Blog Archives

Software Training Tips by a Talent Development Pro

by Chris Gilmore, VP of Training

Our company is launching a new property management system which means we need to train over 500 employees on the new system, this system impacts almost every single task they complete on a daily basis.

I have to say my experience over the last 15 years has been mostly focused on safety, leadership, supervisor, service and other soft skills training so developing a course for software training was a little intimidating for me.  All I kept thinking about was how do I make this engaging, how do I make sure they get it. I know when I learn software I need to do it in order to learn it.

Well, we just completed our first in person training class on the new software.  We had a total of 25 people for 4 days training on the new software and here are a couple things I learned along the way:

  • When you are teaching new software don’t forget the change management side of it, learning to use a new software is a change
    • We sprinkled change management activities throughout the session which included:
      • The signature preference exercise from MBTI where you sign your name with your dominant hand and then sign it with the other hand.  I asked the group to describe each experience.  When they signed with the non dominant hand  this is what it will feel like when you return.  I then asked them if they were getting a $5K bonus for writing their name with their non dominant hand would they get better at it?  How?  Practice, yes, that is what it will take in the new system.
      • We used the Bouncing Back from Adversity activity for an energizer and gave everyone a tennis ball to take home as a reminder. In fact, we realized tennis balls are great for getting knots out of your back!
      • We used Thiagi’s Thirty Five activity to generate ideas on how to stay positive and lead their teams through the change when they return to the office.
    • Spend time on hands on activities when you can, a training database is a really helpful tool!
    • Come up with some way to know when people are finished with individual activities, we had name plates that had red and green reflectors on them, red I’m still working, green I am ready to go on to the next thing
    • Build in time for technical issues
    • If the screen they are watching the trainer on is hard to see, run a Go-To-Meeting session the students can open on their own screens so they can watch it directly in front of them. We did this and it helped so much especially when we were looking at report.
    • We also created a theme for the roll out which helped us add some fun. Our theme was a Marathon.  Halfway through the training we provided them cool towels with our logo so they can make sure they stay cool when they return and start using the new software.

Throughout this process it was a great reminder to me of the power of brain breaks, and ensuring you are developing your course for the audience and that any topic can be fun to develop and deliver.

Chris Gilmore, Vice President of Training


Facilitation Finesse – Tips and Tricks

ATD Piedmont members Jim Blaylock and Daniel Lobb led the discussion today at the monthly ATD Piedmont meeting. These guys did a great job getting us to share during the meeting.

The topic of the meeting was ‘Facilitation Tips and Tricks’. Jim and Daniel turned the meeting into everyone sharing their own best ideas with the group. It was a great way to show us all lots of new tips and tricks we can use in our own classes, seminars, webinars and training programs.

Here is a list of some of the Killer Ideas the group shared with us:
(These ideas are intended to ‘poke’ you to see how they can apply to your own training/facilitation activities.)

  1. Get out from behind the lectern. Mingle with the students & attendees during the session.
  2. Start with a highly active and engaging group activity that breaks down barriers and creates more involvement.
  3. Make your programs highly active.
  4. Engage the introverts by asking them to write their ideas down and share on a sticky note on a wall.
  5. Switch up the seating arrangements so the attendees engage with others.
  6. Request or encourage one-on-one follow thru between the attendees to enable more discussion after the session.
  7. Start with Startling Facts that create more urgency and importance for the training.
  8. Have the attendees pick an animal noise and then find another person making the same animal noise.
  9. Plan up front as much as you can. Develop feedback during the session rather than just at the end.
  10. Use PopCulture information and music during the session to make it more enjoyable.
  11. Use Culture Shock to stir up the group.
  12. Shock the attendees with a worse case scenario perspective activity. (example – have them build a paper drawing beautiful neighborhood in a group setting, then FLOOD IT by dumping it in a bucket)
  13. Use Popcorn or candy during the session.
  14. Remind everyone in the room that ‘Everyone brings value, a perspective and new ideas to the group, therefore we encourage Everyone to participate.’ (Wow, this class was an example of this)
  15. Distribute simple desk phones and let attendees ring their phone when they hear or see an Ah Ha idea.
  16. Discover everyone’s learning style thru an activity before starting the program.
  17. Draw a tree and share it in a group setting as a group engaging session.
  18. Try to touch all senses during the session. Use discussions to virtually touch smell & taste if needed
  19. Eliminate all negativity in the discussions and thoughts.
  20. Use game boards and questions to have the attendees learn during playing the game.

What best Killer ideas to you have that have made your training/facilitation programs Rock?


If you are a trainer in any industry and are not a member of ATD Piedmont, you should visit our chapter meeting and join us. Reach out to Jim, Daniel, Teddy, Jen, Chris, Raina or visit our website to learn more.