Skype, training, inductions and information resources - not words you usually see together in one sentence. For the past two years, our Information Service team has been using Skype for Business to conduct training. Using Skype for these sessions has allowed us to reach out to a much wider audience from our Wellington base. With six other offices around the country, we can chat to staff members with the flick of a button and a headset at the ready. We use the video chat function allowing us to talk directly with our staff, in group or individual sessions. Sharing our screen live is a vital aspect of engagement within the training session. The ability to have easy, visual outreach and to create awareness of our team is one of the greatest benefits alongside relationship development. Compared to what used to be a costly and lengthy exercise, we can now tailor a training session and deliver it within the same week, rather than waiting for months for us to visit their office.
Our team schedules 15 or 30 minute Skype sessions with all new starters, be it a junior staff member or a partner. We tailor these sessions to a person’s needs, service line and level. We also offer ‘Infoexpert’ Skype Training sessions, ranging from vendor presentations through to in-depth training sessions for new graduates and interns. The possibilities are really endless.
Of course we have encountered challenges along the way, like technology issues and occasionally disappointing engagement levels, but overall Skype-delivered training has been very successful for our team. The particularly great thing about using Skype is that we can share our screen and do a live demo while talking. We can show our research tools, publications produced by the team, examples of our work, and the best ways to keep up to date. Savings on travel costs is another big win, with our team not readily available to travel for just one induction or one hour long training session. It can be more difficult to develop rapport during a distance training session, but this is improving as we adapt our methods to the distance environment and move from a “presentation” style to a more casual chat, where we can then apply the “U” sales technique to win over our clients. Using this new method, we have had a marked upsurge in research requests following inductions and training sessions, sometimes even during the session.
There are now many more opportunities to present to members of the firm via this platform for both inductions and group training sessions. It is a fully fledged marketing and training tool for our team. Our next steps include experimenting with new groups of clients and also other types of training sessions. As information professionals, we are sharing our knowledge and information to a wider audience using technology as we go. As our audience gains new skills and better understands the breadth of our information services, as a team we benefit from all of this.