Day 2 of OO

I believe that people come into your life for a reason. Some stay a long time, some stay only a brief moment but they are all there for a reason. I think I figured out why Solveig Haugland came to Howard County Library to teach OpenOffice (well besides the obvious – we paid her to come and teach us). She is not only here to teach our staff how to better understand, use and help our customers use OpenOffice but she had a lesson for me as well.

Perhaps I should have entitled this post “All I need to learn about being a trainer I learned from Solveig.”

Just a short list of things I learned from Solveig today:

  • Be unflappable. Stuff Happens – just deal with it in a calm, matter of fact manner and others will as well.
  • Be alert. A room of 12-13 of people ranging in computer and OO experience got her attention when they needed it.
  • Be assertive not aggressive. Her authority did not need to be questioned. A few times when people continued to talk when she needed them to pay attention to what she was pointing out she just calmly, assertively and without making them feel embarrassed let them know she now needed their attention.
  • Be funny. Her humor punctuated the lessons at the right moments. He fun games (such as OpenOffice Jeopardy complete with throwing a stuffed penguin [how appropriate for HCL] between the teams to determine the next person.
  • Be clear. When someone didn’t quite think they should do the exercise the way Solveig had described it – she explained the reason it would help her if she did it Solveig’s suggested method (work in pairs but communicate – talk it out helped to reinforce the steps they were working on).

So my thanks to the staff of Howard County for needing this training, my thanks to my boss, Amy DeGroff. for arranging for this training and most importantly a big thanks to Solveig. Little did I know she would teach me more than some OpenOffice tricks.

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