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In House Training? Yawn? Three Ways to Make Dull But Important Training Stick 21 February 2019

It’s daunting, isn’t it?  Learning an entire new computer system at work.  I’m going through it right now.  So if you’re watching a BBC news bulletin in the next few weeks, and we don’t look quite as relaxed as usual, cut us some slack.  After more than twenty years, we’re switching over to a new way of writing scripts, creating programme running orders, and getting it all on air.

Our training has actually been quite fun — carried out over weekends so we’re all dressed in jeans and our main programmes aren’t compromised.  It’s got me thinking about the workplace productivity training I offer companies when I’m not on shift at the BBC.  If you arrange workplace training, I hope these thoughts come in handy. 

  1. consider a Need to Know approach.  I reckon about seventy percent of what I learnt last weekend was relevant to my job as a reporter and presenter.  That was great.  The rest, though, was essential to technical staff, but not me.  Of course it’s good to provide your team with the big picture, but weigh up the risk — could information overload block out the information your staff actually need? 
  2. start with a Scenario Your Team Will Recognise.  So maybe don’t say: “Here’s the new way to switch story orders while on air …”  Instead say:  “You’re on air.  You’ve got to switch the story order.  You used to do it like this.  Now we do it like this …”  The best training starts in a friendly, familiar place, before gently moving to the slightly scary place.  
  3. build in some Playtime.  Our training ended at 4pm, and by then my head was spinning.  I was a bit nervous, to be honest, because I’m one of the first presenters on air when we go live with this new system.  So after most of the others had left, I just made myself a nice cup of tea, and played with it for a while.  I had a go building a running order, writing a script, switching a story — and without any pressure to keep up with the group, or a well-meaning trainer keeping an eye on the clock, I could really relax.  And this built my confidence.  “It’s going to be okay …” I thought to myself as I headed out of the door at 4.45pm. 

We’ll all know soon enough.  I’m not going to tell you the date we go live with the new system — the idea is that you won’t spot it.  All I will say is that our BBC bosses have at least steered clear of Friday 29 March … Brexit Day, and a new computer system?  Now, that would be overload … 

If you think your team would benefit from experiencing the adrenaline of working in a busy newsroom, my Newsroom Bootcamp might fit the bill.  I create my newsroom in your office, and cram it with takeaways to help your teams do things quickly – with no prior training required!

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