3
thenoob
13d

Need to hold a 3-day training at a clients. It's my first time I'll be doing such thing because I'm still am pretty new in the company and don't know a lot about the system (product) yet. It's a group of 8 I need to train. Haven't got input for 3 days to talk about. I really have no clue how to fill those days. I'm panicking big time right now. Were you ever in a similar situation? Anything you got to share?

Comments
  • 1
    shit, so tell us what material you've got to work with right now? (I'm a designer such things are my job)

    Do you have a documentation or even training material?
    what type of software is it?
    ---
    Who needs the training exactly and why?
    Do you have accsess to the feature list when the software was designed to find out what the most important features are?

    Take a paper and write up some questions on how to use this software. Find someone who uses this software daily and interview him/her on what is important in his daily use.

    From there you take the most important features and make a list of the benefits from each feature to the user.

    If you don't have training material write it from your feature benefit list you've made.
    If your company has some sort of intranet (confluence) post it there else I can recommend you vuepress which generates beautiful documentation from static markdown files. https://vuepress.vuejs.org / https://vuepressbook.com
  • 2
    I've been to a customer for trainings once. I was asked to also train another module I didn't know much about, so not two people would have to be sent. I've used this other module a few times and got an hour or two with one of the developers for preparation. It felt OK after that.

    I would never ever do that again.

    You cannot just go through the slides and give a prepared speech. Your audience will ask questions and it's really shitty if the only thing you can say is "I don't know" or "I'll check that and come back to you by mail".every 10 minutes. If you're really out of luck, you're audience already had the chance to play around with the software and already knows it better than you.

    Luckily, today we have professional trainer, so no dev has to do trainings.
  • 1
    @heyheni first of all thank you for your reply. I appreciate it super much. Unfortunately it is a super specialised software, with plenty of modules, SAP kind. There are no developers around, as I'm working at a city office fat away from the headquarter. Only consultants work here with me, which mostly aren't at the office (because of meetings projects etc.). Just got slides which I can use to prepare myself. At the beginning of the presentation, there's a rough agenda with times spent for each topic. If I just look at the slides personally I'd be only able to talk about them for 5 minutes but the agenda says 1:15 hrs for that chapter. I really don't know what to do and there's no backing out of it.
  • 2
    @ddephor I really feel you. You literally described what's going on in my mind right now. There are so many different questions the client can ask and I really have no clue how to possibly answer them.

    How did you get through with it ? Was it really a fail when you went there ? I've got so many questions right now. Gosh, I sympathize with you so much mate. I'm about to die (at least the feeling I'm experiencing)
  • 1
    It's really strange that you've got no training yourself. And that somebody doesn't assists you for the first 1-3 times. Nobody is an expert on something right away. And those customers probably pay a hefty sum for this training and expect to get some quality.

    This is a big fuck up by your boss.
    If you don't write your manager that your not ready yet to do this training alone it's your fault if it blows up. 😕
  • 2
    @heyheni the thing is, that I've already trained new colleagues from other branches and they all think (my team) that I'm ready for it. Usually all new employees get an onboarding, yet I'm excluded from it, because I'm still a student. (working there 20 hours per week). What they don't know, of figured yet, is that I still got huge knowledge gaps, and when the client asks me something specific, I won't be able to give him an answer. I'm so fucked
  • 2
    @thenoob For me it was a big fail. For the other module I could not do much more than what I prepared. It was a small group, no big deal for them, but for me it was disappointing to leave a lot of questions open.

    There was also a feedback sheet, and the result wasn't that bad, but that didn't make it better for me.

    So decided to never do that again. I would only do it with decent preparation, which I think would mean using the product and having my questions answered beforehand. But that will take quite some time, not only from me but also from someone who knows the product. And I think then it would be better and cheaper to just send someone who can do it right away.

    At least I learned a lot.
  • 1
    Ok, guys, I'll tell you as ex-trainer. You never can be totally prepared. Always there will be this one person with question you are not good enough to answer, and there will always be a person not happy with your answer.
    Even if you are a developer, you won't know 100% of use cases.
    Imagine Excel. People did Wolfenstein3D with it. Imagine Photoshop, there are huge courses, like years long, giving you a degree in art revolving around photoshop, and you still won't know 100% of that.
    Who is your client? What are his/hers needs? What are their typical scenarios? How would enhance the workflow of your client? What are the 2-3 features you are proud of? What is a success story involving your software (if you know any, start with it, good if it's not a competitor)?
    On the other side of the scene, there are people. They want to have you to ask you those questions. And it's perfectly fine to write them down and work out with your backup using Skype.
  • 1
    If you feel your not prepared enough, get a colleague and present to him. Or to your friend who is not working with the software, that's even better idea.
    It's ok for you to have a conspect, list of points, to remember to tell about everything you want.
    If you still have time left, instead of doing a presentation, do exercise with people. Have them run the software and go thru a use case or two. Even on your desk if they don't have it installed.

    Remember that even in controlled environments there are things that might break, stuff like that just happens. Always. Best you can do is to be straight and honest.
  • 1
    One more tip regarding the timing. When you talk to the audience it takes 3 times more time than just to think about it ;)
    In my experience, it's difficult to do everything you want to do. There is of enough time ;)
    You can try doing the talk to a camera and then watch yourself with someone and discuss what can be more expanded.
  • 1
    Just do the best you can. Hope you expressed to your supervisor that you think you have knowledge gaps, because if customers get angry, you can redirect to your supervisor (:
  • 1
    @ddephor @mt3o @beegC0de

    Thanks to everyone for your replies. It means a lot to me.

    I know that you can never be hundred percent prepared and have an answer to every question. What I'm lacking I guess, is the experience. I know about the content and can prepare accordingly but usually trainings are combination of experience and actual teaching. Real life examples etc. ... I don't know. I feel super unprepared and don't know what to do. It's not rocket science but I just feel super unsure. It's hard for me to assess if I'm ready for it or not.
    Uuuuugh, it's so difficult to describe this feeling. I just feel sick and my heart doesn't stop beating like crazy ever since I found out. (Am I over dramatizing this?)
  • 1
    What you have is called anxiety, everyone have it. Even if you are experiened, you still have anxiety because you have much more to loose if something goes wrong.
    I know I'm not helping ;)

    Only thing you can do is to get used to this adrenaline rush and start liking it :)

    Good luck!
  • 0
    @mt3o thanks for your calming word ;) haha.

    Well, rather than getting used to it, I'm actually considering leaving my job to become a dishwasher or janitor. Don't you guys ever consider leaving everything and taking a low paying job to live a stress-free life ?
  • 0
    @thenoob oh gosh. Now I should give you a honest answer...
    No. Because I see my work life as a challenge and something that makes me move forward. With regular job consisting of repeating scheduled activity, I'd stagnate and fall into depression. Running away from challenges is like escaping from life. At least for me.

    If you really want to switch jobs, that's nothing bad. It's your choice, after all.
    I can give you advice that reducing the stress doesn't make you happier. Overcoming it - does. Unless it doesn't ;)

    I don't believe that I'm writing this (as a leftist), but you might try reading Jordan Peterson 12 rules for life. You might find this book beneficial.
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