Don't Demo the "How" of Salesforce Unless You Have a Handout

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

full-3I used to put on training events for SSOs (System Security Officers) that showed them how to use a complex web application. After standing by a projector for an hour, demonstrating various onscreen workflows, I remember looking out and thinking, "Nobody is going to remember a thing I'm saying in about 30 minutes."

Sure enough, over the next couple of weeks I would receive emails and phone calls asking me to, again, explain what to do and how to do it.

After a few times of doing this, I realized that live training was worthless unless I could provide a handout that the SSOs could reference when they actually sat down, opened up the web application, and did what I showed them. Sure, they could remember that I did something or other with this screen and that button, but when it came down to which buttons to click, filters to choose, and words to type, it was all a black hole.

What I did

I made a few handouts in Word and saved them to PDF. I would send the handouts out before the live training so that the SSOs could review what we would discuss prior to our meeting. Although not everybody would reference the handout before I got there, the training was much more meaningful for the ones that did .

During the training, I would make references to the handout so that they knew where to look if they forgot what I said. I also made sure the live training followed the same flow as the handout so everything was consistent.

After the training, I would still get phone calls and emails (I think it's just in some people's nature to react with a phone call and an email). So I would have them open up the handout and lovingly point them to the location of the information. The purpose of me doing that wasn't to be a jerk - I just wanted them to know that they can use that resource to get answers to their questions.

If relevant questions came up that weren't in the handout, I made updates for future trainings.

How did it go?

The SSOs that received the handouts gave me great feedback about how helpful they were. But more importantly, I noticed that they were correctly using the web application that I was training them on. It was such a pleasant surprise when I went through the SSOs' work and saw that the necessary information was uploaded correctly.

Tips for making handouts

Your handouts don't have to be emaculate to be effective, you just need to do 4 things:

  1. Break each workflow down into a checklist
  2. Below the checklist, make each checklist item its own heading
  3. Below each heading,  list the necessary steps to perform the checklist item
  4. Include a screenshot and some text for every step

The checklist gives somebody an overall idea of what it is they'll be doing. The break out of each checklist item provides step-by-step instructions to those who don't know what they're doing. And the screenshots make it easy to follow along.

Don't let live training go to waste

Next time you do a live training and show your team how to do something in Salesforce, make sure to provide a handout that they can reference when they sit down to actually do their work. Otherwise, you just end up doing the same training over the phone or in an email.

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Topics: Live Training