’t want to fly through your topics faster than staff can absorb. But you also don’t want to exhaust them by going on too long.
To strike the right balance, consider the density of the information and the availability (mentally and physically) of staff.
3. Space out your topics in a way that makes sense.
Some trainings may only take an hour. Others might need to happen over the course of a few days.
When crafting the agenda, consider 1) the amount of info you have to share, 2) the level of complexity, and 3) your own capacity to communicate it all.
In this case, I decided to devote one hour per day over the course of a week. That way we could dive deep into specific topics, but in bite-size chunks.
4. Play to the habits of your audience.
Work in a place long enough, and you eventually pick up on the nuances surrounding that culture.
Do people check their phones when they’re pulled into meetings? Include breaks for them to step away. Is your office big on memes & GIFS? Sprinkle a few of those in your presentation. Do people get competitive? Come up with a game that will tie in their learnings and get them pumped.
Anything you can do to meet people where they’re at is always appreciated.
5. Spend time on your visuals.
It’s easy to throw words onto a Powerpoint. But presentations do much better when there’s minimal text, clear screenshots, and other graphics that build (not detract) on whatever you plan to say.
p.s. I once read that fonts in a slideshow should be no less than 30pt. So that’s what I stick with.
6. Find ways to make it more engaging.
It’s tough to sit still for an hour & listen to someone talk at you. (For us introverts, it’s also tough to be that person rambling on.)
But this isn’t the only way to get a point across. Use videos, stories, and any other interactive elements.
For our CRM training, I broke up my lectures with exercises that required staff to use our new system. It allowed them to act on what they’d just learned, and reaffirmed for me that the information made sense.
7. See what else is already out there.
Why re-invent the wheel? If learning materials already exist for your training topic, see how much of that can be reworked.
For those who are familiar – I sometimes use Salesforce Trailheads for this purpose.
Even if training needs to be specific to your org, the research alone can give you ideas on the best way to organize & deliver your training.
8. Gather feedback on what would be helpful.
There’s probably a baseline of information your training needs to impart. But you can still get a sense of where people stand on a topic, and use that to make better training decisions.
For ex…get a pulse on what people are looking forward to when it comes to this new system/process and what they’re uncertain about. That should inform where you spend extra time in the agenda.
9. Brush up on your public speaking skills.
Not too long ago, the thought of public speaking would make me sick to my stomach. For everyone who feels this way, the only way to get over it….is to speak in public!
Staff trainings are good practice, but it helps to formally brush up on this skill beforehand too. Take a class, sign up for a workshop, or even watch a Youtube video.
Pro tip: When I used to get nervous, I’d practice and record myself doing it. Painful? Only the first few times! But it was ultimately reassuring and helped me feel like I had my points down.
10. From beginning to end, practice an audience-first mindset.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. This will help you deliver a training that sticks the landing.
For example…if you’re communicating very niche or technical info to a non-technical group, think about what phrasing makes the most sense. If your training is on a new system, find ways to connect the dots on why staff should look forward to using it.
To wrap this up…
Staff training may not be an official part of your job description, but it’s a great way to hone your presentation skills and bring others into the fold of your work!
What are your tips for hosting a training?