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What is the point of IT training

question-markMany organisations have cut their training budgets and seem to think that staff are able to ‘pick up’ new software on their own. Recently I was training a lady who had been pretty unimpressed with her employers, who expected her to work on Office 2010 with no upgrade training. It was like buying her a new car without checking first that she could use the new controls. Scarey! Even simple things frustrated her and her productivity had fallen dramatically. However, happily, with an afternoon spent 1:1 training she stopped being indignant and became enthusiastic about the new software and began seeing the ways she could do her job faster and better with it.

My lady was an experienced user of a much older version of Word and during training she discovered that she would benefit from using Styles, and how to use the Navigation Pane to simply drag sections of the pages and drop them in different order. If in future she wants to generate an automatic Table of Contents to navigate the document, she already has the Styles in place so it will take only a few clicks. She used the new ‘Building Blocks’ to create quick cover pages for her documents and create her own customised headers and footers, which she saved to use every time in future. She added new ‘useful’ commands to the Quick Access toolbar, so that those commands are right at the top of the screen next time she wants them, instead of having quite a few clicks to find them. ‘Shrink to Fit’ is one of my favourites, for those few words that have spilled onto the next page, to tuck them back up to the previous page.

Sometimes people are just suffering from ‘Overwhelm Syndrome’ as I call it. In order to make your organisation more productive, first of all get employees organising their time better using Outlook 2010. With tools like the Calendar, Tasks and using Categories to colour code emails, contacts and appointments you can effectively manage your time and this means you’ll be more focussed and have more time, more energy and ultimately achieve better results. Stress levels come down and you’ll feel in control.

If you’re a user of lists of data, or financial information, Excel 2010 is fantastic for sifting through and showing you the data, whether by filtering, pivot tables or spark lines and charts. It would literally take years to ‘stumble across’ all the smarter ways of manipulating data that you would learn in a day’s training, Also, it’s a waste of time just learning features without some way of putting into place a process for discovering how YOU will use those features.

OneNote is a program that few people have realised will help them become so organised! An electronic notebook with the potential to help you (and your colleagues) gather unlimited pages where you can type notes, ‘snip’ screenshots from webpages, or other programs, with a super efficient Search facility that can even find text written on images. So, collaborate on shared notebooks, even across the web with a Windows Live account, add links to files, audio and video to pages within your sections in the notebooks. What’s more, Microsoft OneNote integrates with the other Office programs, so that for example you can mark items in OneNote to become Tasks in Outlook.

So, in my opinion, training is an investment of time, which is paid back many times over. Use your time wisely and you will accomplish a lot more, produce better, more professional looking documents and be in control.

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