Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Trainer's Nightmare

Name a trainer's nightmare, and chances are, I've lived it.

"You have a class of 20 people, here's some software you've never seen before. Good luck."

"Hey - the servers are down...can you wing it?"

"I know we wanted you to talk about (thing you've prepared). Can you talk about (thing you know nothing about)?"

Scott Adams describes a situation I've been in on all sides of the equation.
- The speaker / trainer who has to think fast because NOTHING works
- The A/V tech telling the speaker / trainer that NOTHING will work anytime soon
- The audience who, if the speaker and the A/v tech are professional, is clueless about the drama that is occuring.

My takeaway: this guy is a professional.

So what would you do?

1 comment:

Karyn Romeis said...

During my 20 years as a classroom-based trainer, one of the skills I covered was the art of presenting. I told my learners time and again that your visual aids are for the audience's benefit - your PowerPoint is not your script, I would say. I've lost count of the number of times people have been left high and dry by a technological failure. I think Scott Adams did exactly as I would have (tried to) do in the same situation. Of course, his story is much more interesting and he probably tells it well.

However, if you're training people on how to use a software app, you have to have working kit. You can't teach practical surgery without a body (even if it has to be a dead one!), you can't teach flower arranging without flowers. So if there were an all out failure of kit on the day of my course, I'd cancel and reschedule. People are busy, they can't afford to waste a whole day.

I, too, have been asked to run a course on Outlook when I had prepared to run a course on using the Internet as a tool. This was in the days when it was quite a new toy, and I hadn't really even played with it yet (beyond the obvious of setting appointments). I learnt the package right along with the delegates, and got the best happy sheets of my life that day. I don't think they ever suspected, but it took years off my life!