Magazine article Supervisory Management

Train Your Staff at Little or No Cost

Magazine article Supervisory Management

Train Your Staff at Little or No Cost

Article excerpt

"Who's going to train my staff?" Sue thought. When Sue was told her group would be the pilot group for a new customer service effort, she had mixed feelings.

She was delighted about the visibility it would give her group, but she was equally concerned because she knew her staff knew little or nothing about the firm's new product line. And their knowledge of it would be critical to the group's success with the new customer service program.

So some instruction about the new products her firm was offering was called for. When she contacted the sales group, she found everyone too busy. But one of the salespeople was able to provide her with the handouts and other information she would need. "Why don't you handle the training yourself?" Doug asked. "Just put together a little seminar about the product line and deliver it to your group."

After further discussion with Doug about the product line, some research on the dos and don'ts of putting on a training meeting, and some preparation, Sue held her three-hour training session.

The cost to her company: Sue's time in preparation and practice in delivering her message. The return to Sue and her department: an effective session that gave staffers the information they needed to make the program work.

As Sue and her staff found out, training seminars for small groups of employees can be extraordinarily effective and a lot of fun. But they can also be a complete waste of time. Which result you will get depends almost entirely on the planning.

Set up a positive attitude. Your seminar will go a lot more smoothly if the participants have been looking forward to it. Talk it up beforehand. Send out a memo a couple of weeks before the seminar, describing it in an upbeat, dynamic way, and explaining why it is important.

Map the whole thing out. Explain to yourself precisely what it is you are teaching. You will probably have to break this down into several segments. If you have six hours to work with, figure out how much time each segment will require, and budget accordingly. Plot out each segment as though it were a piece of music, with an introduction, main body, and recap. Write a rough script. Make a list of all audiovisual aids you will need. …

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