Impromptu Learning

1024 683 Ellen Ensher
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By Riley Dawson


The most important skill in training and development is the ability to perform impromptu, on site, mid lesson changes to adjust to unexpected changes in your audience.  This is one of the things you can’t learn in a textbook or watching a video.  You gain this from experience, from repetition.  This derives from customer service because you learn how to understand and adjust to your customer.  When dealing with customers, no one is the same because everyone has their own personality.  I think that customers are like your audience.  You’re presenting to them, attempting to generate buy in for what you’re saying.  You’re selling to the audience what you’re speaking about.  You want them to buy into what you’re saying so you need to be able to adjust to how they learn and how they think.

I’ve had an experience with this in working at the Distribution Center.  We deal with many different students, faculty, and staff on a daily basis and each one of them is different in what they need and act.  Students need attention regarding small scale packages and complaints about their stuff not coming in on time.  Their problems are the fault of the shipping companies, rather than our own employees.  Faculty and Staff on the other hand have a broader range of issues.  We deliver their packages directly to their offices so there is more room for a mistake on our end.  Occasionally, packages get lost or damaged in route from our warehouse to an office and we must deal with these complaints accordingly, every complaint is different so we must be able to fine tune our solutions to the specific problem at hand.  We can formulate patterns we see among similar situations and use that to help us adjust to new scenarios.  It’s all about perception.  It’s about how you deliver your product, rather than the actual product.  This is a people skill that can only really be learned through practice.  The people who are best at this are best at understanding human behavior; what makes people tick, why they think one way, etc. This perception is to make people think you are able to do what is needed.  You make it seem like it’s been planned and do certain things with an ability to have a smooth transition during the unexpected.

Customer service is the umbrella to specifics about the skill of adjustments and the necessity to be able to do this.  I’ve shared a connecting experience in a similar field to correlate this to actual training and development techniques because training and development is all about trying to prepare for the unexpected.