Last year I was in a training conference of sorts with my entire team, plus 12 temporary trainers. It was a week-long conference, where we planned some train the trainer sessions, soft skill presentations, and it seemed we were visited by every department imaginable for 1-2 hour blocks of time.
We were reviewing a bunch of new material during one of our days in class. There was a modification being made specifically to our software to allow users to enter specific and detailed information about commercial doors. I promise I will not provide you with step by step detailed IT trainer description of the modification. Besides I am sure that the software company will charge you a pricing deposit just to know this mod exists. 🙂 Thus learning the modification was not where Christina was amazing; although I am learning even now that the ability to learn something the first time through is pretty amazing.
The trainer who had been working on the pieces of this new mod was reviewing it with the whole room of 24 people. Most of us had heard ABOUT this process, but this was the very first time we were SEEING it in the software screens and in actual action. After showing us a series of 4 different processes, we asked a set of questions, I jotted down a couple of notes; and retired to the reclining posture of my chair. You know the universal sign for I’m good, I got it, What’s next?
As a group, we were all asked to log in and attempt to USE the process in pairs. There were some glitches with this and because we couldn’t all use the same data we couldn’t do the EXACT same process at the same time; and it was obvious that this portion of the training was not thought out completely, but I still felt confident that I was prepared enough for training it. The room was getting tense and our boss was getting frustrated so we moved on to another part of the seminar, since we were out of time.
The next day we had a catch-all period of time (that time that all event planners leave open JUST IN CASE there is something that didn’t get covered or needs to be revisited). When our boss speaks up and asks if everyone in the room feels comfortable training the door process? Much as she expected everyone seemed to respond with No, not it, I don’t, I’m confused, I’m not sure kind of language. Then in classic reversal of fortune she asks if anyone in the room is comfortable training the door process. I look to my left and right there isn’t a single hand, but I was confident, that I have the process down because I didn’t get caught up in the details. YES FOR ONCE I SAW THE FOREST AND NOT THE TREES. I threw my hand in the air loud and proud.
In almost disbelieving tone my boss says, “Alright Christina train the trainer (the guy who originally taught us) how to put in a commercial door sale in the system.” I jumped out of my seat and walked to the front of the room. Where I realized I didn’t have to go I could have done this from my seat. (hee hee hee guess it’s that little inner stage actress that wants to leap onto stage at any chance she gets.) I begin in classic Christina form, acting and being funny and creative and full of bologna ( you would think I would be better at the card game BS). But I started with the Thank you for calling Our Company how can I help you today? Which generated an ENORMOUS amount of laughter from the crowd. Gotta know your audience, right?
And without missing a beat or a step just like Edge taught me in speech class, I did the best Impromptu speech of my career (well of my life at this job, in front of an audience, of my peers, with my boss, etc). I guided him through exactly which buttons to push and what information to put in through a series of questions and praise statements. I let him fill in the size, specs, details, and dimensions (as a real life user would know these things) and ALL I did was tell him which keys to push in order to get to the AREA on the computer screen to put in that information.
When we were finished, I received an AMAZING applause from the room that seemed to fill my soul with such admiration and appreciation from my peers. I even got a NICELY done Christina from my boss (gotta cherish those praise moments cuz they don’t happen often). After my demonstration the whole room felt more confident about how to train this particular portion of the system. It wasn’t about knowing ALL the specs if was about knowing how to guide the learner through the screens.
The confidence that filled me was this age-old belief I have, I can train anything to anyone – I don’t even have to understand it. There are many a good debates I have been in on that subject (which will remain for another posting); but in my mind I KNEW what I KNEW about the system and which keys to push. I KNEW how to navigate the structure of the process and I would then leverage the user’s knowledge of the details to complete the process. Now don’t ask me what the door looks like or how it will hang in the frame or even it is hollow or solid because I just train the software folks, I don’t know what the stuff looks like out in the real world. 🙂