Training: A How-To, Part IIk
In the last training page we discussed methods of training. Some of the more common, popular, easy ones are described here.
Video training classes are easy to find and easy to use. They take a lot of the work out of preparation and can be quite effective. Pre-screen the program to be sure it says what you want said, and that it agrees with your procedures. If it doesn't, point out where it differs.
A short discussion beforehand is a useful tool. Watching for the scene you described, or the line you quoted helps focus attention. Many of the training videos on the market, including the videos we've produced in cooperation with the Bankers Video Library, come with all the material you need for classroom use. If the video you are using does not, create the material yourself to go along with the video. The reinforcement of the written material in addition to the scenes makes a difference in memory retention. Writing while listening and seeing is even better.
Don't just turn on the lights, thank them for coming and close down. Now is the time for discussion. Ask some leading questions (those that can't be answered with a "Yes" or a "No.") The absolute worst way to start a discussion is to ask, "Are there any questions before we adjourn?" That's a great way to guarantee a silent room! But a question such as, "How could the question about privacy be answered differently than the girl in the video answered?" might spark some comments. Be patient and wait for some answers.
Hint: Test your equipment and sound, and make sure your VCR is OK and your tape is rewound before anyone enters the room.
The time spent in preparation counts more in this type of training than in any other type. You cannot "over prepare". The more you know about your subject, the more organized you are in the presentation of it, the more comfortable you'll be standing in front of a group.
Do your outline - decide exactly what information you want your people to remember. Write it down. Then write your finish. Then start filling in the facts that are going to get you to the conclusions you're aiming for. Don't lose sight of that goal.It helps if you reinforce your spoken word by illustration. Are there key points - important facts - that could go onto overheads as you hit them? Can details be used in handout material, such as fill-in-the-blanks worksheets?
Once you have your outline, your goals, your facts and details. Go off by yourself and give the whole speech to an empty room. The first time YOU hear this program out loud should not be in front of a group of people. Part of your preparation, and all of your timing, is accomplished when you rehearse the program out loud. When you time it, keep in mind we all tend to speak a little faster when in front of a group. You may have to remind yourself to slow down.
Please work from an outline. Don't read your speech. All of the people sitting in front of you can read.
Ask for questions as you go along instead of waiting until the end. Asking one of the folks sitting in front of you, "Does this sound complicated, Joan?" Or "Is there a different way of telling a customer that, Frank?" will almost guarantee focused attention by the rest of the group!
Hint: Expect to feel nervous. It's Mother Nature's way of getting your adrenalin going and makes you sharper and smarter.
Power point presentations are becoming more popular in national conferences, but I find that for smaller groups old fashioned overhead transparencies are more effective. Maybe we're so immune to TV commercials that we glaze over with color images on a screen in a dark room!
Overhead transparencies, especially combined with enforced writing (fill-in-blanks, complete words or sentences) requires focused attention and is very successfully used in training - especially in any subject with details that must be remembered, such as Reg CC.
Overheads are only effective if they can be read from the back of the room. Check it out before you use them. Set your computer font on about 75 bold and it should do for all but the largest room. Print too small will lose attention almost immediately.
Hint: Try to throw in a challenge every now and then. For instance, during Reg CC training, ask someone to tell you all six reasons for holds. If your volunteer answers correctly, award a candy bar or some such prize. Then uncover the overhead with the correct list for the others to write on their papers.
Branch and round table training are much less formal, and can be done by sitting around a table in the office. Your questions to start the discussions, however, should be prepared well in advance. You should have several (more than you think you'll need) open-ended questions that you not only have the answers to, but also the reasoning and regulations behind them.
For instance, you might ask:
"You are one of the morning opening team for your office. As you pull into the parking lot a woman you have never seen before gets out of a car parked there and says, 'Thank heaven you're finally here! I have to get in my safe deposit box right away! My passport is in there and I have a 9:30 a.m. flight!' She starts to walk with you to the door. What do you do?"
"You've finished filling out a loan application (or a new account application) and you know from the information supplied that the applicant has lied about certain facts about which you had prior knowledge. What do you do now?"
"A customer just called and said he deposited a very large check two days ago and when he called your automated system just now, it said it wasn't available. He says it was on a local bank. He wants the funds today. What do you do? What do you tell him?"
Hint: If you hold weekly meetings, try to concentrate on having at least one a month be something different. And hold to closing time religiously! (to be continued...)
Copyright © 2001 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 11, No. 7, 7/01
First published on 07/01/2001