Preparing A Training – Step 1 of effective product trainings


Checklist-resized-600In my previous blog, I covered the high level logistics that you need to consider and plan before you begin any training. Once you have those logistics in place, it boils down to creating your own checklist of all the things that need to get done prior to executing the actual training. It is important that the preparation phase is done well to have a successful session with your teams.

You will need to come up with a list of to-do items for yourself based on your company and audience requirements as well as all the points that were discussed in the previous blog. However, here are a few points to get started.

  1. Decide the objective of your training and how you will evaluate if your objective is met. For example, if it is to ensure the teams understand the details of the product, you might want to have a small five-question test at the end of the training. If it is to ensure they can sell the product well, you could organize a short role-play session at the end of the training.
  2. Prepare your deck in advance and run practice sessions to time your training. If you will be using trainers, have dry runs with the trainer so both you and the trainer are comfortable and confident.
  3. Create a different deck for each region with examples that are specific to that region. For instance, if you are quoting an example of a retail store like Macy’s in your presentation for North America, then you would probably replace this with Harrods while training the London team. Using examples that are not present locally will result in you losing your audience’s attention quickly.
  4. The deck should cover the entire story including
    • Who is the target audience for the product
    • What pain points does the product address
    • Benefits of the product
    • Market opportunity
    • How to sell the product
    • Product pricing and rate card
    • Case studies
  5. Create additional material with more details that can be referenced after your training by those who are interested. Do not try to cover all of this in your training in interest of time. Examples of this could be detailed competitive comparison, objection handling questions and answers, user manuals, top talking points etc.
  6. Ensure you have just 10 slides if you want to keep the session under an hour. Most folks cannot grasp everything that is said in a training. Hence, you would want to cover only the main topics and end the training leaving the audience with the top 3-5 points you want them to remember. Do not try to overload your deck with too much content. Instead, leave additional content as handouts for later reference
  7. It usually works very well to accompany trainings with a handout that has 1 page per slide of your deck that only calls the top 3 highlights of what you will cover in that slide. Leave the bottom half of the page empty for notes. This way, you can ensure that your audience remembers those top 3 points so choose them well and keep them to just 1 line bullets.
  8. Set aside 10 minutes at the end of the session for Q&A and product feedback
  9. Take care of the logistics such as booking the room, testing your audio/video conferencing tool, testing the recording tool etc.
  10. Inform your audience in advance and send reminders before the training

A comprehensive checklist will begin to emerge as you deliver more trainings. No matter how many sessions you conduct, a well practiced and prepared training will always show better results. So, take the time in doing the initial prep thoroughly.

In general, more interactive trainings with discussion panels, role plays, group exercises etc. tend to be more effective. But the key to make your training succeed is to ensure you have great content and you have even better practice in delivering that content.

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