Training Starts the Conversation

Training provides a two-fold opportunity. First, it teaches the users how to use the new platform – click here, drag and drop there, etc. Second, training provides an opportunity to help your team embrace this new communication strategy called presentation management.

Cooper Standard is a world leader in automotive and aviation parts with over 30,000 employees. We developed a training program with them that covered the “how” and the “why” for presentation management, and included multiple touch points to reach such a diverse and geographically dispersed group.

Chris Andrews, the Director of Digital and Marketing Communications for Corporate Communications, and her marketing team of writers and designers created a library of branded, compliant presentations. For their presentation management launch, Andrews served as the presentation director and her team acted as the presentation task force. They started their slide library with high-level information about product lines, including sealing systems, fuel- and brake-delivery systems and fluid-transfer systems. They also included a slide about each facility. And then, the team started talking with their division and regional leaders about presentation management.

Here’s how Andrews’ team approached the task:

  1. Training the influencers – Once Andrews and her team had a foundation for their library, they scheduled sessions with the regional leaders in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Since the attendees were joining from four continents, Andrews’ team conducted the sessions via web meeting. We showed them Shufflrr’s features and functions, but more importantly, Andrews discussed why Cooper Standard was moving toward a presentation management platform, and how this new platform was going to make it easier and better for employees and partners to distribute and share accurate and branded slides all over the world. While the products may be the same, business protocols and cultures are very different from country to country. So, Andrews asked each attendee how he or she thought it would affect that region and how the system should be rolled out. For example, Asia required a different language and alphabet. So, we worked specifically with that director to tailor a separate training program for the Asia region. The meetings were less how-to tutorial and more conversation. Everyone participated.

  2. Training the users – With such a dispersed group, our team at Shufflrr collaborated with Cooper Standard and created several means of training with different touch points. The first and, we believe, most impactful was in-person classroom training. We hosted several training sessions in different offices around Michigan, where Cooper Standard is headquartered. Those who could not physically attend could log in in through Webex. Andrews began these sessions with the reasons Cooper Standard launched a presentation management initiative. She explained to her colleagues that presentation management would make it much easier for them to assemble a presentation. She started each session by showing off all of the new content that her team had created, the library of polished, professional product and facility slides, the videos and other materials that were now so easy to find and use. She also emphasized that the slides in the library coincide with Cooper Standard’s larger brand initiative. Users could get their jobs done and build the company’s image. It balanced the enterprise marketing goals with the daily needs of employees. We then showed them how the system works. However, with every feature demonstration we gave a reason why that feature was important. We showed them how to receive a slide update, but we also explained that slide updating would ensure that they had the latest, branded version of that slide. Since Cooper Standard is continually innovating, slide updating is a feature users will want so they can keep up.

  3. More web training – It’s impossible to get everyone in the same room or on the same webinar. This is also true for smaller companies. We scheduled multiple sessions across several months to give everyone an opportunity to participate.

  4. Ask for feedback – Andrews understood that training doesn’t end with the session. It’s easy to lose people’s attention once they leave a meeting. Her team sent out a survey asking for feedback and suggestions on the presentation management program and the training sessions so we could improve as we continued. The request for feedback is a means to keep the conversation going.

  5. Make it fun and rewarding – Adoption is usage, and the marketing team needed to get their colleagues to embrace and start using the new presentation management solution. So, marketing created a contest. The game consisted of a series of exercises to complete in Shufflrr, using features and functions highlighted during training sessions. The catch is that they hid a slide in the library, the Golden Slide. As part of the game, aka practice exercises, users were asked to create a new presentation that included the Golden Slide and send it back to Andrews using Shufflrr’s share feature. To play the game, they had to search, preview, drag and drop, save a new presentation and share. They had to use and learn their tool’s features. Those who completed the task got a prize. While playing the game, employees were learning how to use their new slide library. And they could win cool stuff.

  6. Training materials – With the understanding that you will never get everyone with one program, Andrews provided her colleagues with how-to videos, long-form recording of live training, and cheat sheets. The idea is that anyone can reference any of these materials within their presentation management system when it’s convenient for them.

Andrews and her team at Cooper Standard understood that training is an ongoing conversation. She did not expect a global team to change their habits and thinking around presentations after one 45-minute session. She also understood that it’s not a one-way lecture. She engaged her colleagues, each group at their own level, and step-by-step, encouraged them to think differently about the role of Cooper Standard presentations within the company.