It's 7:45 A.M. Do you know where your instructors are? Are they:
- in the training office area drinking coffee and preparing for class?
- in the classroom waiting for students?
- speaking with another employee of your company?
Could they be doing something else? Well, if this article has a point, yes. They could be:
- helping students to their classrooms.
- helping students get coffee.
- answering questions from students.
- showing students your business.
- helping students who may be on the phone.
- not hiding.
Let's examine the above options for a common thread. Hmmm... STUDENTS! Great guess. Instructors are valuable to students even when they are not in front of the classroom. Let’s examine the 30 minutes or so before classes begin to discover how instructors can sell your business before they ever set foot in the classroom.
Show me the way
Most training companies have a front office area where students sign in and pay for their classes. Previous students know the drill, but new students often need additional orientation. You may wish to have several instructors who are not teaching that day hover about the front office. Their job is to spot new students and assist them in the sign-in process. They can introduce themselves, instruct the students on the sign-in process, guide them to the appropriate classrooms, and introduce them to their instructors. Most businesses have receptionists for this purpose, but the additional help an instructor provides creates a superb impression on the new student.
Coffee, tea, or SQL server?
Next to chocolate and certain activities, most people NEED coffee, a soft drink, or some other source of caffeine. New students need to feel welcome and comfortable with their surroundings. Showing them your business is one way of accomplishing this. Instructors are perfect for this job. They should make sure the students know where the essentials are, such as the break room (coffee, snacks, drinks, refrigerator, etc.), the restrooms, and where they can and can’t smoke. An instructor that can show them where to obtain these valuable resources will instantly gain a friend.
Takin' care of business
Mornings are busy times for all companies. Customers are coming in, managers want things, instructors have last-minute preparations to make before class, and the phones are ringing off the hook. If you have a new class starting and the receptionist is overwhelmed (a sight that is all too common among the budget-conscious office managers who might benefit from a clue), an instructor should step in to help answer the phones—if for no other reason than to let the caller hear a human voice before being placed on hold. It may be a student calling to say he or she is going to be late. That’s always a helpful tip for the instructors.
Riddle me this; riddle me that
Students may have questions regarding a class one of your instructors taught some time ago. If the student takes the time to ask, the question is obviously important. Instructors should prepare for such questions if they are on "morning watch" and respond with an answer or inform the student they will obtain an answer for them sometime that day. One pitfall to avoid is the student who takes advantage of this scenario. These students often have specific questions pertaining to a project they’re working on. These students, even if they are "lifers" (students who have bought some sort of package deal), are not entitled to what may be considered consulting, unless it pertains to the subject being taught that day. In this case, ask them to hold their questions until it’s been covered in class, if applicable.
Instructors can help in the mornings when things are most hectic. They should be rotated and used as a complement to your business. Ideally, the less-experienced instructors should spend more time doing this. Instructors who don't ooze knowledge (See: DressYou Up Article ) need to impart positive influences on students whenever and wherever possible. Experienced instructors should be used for this task when it is known that very important visitors will arrive. While every customer is important, CEOs, CIOs, and evaluators for large companies should always see your best foot put forward. So prod your instructors out of hiding before classes with a chocolate bar and have them help.
Schoun Regan is a consultant to training firms and travels across North America educating people for Complete Mac Seminars. Follow this link if you'd like to comment on this article or write toSchoun .