2016 is fast approaching, and if you are responsible for learning and development within your organisation, your thoughts could well be turning to next year’s Learning and Development Plan.

This first of two blogs provides some practical tips for analysing learning and development needs, which will help you to produce a valid and credible annual plan.


The Trainer's Toolkit: Five ways to improve your technical training skills

I'm currently working with small groups of employees, developing their skills in order to deliver technical training to their colleagues. They have asked me ‘Can you really make technical training interesting?’ My response is ‘Why not?’ Technical content does not need to be dry and dreary; after all, there is no such thing as a boring topic, only boring training methods. Here are some tips for making technical training engaging and successful.

Flying high, flying hungry

Do you use that simple customer service technique - to under-promise and over-deliver?

For example, you know that Mr Jackson’s order will be ready in thirty minutes, but you tell him it will take an hour. When you then deliver in just thirty minutes, Mr Jackson is pleasantly surprised.

It’s a great tool for managing customer expectations. What happens, though, when the service provider over-promises and under-delivers?

"Please switch off your mobile phones"

When setting ground rules with a new training group, instructions used to be straightforward and non-negotiable. “Mobile phones can be distracting for everyone. Please switch them off, or put them onto silent mode.”

Nowadays, mobile devices also feature clocks, alarms, dictionaries, encyclopedias, note pads, cameras, videos and so much more. They can disrupt proceedings, but can also promote learning. Where do we draw the line in the training room?


On the trail of digital natives

    Are you a digital native?

    I encountered the term recently at a customer service conference in Oman.

    Digital natives, we were told, are those people born into the digital age, who are completely at ease with rapidly evolving digital and online technology.

    The more senior members of the audience looked at each other with bemusement and a hint of unease. What term would best describe those of us striving to adapt to this technology later in life? Digital aliens, perhaps?