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 studying 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.