Category Archives: Technology

Three Ways to Promote Training Through Video

The first time I watched myself on video many years ago I really didn’t like what I saw. I was a graduate teaching assistant, and the coordinator of teaching assistants decided to have our classes video-recorded for our benefit. The intention was to show us how we handled classroom activities and worked with students. I focused on how I looked. Other teaching assistants did the same. This exercise flopped and the coordinator stopped having our classes video-recorded and went back to simply sitting in on a class to give us feedback. I was relieved.

Fast-forward a few years and now I’m attending a workshop for people who want to hone their speaking and presentation skills. Participants were required to practice in front of each other as we worked through the material. Our practice speeches were video recorded, and I received a memory card with my video-recorded speeches after the workshop. I have never looked at those files. The card is buried somewhere in a desk drawer.

Why do we not like to watch ourselves on video? My guess is that we focus entirely too much on our appearance and not enough on the message and how well we communicate it. Here’s my insight about being on camera: You are who you are, and that’s enough. When you show up in person, you may give some thought to your appearance, but you don’t obsess about it. When we reject video because we don’t like to look at ourselves on camera, we miss out on an opportunity to use the medium to communicate a message to a broad range of people in our audience.

I have learned to get over how I look on camera. Perhaps I desensitized myself by recording and watching myself many times. I began to realize that I could use video in different ways to complement in-person training and events that can broaden the reach of the messages I wished to convey to my learners. Here are three ways you, too, can use video to enhance a training program:

Event or Program Promotion. Throughout the year, we provide opportunities for our real estate agents to learn from some of the best in the business through multi-week programs or special events. I do all the usual things to promote the events or training programs: e-mails, posters, training calendar notices, word of mouth, and social media posts. Nothing has gotten the response that a video has. It may be a video of me telling people about the event or program and urging them to register and attend.
Whenever possible, I have the speaker or trainer record a video of him- or herself talking about the topic he or she will present. I share these videos via e-mail and social media. People will click on links to videos in an e-mail. They will watch on social media. It has now become a standard part of my promotion of training programs and events to make and publish a video.

Quick Tips. Sometimes you want to share some information or give people a tip they can use. I began recording “quick tip” videos about a year ago. I focus on topics that I can talk about in approximately two to three minutes. These are typically topics that reinforce topical subjects that have been discussed in the field or give agents advice.
I always give viewers information and then urge them to  take action of some kind. I record quick tips in different places. I also record update videos from conferences to give viewers some of the information I learn from attending. I have created a topic list and follow a pattern, but I generally decide to record in the moment when I feel the need to use video to continue instruction outside the classroom.

Live Video. Going live on camera and broadcasting it via social media sounds nerve-wracking, but it can be a very effective way to get people’s attention and create conversation. I have to admit, I haven’t done this as much as I would like, but I envision using live video as a way to create virtual office hours or showcase a partner through an interview. You can use live video to promote an event also. I used it to talk with a speaker prior to his appearance as a way to generate some interest. The social part of social media means that you should engage with the audience. Live video can help you do that, in real time instead of after the video is posted. The bonus?  Your video continues to live online long after the initial broadcast. Facebook live is the option that comes to mind first, but don’t forget YouTube live, too.

I use my smartphone or laptop to record the videos, and I do very little editing (usually just trimming the beginning and end). I do have a lapel microphone that I use, but sometimes I simply take my earbuds with microphone and lay it in front of me on a desk or table. The sound quality is fine (the microphone is closer to your mouth than the one in the laptop or smartphone). I have learned to accept the verbal blunders I make. I choose to appear authentically on camera instead of rehearsed and polished. I might practice once or twice before I record, but what you see is not highly produced.

My videos provide another way for me to reach my audience beyond the traditional classroom setting. I may not always like to watch myself on video, but I have found that the benefit to recording and sharing videos far outweighs any apprehension I may have had.

Seven Tips for Creating Screen Capture Video for Training

I don’t know about you, but I often search for videos to show me how to do something. It could be anything, but often it’s something technology-related. Most recently I needed to download and set up Audacity (a free audio recording software) on my Mac. I consider myself to be somewhat “techie” but this was a challenge for me to get the settings right. What did I do? I searched for a “how to” video on YouTube.

One of the biggest changes in my training world has been the increased need for technology training. There are multiple tools – online and software-based – that real estate agents use in their daily business. The successful agent needs to know how to manipulate data and use online platforms to market to potential clients, create marketing materials, and manage transactions. There are a lot of options out there, and they want to know how to use them quickly and competently.

Hands-on classroom training is good, but it doesn’t help when there’s no class or the agent can’t get to one. Online training fills the gap, but the question remains, how do you demonstrate the tools and motivate the agents to adopt technology in their businesses? Along with the “how,” the trainer needs to sell the “why.”

Classroom training has the benefit of giving the trainer face-to-face contact with the learner. When teaching tech tools, I can readily see if someone understands a concept or action and address any questions or difficulties. When using online training to accomplish the same goals, the trainer has to anticipate the questions and issues that pop up and use that knowledge when creating online training.

Screen-capture video offers me the ability to demonstrate the process for using a tool and give tips and recommendations for successful use. I record my screen while talking, then edit the video to add features that help deepen the viewer’s understanding of the tool.

Here are seven things I’ve learned when making screen capture videos for training purposes:

  • Longer is not better! Most people have short attention spans and are unable to digest large quantities of directions at once. In my experience, learners receive and comprehend videos in the two to four minute range best. Remember, I want them to be able to duplicate the processes learned, not just watch a video.
  • Plan your edits in advance. When considering the process you’re recording, think about which steps or areas of the screen need enhancement or callouts. Most editing software (I use Camtasia) will let you zoom and pan on areas of the screen and add callouts like arrows and circles. Plan what parts of the screen need attention and when so that your editing will be a smooth process.
  • Use intro and exit slides for clarification. I learned that it makes for easier viewing to have an introductory slide/picture that gives the topic of the video. Exit images include a recap of the instructions covered in the video or tips for success. I can choose to talk over those slides, if I wish, but typically I do not.
  • Check your sound quality. When I first began to record screen-capture videos, I used the earbuds that came with my smartphone to record the audio portion. This was a cheap solution, but not the best. If I moved my head, the microphone didn’t necessarily follow my mouth. I invested in a decent headset with an adjustable microphone. No matter how I move, the microphone stays with me. I also recommend recording some test videos to check the sound levels and adjusting accordingly.
  • Know what to say when. This sounds self-evident, but you will quickly derail your video if you’re not sure of the process you’re trying to instruct or you get off track. I used to script my videos, but now I write notes and practice before recording. I make sure I can succinctly move from one action to the next while I describe the process. Practice helps!
  • Record in one take. You will not be perfect in your delivery. You will forget a word or stumble over a phrase. The internet will slow down as you’re trying to get something to process on screen. Take your time and edit out the mistakes or gaps. You can record snippets of the entire process and create the complete video out of the pieces, if you want. I know that I will edit the video to add features, so cutting “umms” and “ahhhs” is part of my editing process. I have learned to pause, then start a phrase over if something happens (like forgetting a word). As you listen to yourself in the editing process, you’ll discover what your verbal “tics” are. I tend to say “so” far too much. I’ve learned to lessen the frequency of certain repetitive words when I record now.
  • Make a plan. Many of the online courses I create consist of multiple videos. I make a plan to determine which videos I need to record and in which order they will appear in the course. I don’t need to record them in the same order, but it is helpful in a some cases to progress through aspects of the tool I am featuring in the course in my video recording. This may also seem self-evident that you need to plan out your course elements, but it’s helpful to consider when sitting down to record multiple videos at once.
  • Captions. I have not yet used captions for my videos; however, I am going to begin to do this. Why? Captions enable viewing on social media (such as YouTube or Facebook) without the sound. It also gives hearing-impaired people access to your videos. Some platforms such as YouTube will automatically create a transcription of the audio portion of your video. Camtasia offers a “speech to text” option to create the transcription. With any automatic transcription service, you’ll need to check the accuracy of the text as compared to the video. The next step is to use your video editing tool to add the captions to the video. I’m going to test this process, then decide whether I want to pay someone to create captions for my videos.

I distilled these tips from my experience creating screen-capture video. With some practice and attention, you can create your own videos and edit them to your specifications. The bonus? You get to tell your learners which features are important for their businesses or positions and how to best use the tool.

There’s something new in our fields almost every day that a video can help explain or demonstrate. That means I need to get back to my computer and get back to recording!

How to Use a Video Challenge in Training

What’s the first thing you think when you see yourself on video? (Be honest!) It’s generally not a positive experience and that’s why so many professionals shirk from using video as a way to promote themselves and their businesses. It’s expensive to hire a video production company to make you look good, so why bother?

Video can be a great way to get the word out about your business. It’s also showing you as a human being, someone who’s approachable and relatable. Most social media platforms favor video, too, so it can help boost your visibility online. Who wouldn’t want to have more visibility for their business?

The problems arise when you try to figure out how to use video without hiring the production company or buying the fancy equipment. Most of us have the tools in our pockets, yet we fail to understand how we can use them to our advantage. I was in that situation last year. I wanted to learn how to create videos that looked decent but didn’t cost much but my time and effort (no money in the budget for the production company!). I learned about Niamh Arthur’s 30 day video challenge and decided to take the plunge. I knew I needed to learn the techniques before I could adapt and teach them for my audience of real estate agents.

Once I learned how to use my smartphone and laptop to create some decent videos, I started creating “quick tips” for consumption by agents and anyone else interested in learning the practice of real estate sales. These videos serve to teach aspects of a real estate business and to demonstrate that it’s not so difficult to make great-looking and -sounding videos with minimal equipment and skill.

How can you get independent contractors (in this case, real estate agents) to use video for their businesses so they capture more prospects and clients? I decided to use a video challenge to teach the techniques and get them used to creating video.

My first task was to decide how long this challenge would be. Considering the sometimes short attention spans of my audience and the demands on their time that a real estate business makes, I decided make the challenge three weeks long and have the agents record 15 videos. This allows for “catch up” time on the weekends when there would be no videos to record if the participant had recorded the weekday videos. There was no requirement to record each day. Instead, participants could record as many videos on a given day as they needed to to catch up to the group if they were behind.

Next, I had to decide the topics for each of the videos. Most days, the participants had to record a video that was relevant to their businesses. However, it is important to have several topics that are more general (tell about yourself, what’s one thing you can’t live without for your business, etc.). These topics are designed to get participants talking on camera instead of worrying about saying the right thing to a potential client. I devised a topic list and a schedule to organize the challenge in a meaningful way.

With the topics developed, it was time to record the prompt videos. Each day, participants would get an e-mail with a link to the video for the day. These videos were posted as “unlisted” on my YouTube channel so that only those with the link would be able to view them. I considered how to record the videos and decided to “batch” record them. In other words, I prepared my topics, made notes, set up my equipment in an office, and recorded all 15 prompt videos, three “weekend edition” videos, and introductory and conclusion videos in one day. Two of the videos required additional screen-capture video and editing because they taught the fine points of posting video on YouTube and Facebook, and creating playlists. One video was shot outdoors to demonstrate how moving your location can spike interest. Because I recorded them in one day, I changed tops and accessories to give the illusion that they were recorded on different days.

With recording out of the way, the next steps focussed on completing any editing, posting the videos to a YouTube “unlisted” playlist, and creating the e-mail campaign in my CRM to have the instructional e-mails delivered on schedule. Participants were given instructions in each e-mail about how to post their videos and to watch other participants’ videos and give feedback. I created a closed Facebook group where participants could post the YouTube links and watch each others’ videos.

One important step not to forget is to promote the challenge to potential participants. I used video here, too. I created a video to explain what the challenge was and how it could help an agent’s business to learn how to create videos. I shared that video through e-mail, company newsletter, and my Facebook business page. Agents were prompted to pre-register for the challenge, but they could join at any time as long as they understood they would have to record several videos to catch up with the rest of the group.

It’s important to remain flexible with people who are participating in this type of activity for their own benefit. There were no assessments and no consequences for not completing the challenge. I did have a benefit to completing the challenge to help convince participants to complete and post all 15 videos. I held a live webinar that was open only to those who completed the challenge by a certain date. During the webinar, I taught additional techniques and gave away prizes such as smartphone tripods and clip-on microphones. The webinar was recorded and made available to the participants who couldn’t attend it live.

Once you have created the challenge prompt videos, campaign e-mails, and Facebook group, you can present the challenge multiple times to different groups. The key is promoting the challenge to attract the most participants possible. In very large challenges, the participants are placed in smaller groups to facilitate feedback and camaraderie. My group was small, so all were able to watch each other’s videos and provide feedback.

I gave positive feedback as often as possible and corrected glaring mistakes as gently as I could. Most participants got the hang of recording their videos within a few days and went on to create useful videos in the course of the challenge. I specifically designed several of the prompts to be topics they could use for their businesses immediately, if they chose to do so.

A video challenge can give learners a hands-on approach to learning how to create and use video for their businesses. Success is measured not by the quality of each video, but by the progression of the acquisition of skills and the completion of the challenge.

Three Ways to Use Video in Training

Everybody seems to be on the video bandwagon these days – or are they? While it is generally accepted that video is a great marketing tool, training professionals are reluctant to use self-produced video in informal or formal training situations. Maybe they think they aren’t photogenic or don’t really know if their video will work they way they want it to. Whatever the excuse, there are just as many reasons to use video for training – and not just in your LMS.

I started using screen-capture video several years ago to give real estate agents demonstrations of how to use various technology tools as a way to bridge the gap between in-person training and live webinars. Since then, my video repertoire has increased, and I use video in three distinct ways to enhance learning.

For technology training, screen-capture video is very helpful. I use Camtasia to record and produce my videos; however, there are other programs that you can use. If you have a Mac, you have built-in screen-capture video recording capability and iMovie to edit the video. Length of video depends, but generally I try to keep these to less than five minutes. It’s difficult to absorb complex actions in longer videos and be able to duplicate those actions if the video runs too long. I produce the video and add zoom in, callouts, and other animations to draw attention to important functions.

When I first started producing screen-capture videos, I scripted everything and tried to record them in one take. Sometimes I was successful, but often I had to rerecord multiple times to get it “just right.” I take a different approach now. Since I’m going to edit the video anyway, I simply pause, count out loud, and pick up where I need to. This makes it easy for me to cut the mistakes and find the correct spot to continue.

About a year and a half ago, I decided I needed to learn to make videos of myself talking. At first, I was apprehensive (who would want to look at me talking?), but I realized that this could be an effective way to communicate material to a wider audience than those who show up for live training. I happened to stumble upon a video challenge run by Niamh Arthur of Light It Up Marketing. I took the 30-day challenge, created 22 videos in 30 days and learned how to create my own videos using the equipment I already had: a smartphone, computer, and me.

Since that initial challenge (I did it again in the spring of 2018), I have acquired a smartphone tripod and another microphone, but essentially the process has remained the same. I created a list of topics that I wanted to present. I choose a topic from the list and give it some thought. I find a place to record. This could be somewhere outdoors or indoors, but always with sufficient sunlight (I don’t use artificial light except when absolutely necessary). I set up my smartphone and record. Most of my videos are done in one take, sometimes two. I worry less about messing up the words than being authentic and speaking to my audience. The only editing I do is to trim the beginning and the end of the video to cut any unwanted motion.

What kinds of topics do I record in these videos? I focus on anything that might relate to real estate agents’ business: sales skills such as prospecting, presentations, business planning, working with buyers and sellers, and time management. These videos are typically two to three minutes in length. I labeled them “Real Estate Quick Tips” and share them via social media and e-mail.

The third type of video I use is that which is recorded in live, in-person training sessions. When learning skills such as negotiations, contract presentation, and client interviews, it’s often helpful for a salesperson to see what he/she looks like and says. We do role play in classes, and to add another layer to role playing, I have agents form groups of three: one person plays the agent, one person plays the client, and the third person records the role play on their smartphone or tablet.

The recording is shared immediately as the third person gives feedback to the agent. This may be difficult for the agent to watch, but very instructive. There is no judgement – all participants must take their turn and be recorded and receive feedback. The videos are shared with the participants and it is up to them to keep or discard them. I credit David Knox for this technique which he labeled “iPractice.”

One thing to keep in mind is that video assets, when shared on social media, can live on long after the initial training has occurred. I include a call to action on my quick tip videos to prompt people to subscribe to my YouTube channel and give them the ability to sign up for the playlist at the end of the video. I also share videos on my Facebook Business page for increased visibility. The screen-capture videos are also posted to our company intranet site for easy reference, and I have used videos to create online classes for agents to take on demand. One video can easily be used in three places to lengthen the life of the training. (Videos recorded in training for the purpose of feedback are never shared online and serve only to help participants develop their skills.)

Video can be a great way to teach adult learners various skills needed for them to do their jobs well. It can also be a great way to promote the efficiency and efficacy of the training department. If you haven’t tried creating video yourself, what’s holding you back? If you have created videos for training purposes, how do you use them?

Monday, Monday

Mondays toward the end of a month mean teaching tech training classes. I have the pleasure of teaching agents new to our brokerage how to use the tools we provide for their real estate business.

This seems like a noble cause, and honestly, I do enjoy being able to help the agents learn what the tools can do for them. There are days, though that try my patience. Today was one of those days.

Five minutes before class, there was only one person in the room besides me. There were eight names on the list of registrations. My first thought was that perhaps they decided to skip class to see the solar eclipse. Over the next five minutes, people wandered into the room. One man showed up without a laptop. This class is hands-on training, and agents are prompted upon registration and reminded the day before class to bring a laptop with them. He asked me if he should have a computer. I said yes. I know from experience that those who come without a computer end up staring into space and not getting much out of the class. He departed to retrieve his laptop and arrived at class an hour late. He struggled to catch up with the other participants.

Note to self: Be more explicit with the reminders about bringing a laptop to class.

Sometimes participants are worried that I won’t cover something that they have a burning desire to know about. I always start the class by telling them what the agenda is and how we will accomplish each item on it. That doesn’t stop them from asking me about things I will cover in the minutes to come. This happened repeatedly today. Despite my best efforts to reassure them, I continued to get “how do I” questions that I would cover in short order. Two things about this: It causes me to constantly say “We’ll get to that” (which sounds like a cop-out) and it heightens the level of frustration the agents feel. Neither is a good option.

Note: Prepare an outline and give it to the agents to follow through the class.

Complicated topics require extra preparation and targeted delivery in class. I try to break down the process and explain carefully what the steps are as I demonstrate them. I repeat myself and the demonstration often, and prompt agents to work along with me through the process. Most of the participants stay on track and can follow. A few are unable to keep up and all of a sudden I get the dreaded “where are we?” question. I then must stop the class and assist the person who has gotten off track. It can be as simple as helping them with a click or two to get to where they need to be. Sometimes it requires troubleshooting a range of issues from browser type to restarting the computer to Install updates that the person inadvertently clicked on. It takes time to get back to where we were. It’s frustrating for the participants who work diligently to keep up. It’s frustrating for me to have to stop and start multiple times because some participants are somehow unable to follow directions or pay attention for a period of time.

Note: Break down the process into shorter, more digestible chunks and check in with all participants on a regular basis to make sure they are able to follow along.

When you get to the end of a long day of training, both the participants and trainer are tired and ready for a break. I try to summarize the actions I covered and what they should have learned over the course of the day. It never fails that someone claims he/she doesn’t know what to do or how to do it because they “just don’t get it.” My attempts to calm the frustrations and explain that all participants will want to practice with various tools can fall flat. Such was the case with one man today. He just couldn’t understand the process of setting up a signing session for his client to sign documents electronically. What finally came up was a general angst about not knowing which documents are needed for different situations. Although I could answer his questions, he was convinced there was nothing that could help him (there is/are–he just decided that there wasn’t). I fought hard to not lose my temper or get sarcastic with the agent. My tolerance for this kind of response at the end of the day is nil.

Note: Devise a way to communicate expectations for agents so that they understand the scope of what is covered in the class and where to go for additional help.

Tomorrow is another day of tech training. If I had my way, I would break down these two full days into several shorter sessions. The reality is that everyone (managers and agents alike) want to get through the introductory training as quickly as possible. Ideally, agents would go online for much of the compliance and basic tools training before coming to a class. In class we would focus on application of the tools in selected situations. I have moved the syllabus of this sequence to a more situation-based approach. The next step is to create the online modules to take the place of some in-class time.

Note: Create more online modules and rework the class outline to incorporate them into the sequence. Schedule less time in class. Communicate the rationale for this mode of delivery and get agents and managers to buy into the changes.

A good night’s sleep does wonders for my ability to handle even the most frustrating situations in tech training. Sometimes that’s all I can do to prepare myself for the next day’s adventures!

Running a Training Department on a Shoestring, Part 2

In my last post, I discussed how Eventbrite has provided an effective platform for organizing and delivering registrations for our professional development offerings. Instead of manually entering registration information conveyed in an e-mail, we direct people to a registration page via a calendar widget or URL. Agents enter their own information and get updates and reminders automatically. I’m free to focus on other aspects of the professional development program.

One thing that is a constant in my position is the need to produce updated materials. In addition to print materials, there are videos and images, job aids and user guides that require my attention. I’m always on the look out for cheap (read: free) ways to help me produce learning materials that look good and deliver the message well.

Over a year ago I encountered Canva. I’m not sure where I saw the reference, but it got me curious and I checked out the site. Canva is an online platform that lets you create designs for social media posts, documents, marketing materials, and more. I use the free version, but there is the option to upgrade to be able to load all of your brand-standard materials for use when designing pieces. You can also choose to use images or other design elements in Canva that carry a small fee.

I make almost all of my visuals for social media on Canva. I also create presentation designs and upload them to PowerPoint. My next project is to use the infographic template to create job aids and quick reference guides. Canva has numerous free designs you can clone and edit for your purpose. You can also create your piece using basic templates and adding background, text, images, and graphics. If there are no images in Canva’s library that suit you, or if you have a specific image you want to use, you can also upload these to your account and have them available for a piece.

There are other free platforms (Adobe Spark, Venngage) that let you create images and designs for use on social media and in documents, but I have found Canva to be very versatile and relatively easy to use. I was disappointed with Venngage because many of the templates they offer require the user to upgrade to a paid account. If you have a free account, your sharing and downloading are restricted. I know others who use Adobe Spark and like it. Adobe Spark has additional features that let you create animated videos and web stories. While Canva is set up for easy sharing online if you so desire, Adobe Spark is primarily geared toward social sharing and web applications.

Great content is the backbone of effective training materials. Good designs, images, and graphics reinforce the message. We have a marketing department at my company, and they do help with some design work (and use Canva as well!); however, I find that by creating the images I need for a presentation, video, or document myself, I can tailor the message with image and the words, written or spoken. It’s helpful to have a tool that gives me the “rails” within which I can confidently play with the visual message. That the tool is free is a definite plus.

Running a Training Department on a Shoestring, Part 1

There are many challenges to managing a training program for over a thousand real estate agents located across a state. Automating as many processes as possible becomes required when you have limited personnel and funds. One process that we had to find a cost-effective solution for quickly was class/course registration. We needed cheap, effective way to give agents access to a calendar of upcoming classes and the ability registration online.

Our registration process depended on agents or managers sending e-mails to one person who would then add the person registering to a calendar invitation for the class. All monitoring of attendance was done manually with a sign in sheet and a spreadsheet where names and dates were recorded. This was time-consuming and did not give us an easy way to monitor registrations prior to a class. We used a Google calendar as a class calendar. This displayed the upcoming offerings on our intranet site, but it was not interactive and did not allow agents to register.

After some research, I landed on Eventbrite. Although it is primarily for event organizers who want to sell tickets or charge a fee for registration, I found that Eventbrite suited us well for what we needed. Eventbrite is free to use (a big plus) and gives us a calendar widget we can post to our intranet site. The calendar is interactive: Click on a date and you can see all classes scheduled for that date; click on “Register Now” and you are directed to the online registration page.

Eventbrite charges a fee if you sell tickets through the site and have Eventbrite collect the charges. We have used this feature for our annual convention where we charge a small fee to attend. The process was straight-forward and the fee was not exorbitant. It saved us the hassle of collecting checks or cash prior to and at the event.

In addition to having the interactive calendar for class registration, Eventbrite offers several tools that make life easier for the department. We check in participants on our mobile devices through the Eventbrite Organizer app (this is how we take attendance now!). If necessary, we can even register/sell tickets through the app.

I often send e-mail messages to participants before or even after a class through the platform. This eliminates the need to copy addresses into my e-mail message to send from my e-mail. I also have a record of what was sent when in an easily accessed location.

At any time, I can download reports of registrations and attendance. This makes keeping track of required attendance easier and more efficient. I often download information to a spreadsheet and forward it on to managers so that they can also see who is registered for or attended a class.

Eventbrite will also create a Facebook event for a class and include all the relevant information as well the link to register. I typically do not use this option, but I do take the URL for a class (each one has its own, customizable URL) and post it on Facebook when promoting a class or program. In addition to the Facebook interface, you have the ability to connect an Eventbrite account with any number of platforms including Survey Monkey and Mail Chimp via extensions.

There are many more features available in Eventbrite. On occasion I’ve used access codes to limit who can register for a class or program, the name badge function to create badges for classes, the wait list when demand for a class has been high, and the copy function to create “events” based on past offerings.

It’s rare to find a versitle tool that provides options such as these at a low cost. I’m happy to have stumbled upon Eventbrite for our class registration and reporting needs.

Social Selling is Not Just For Marketers

Not long ago, trainers could depend on students showing up to class because they got a flier or a printed newsletter with a list of upcoming offerings. Their manager or boss told them about the class and they dutifully filled out the registration blank and sent it in to the training department.

Today, that printed promotional piece may never be seen, ending up instead in a recycling bin or trashcan when it is discovered after the class took place. Today’s trainer needs to be an effective marketer utilizing various channels to “get the word out” and attract participants to the seminar, class, or webinar. Social media gives trainers another channel to reach the people who need training. It’s also a way to build trust in your programs and the credibility of your message.

I started using a Facebook business page several years ago as a way to learn how to use Facebook for business so I could teach others. What started out as an experiment has turned into an effective way to promote our training programs. HER University is both an example of what real estate agents can do with their own Facebook business pages but also a tool for the training department to get more agents to our programs. Here’s a sample of how I use the page to market training at HER Realtors:

  • Events This is probably a no-brainer, but the ability to create Facebook events and invite people to them is one way to draw attention to special training programs or classes. The event has a link to register through Eventbrite (more on Eventbrite in a future post), information about the speaker/trainer, and all the basic details. As we near the date of the program, posts about what participants need to know or other helpful information is added. If available, I post videos and pictures to the Facebook event also. I encourage people to share the event to help broaden the reach, but ideally it should be promoted.
  • Sharing and tagging When we hold a special event or program, I and others share to the page about it with one or multiple photos and tag participants. This doesn’t necessarily get people to the event or program, but it heightens awareness of what we’re doing. Participants will often share these posts or comment. (I or one of my colleagues always respond when someone comments on a post).
  • Class Posts Any time we want to try to get more registrations for a class or webinar, it goes on the Facebook page with a link to register for the class/webinar. It’s not enough to just post information about a class or webinar, people need to have a way to contact someone or register for the class. And don’t forget pictures or video!
  • Video We create videos with quick tips or other information that our agents might find useful. Posting these videos helps demonstrate that the page is a resource for information. I used to post the YouTube link to the videos, but now I post directly to the page. This gets more attention and organic reach.
  • Interesting Information In addition to the information about upcoming classes and programs, we regularly post information about the company and real estate industry for agents to share. This is intended to help get the word out about topics we think they need to know or would like to know, but it also serves to give agents something to share on their pages. Creating content can be difficult for some of them despite our efforts to teach and reinforce best practices.
  • Private groups Sometimes it makes sense to create a private group for agents participating in a multi-session program. The private group becomes the place they and the instructor(s) can communicate and share their progress. The private group becomes a place for social learning also.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what a Facebook page can be used for to promote a training program. To be truly effective, I believe you need to put some of your budget towards boosting posts and advertising the page. Training is a recruiting opportunity in real estate, and the more agents at other brokerages know about a company’s programs, the more attractive it might be to affiliate with the company. This is likely true for other industries as well. Engaging managers on the page is helpful. They can help get the word out and have a presence on the page, too.

Facebook is not the only social networking site that’s useful for promoting a training program, but it’s relatively cheap (or free) and easy to use.

Tech Training Truisms

Twice a month I facilitate training on our technology platforms for agents new to the brokerage. This introductory training consists of two, six-hour days of hands-on training. Participants are asked to bring a laptop with them so they can work along as I demonstrate the various tasks they need to perform to be able to use our technology tools effectively.

Since I’ve been leading this kind of training, I’ve noticed a few things that, no matter where I am or how many people attend the class, always tend to come up. Here are my top five tech training truisms:

  1. People pay little or no attention to the description of the class or registration confirmation telling them to bring a laptop to class. I have nothing against iPads or other tablet computing devices (I own an iPad and use it often). They are handy to have and work well for many applications. Unfortunately, they don’t work well for some of the tasks we need to perform in class. I’ve learned to adjust my instruction to accommodate those with tablets. I’d prefer not to have to take time in class to show the one person with a tablet how to do something while the rest wait to move on. I believe that this will not be an issue in the future as more technology platforms accommodate mobile devices.
  2. The wifi will crash when you’re in the middle of working on a crucial task. I travel with my own wifi now, but if the internet access in the building goes down, the entire class is stalled. I now have back-up presentations I can show if I can’t do a live demonstration. Participants can’t perform the tasks I instruct them to do, but at
    least they can still learn.
  3. tech-training-truismsThere will be someone in the class who doesn’t understand basic instructions like “point,” “click,” “open a browser window,” or “upload.” I could name a few more, but you get the drift. You’d think that everyone has basic computer skills these days, but it’s not necessarily true. I usually need to teach to several levels of computer literacy in any given class.
  4. No matter how engaging you are as an instructor, someone will get bored and decide to check e-mail, go shopping, play online games, etc. I have spent much time working to provide engaging training to avoid this problem; however, the lure of the internet is too great. I’m not sure anyone could keep people from surfing with the most engaging training in such a class.
  5. People might “get it” in class but they don’t really understand the tool until they have to use it. For many of the agents new to the business, this means there is a gap between their initial training and actually using a tool in the field. Some are able to retain what they were taught, but many forget. This is where online, on-demand training fills the gap. They can refresh their knowledge in order to use technology when working with a client.

I was never a boy scout, but I have learned the value of being prepared when I train on technology tools. Whatever can go wrong usually does.