Training Category

What’s a sales pro doing in instructional design?

How did Shawn Greene, salesperson, add “instructional design” to her toolkit? Here’s the scoop:

“After many years as a high-performing sales rep I became interested in why sales methods work or fail, and how to teach others to thrive in sales. This inspired a transition into training, a role that allowed me to apply a broader range of abilities – including talents for analysis and writing. I leveraged those talents, along with training in the ADDIE model and adult learning principles, into solid instructional design skills.

Sales skills add power to the work I do as an instructional designer. I use sales skills to clarify needs, identify resources, build relationships with subject matter experts and stakeholders, encourage buy-in, and generate excellent value.

The flip side is also true: Instructional design expertise adds power to training services. Most clients want customized training: design skills ensure I provide this quickly and effectively.

As for technical writing… discovering these talents was a happy accident. I landed my first official technical writing project by begging the client to give me a chance. The begging was driven by a low bank account balance, not by a conviction I could do it. Fortunately for my pride–and bank account–I was indeed good at it. The client was pleased with the first draft, allowed me to finish the project, and I added “technical writer” to my skills portfolio. In fact, the finished user’s guide is still in use today.

I feel lucky to have a profession in which I can apply a number of skills, even luckier to do that to help people learn and succeed in their work.”

Consultants: How to Sell Confidently and Comfortably

Consultants often have trouble with selling. The process feels awkward, the skills seem undesirable, results are poor — this can snowball and affect consultants’ confidence in their own expertise. The good news is most consultants already have what’s needed to sell more confidently, comfortably, and successfully. This article covers four common challenges and how consultants can overcome them.

Challenge #1: Apparently, None of the Other Consultants Have to Sell

Consultants often hear peers say things like “I get all my clients through referral.” The underlying message is consultants who do not get their clients that way are failing and should work harder at getting business via referral. This, my darlings, is a load of crap. However, I want to focus on how that misinformation can create problems when we do have a referral. (more…)

PowerPoint vs. Word: Choosing Well

read mysteryPowerPoint is often the program of choice for creating any ole document — and often the wrong choice. For more about how we acquired this bad habit and why you may want to break it, see this article. This article provides tips on which program to use for what.

Why to Fight PowerPoint’s Power

Nap by powerpointThis article is not meant to bring the news PowerPoint tends to induce boredom—we all know that—it’s about why that happens. The inspiration is the many organizations which use PowerPoint for almost every sort of document, even though that’s less productive and most people dislike seeing it.

So how did we get to this sad state? Here’s what I think got rolling when PPT came out:

First of all, creating and decorating decks was fun. It was suddenly easy to insert spiffy clipart, add color, make text into neato shapes–kind of a business version of playing with crayons and a coloring book. It’s still fun to create and decorate slides, so much so we often forget about meaningful and effective content.

Secondly, the deck presentations were impressive. When PPT came out back in the early 1990’s, audiences were rightfully wowed. Beautiful backgrounds, fancy charts, slides that seemed to move. Zowie. The PowerPoint habit lives on, even though most people are now unimpressed and many decks are crammed with text. Which brings us to the biggee…

PowerPoint dropped the bar for acceptable writing quality to an unprecedented low. All you needed to write was headlines and bullet points–didn’t even need full sentences. This is still true and I have a hunch it’s one of the main reasons PowerPoint is still prevalent and so often used inappropriately.

The Power of a Bad Habit

A quarter-century after PowerPoint hit our PCs, many who reluctantly use it say they do so because it is expected (it’s an organizational norm). Some say they use it because it supposedly helps them quickly produce a deliverable. Here is why that speed is a myth, and why breaking the PowerPoint habit is worth it. (more…)

I am not a “learning” professional

The training, teaching, and performance development field has its fads and slang — like any other. Ages ago, training was often described as an “intervention,” prompting an image of someone running into a classroom and yelling, “Stop! Stop!” These days it’s common to see we pros described as “learning” professionals.  Now, most of us are into learning on a lifetime basis, that’s certainly true. However, calling us “learning” professionals is so, so wrong. (more…)

Learning Styles, Anyone?

Audio, visual, tactile, experiential, kinesthetic…these are learning styles, right? Not quite. It’s true that adults tend to prefer one of those for receiving information. However; adults learn new skills such sales or service skills only one way: by doing. (more…)

How to Have More Workshop Time

When teaching skills such as telemarketing, selling, or service, you need to cover concepts and then provide lots of time for practice. Alas, workshop time is almost always at a premium. If you spend a lot of time teaching concepts, you won’t have enough time to practice applying those concepts and the results will be unsatisfactory.

To free-up workshop time, you can teach concepts and information ahead of the workshop in self-study pre-work. (more…)