Online Learning – Training Webinar Success Tips

If you think that face-to-face training is the best way to do training, think again. New research shows that a blended approach produces 35-69 percent better outcomes than face-to-face alone.

What’s a blended approach? It’s a mixture of delivery modes, put together in a pattern to create the best result. For example, a blended course might involve one full day face-to-face, followed by several one-hour webinars delivered sequentially across a number of weeks. Another example might include a self-paced DVD program, followed by three two-hour webinars, followed by a live one-to-one coaching session.

The blended approach delivers even higher value than its impact on results in the workplace. It’s also an important part of reducing the need to travel for the training. Time in training sessions is time away from the job, so many employers are happier with training at the desktop that lasts only an hour or two. In addition, corporations worldwide are eager to eliminate travel, weather across town or halfway around the world. So, when your business offers part or all of its training online, you have a competitive advantage that companies that hire you will value.

So if your business delivers training services, it’s important to take a fresh look at how to restructure your training offerings to provide a significantly higher impact. If you plan on doing some live online training via Web conference technology, here are some success factors to help.

  • Keep your online learning session short.

    For training webinars, limit each session to one to two hours. One hour is best, but two hours works well when the training is interactive enough.

  • Tell students not to take notes, but instead to enjoy the experience of learning together.

    Promise your student participants a handout at the end of the session that captures all of the notes on the slides. If your slides are proprietary, you don’t have to give them a copy. Instead, give them a high-value handout that details the critical points, lists, and actions that are required for your participants to be successful. In an online learning environment, a short and focused PDF handout is better than long and comprehensive book.

  • Design your training webinar for vigorous, relevant, and continuous interaction.

    The toughest audience in the world is one that links from the desktop. At any moment in time, people are seconds a way from multitasking.

    The only way to keep people from multitasking is to create

    (1) extremely high value content,

    (2) delivered at a brisk pace,

    (3) intermixed with constant interaction that adds value to the experience of learning at that moment.

    When online trainers can’t see the students’ nonverbal cues, s/he has to be even more deliberate in building high quality interaction throughout the session.

  • Have students meet from individual desktops, not a conference room.

    To get the highest level of interaction, it’s best if each student links separately to the Web conference online learning session. That lets every student be able to participate easily and quickly in polls, chat discussions, imitation feedback, and voice interaction. When students meet from a conference room, sharing a computer inhibits rapid interaction that is needed to keep everyone else engaged. No one must be disadvantaged by location from being a full and equal participant in the learning.

  • Design your slides for brain appeal.

    Your students cannot see your face. But they can be very engaged by the PowerPoint slides that you use in your training webinar. Avoid standard Microsoft PowerPoint templates. Instead, find commercial templates that better express the theme of your training. Avoid clipart. Instead, use commercially available photo art and photo images. Avoid standard formatting. Instead, skillfully learn how to create and design slides that engaged the attention of your desktop students.

  • Team teach online learning sessions when you can.

    With experience and training, a single person can manage all aspects of an online learning session. But it’s better to team teach in your initial training webinars. For example, while one person instructs, the other annotates, manages polls, sets up chat discussions, observes the participation of the students, and asks questions to keep interaction going.

  • End with an online version of a standing ovation.

    You know that when you have delivered an excellent learning session. Students are eager to say how much they enjoyed the experience of learning with you. In an online learning environment, many trainers don’t get that feedback. Before you end the online learning session, ask students to use chat to tell you what they learned that they will apply. Encourage them make several entries. Then a moment later ask them what they enjoyed most about the class. They will be able to share their comments with the group or with you privately, as you specify. If you ask your student participants to share their comments publicly in chat, everyone will see dozens of positive comments that reinforce the high-value of your content as well as a very enjoyable interactive session, too.

  • End the online learning session with a three-minute online survey.

    Most Web conference platforms will allow you to drop the student off at a website where you can poll them on the metrics that show the value of your online learning program or session. If a company hired you (vs. individuals), summarize the information from the feedback form, and send it to the client. If students registered independently, neutralize the feedback and post the data on your website, along with quotes (of course, by permission).

Restaurant Training – Waitress & Waiter Training Role Play Tips For Hospitality Education & Learning

Lights, Camera, Action!

Incorporate Role Play for a Winning Training Program

Take one…take two…take three…ready on the set?

Are your teams providing their best performance with every guest that walks through your doors? Incorporating role play into your training programs will help your guests receive an encore performance every time.

Role play is one of the most effective tools in the trainer’s toolbox where participants can experience real life situations and “learn by doing”. Role play can be used to train any level of company personnel including staff, managers, and even company executives.

Role play allows teams to experience real life situations in a simulated and controlled environment. With participants playing the roles of guests, employees, and managers, they can be better equipped to handle situations.

Because of the controlled environment, role play allows the trainer to assess an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and devise an action plan for growth and development. When used to master a skill, role play builds confidence as the skill is practiced and coaching is administered by a trainer. Since the trainer is side by side with the learner, they can easily determine whether the learner has mastered the newfound technique and is ready to work their position solo. When role play is used to emphasize with another person’s feelings, it allows the teams to recognize those feelings and understand the effect of their or other’s behaviors. For example, role playing a guest situation will allow teams to better understand how a guest feels. As a result, they will learn the level of service that should be provided to deliver a quality experience. Another benefit from role play is helping team members understand the consequences of breaking policies, such as, arriving late to work and the stressful impact it may have on the entire team. As a result, they will learn the importance of arriving on time.

How to get started

Prior to the scheduled training date, company assessments should be performed to determine the specific areas of performance/improvement to be addressed. Then, the company facilitator should determine the overall results to be accomplished and how the issues will be best addressed. For instance, the trainer should determine if the issues are related more to emphasizing feelings or strengthening a skill.

Next, the company facilitator should determine the specific characters associated with the issue and the particular roles they will play. There are many roles that can be played such as a guest and service representative, a manager and team member, a service representative and kitchen team member or similar combinations.

Finally, the company facilitator, armed with the necessary scripts and scenarios, can then develop training aids and other training tools to address the overall goals of the program.

As a head start, we have listed some suggested scenarios that will help you role play with your teams. Before starting the role play, always ask for volunteers so the shy or less experienced teams can watch others first to help build their confidence.

Suggested Scenarios

1. Cashier talking on the phone and not acknowledging a walk-in guest

2. Server being abrupt and rushing a guest while taking an order (asks questions in a curt, quick manner and displays rushed body language)

3. Server being overly friendly and talking too much with a group of business guests having a meeting

4. Server scolding a kitchen worker about an order made incorrectly

5. Host/Hostess being sarcastic and short tempered when a guest is asking for menu information

6. Host/Hostess defensively telling a guest “I told you the wait was 20-25 minutes and you only waited 10 minutes”

7. Bartender being cold and unfriendly while a sole diner is looking for attention and conversation

8. Bartender chatting with some regulars and ignoring a guest who obviously needs something (beverage refill, a napkin, condiments etc.)

9. Two bus persons talking about personal issues while ignoring a guest’s signal for service

10. Kitchen team member loudly demanding a server to pick up an order

11. Dishwasher being disrespected as servers throw dirty dishes without scraping them first

12. A problem team member causing coworkers to do extra work; creating disagreements among the staff; undermining management; constantly being late; and similar situations.

13. Manager telling the guest “no” or “we can’t do that” without apologizing, adding an explanation, and offering options

14. Manager pointing his/her finger and arguing with a guest when handling a complaint

15. Manager threatening a team member’s job

Alkis Crassas, President of EVOS USA, Inc., a healthier fast food chain, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, routinely uses role play and says, “Although role playing pushes the envelope by placing participants in the limelight, after the butterflies disappear, it will smooth out and your team will begin to see the big picture goals of your restaurant”.

If role play is designed properly and effectively executed, it can be very valuable to the success of any company. Most important, when role play is interactive and fun, your training goals will be retained and result in a high return on your investment. Role play adds to the life experience of each participant and when people experience something, they will take that away with them more so than any book, video or lecture could ever replicate.

Restaurant Training – Waiter & Waitress Training Tips For Customer Service – Hospitality Education

Did you know that approximately 14 percent of your customers will not return to your business because of food quality and 68 percent because of service quality? So, doesn’t it make sense to train your waiters and waitresses to deliver superior service to win your customers back every time?

To gain the competitive edge today, you have to do much more to place your restaurant on the “favorites” list. One way is through personalizing service for each type of customer that comes to your business. For example, selling and service techniques employed for a family with children are different from that which would be delivered to elderly customers. The same holds true for business customers versus vacationers. It is never safe to think that your restaurant service staff will inherently understand these differences. Unless trained, they are most likely to offer one size fits all service.

Teach your waiters and waitresses to be observant and follow the tips below to help assess the needs of your customers:

•Time limitation (leisurely or time restricted)

•Mood (celebratory, romantic, stressed)

•Age group (children, teenagers, baby boomers, seniors, geriatrics)

•Purpose for their visit (social, private/intimate, or business)

•Gender (male, female)

Since approximately 80 percent of communication is conveyed through facial gestures and verbal and non verbal body language, as opposed to the actual words, teach your service team to focus on the following areas:

•Verbal Language (voice tone, rate, inflection, speech, pronunciation, and grammar)

•Body Language (eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and movement)

Look for telltale signs of a customer in a rush such as looking at their watch, looking around or rubber necking, talking quickly, crossing their arms, or tapping their fingers. Also, closely observe your customers’ image (e.g. clothing, accessories, hair, makeup, etc.). This can also provide you with many clues about their dining needs.

Here is an exercise to share with your service team. It lists various types of customers and ways to customize service for each customer category. During a pre-shift meeting or company training session, review this exercise with your restaurant service staff.

Customer Types and Service Suggestions:

1. Celebrating

-Since celebrating customers usually have larger budgets, suggest higher priced items along with party-spirit foods/drinks and a cake to recognize the occasion

-Congratulate the celebrating customer and focus on their main event

-Be social unless serving a couple desiring privacy

2. Elderly

-Since many elderly customers are on a limited income, guide them towards value-oriented foods and recommend light, soft, and less spicy foods

-Be patient and speak slowly, project your voice, and listen carefully

-Refrain from acts which can be construed as condescending or treating them like children

3. Family (with children)

-Offer high chairs and booster seats

-Be prepared to make kid-favorite suggestions and easy to eat finger foods

-Offer something to occupy the child’s attention (game books, crayons, crackers)

-Be patient while the family orders and give the children the opportunity to place their order themselves

-Sincerely compliment the customer about their children

-Ask the child kid-friendly questions

-Place drinks where spills are less likely and remove obstacles (e.g. vases and centerpieces)

-Quickly clean spills and keep the area tidy

-Deliver extra napkins

4. Romantic Couple

-Guide the couple towards a booth or secluded area for privacy when seating them

-Suggest higher priced items along with wines, champagnes, and exotic desserts, since romantic couples and people on first-dates usually have larger budgets

-Deliver highly organized and efficient service

-Minimize your conversation and allow them privacy, without hovering over them

5. Business

-Suggest higher priced items, since many business people have business accounts and set allowances

-Suggest items that are prepared quickly and inform them if their selected order requires a long preparation, if they are on a business lunch

-Deliver highly organized and efficient service and ensure their order is delivered promptly

-Minimize your conversation and allow them privacy without hovering over them

Please Note: When serving alcohol, train your staff to be aware of the signs of intoxication and avoid overselling alcohol. Teach your staff to refuse alcohol sales to any minors.

Other customer types include customers dining alone (the solo customer), disabled customers, teenagers as customers, customers who are in a rush, first-time customers, and customers who dine in large groups/gatherings. Again, each different type of customer has “specific” service needs. Along with recognizing the category customers belong in, the above service suggestions are meant as recommendations and are not set in stone. Always, be sure to fully assess every dining customer by closely observing verbal and body language to determine how to positively interact with them. Mike Owens, General Manager of Brick Oven LLC, located in Topeka, Kansas, says, “Using the above examples in role-play scenarios is a highly effective method to properly train your service teams…it helps them fully understand the importance of tailoring their service versus delivering the same canned service to everyone.”

“Service” is not just about delivering food and drinks to the table-it is giving the customer much more than he/she expects. Implementing a solid training program that focuses on personalizing service will set you apart from your competitors. Exceeding the needs of each customer with customized service takes a little extra time. However, it is worth the effort. When the customer wins, everyone wins and it’s a triple play-more money for you, increased tips for your service staff, and happy customers that become loyal patrons and refer their friends to your business.