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Executive summary

Any type of business has its own set of networking and diplomacy strategies. In the corporate world that we live in, the business organizations are established with a sole goal i.e. profit in business. Huge investments are subject to expectations of getting multiplied over a certain amount of time and derive profits in an optimized way. In order to have a successful business being established, one should have a proper planning or rather a rough structure of how work is going to be divided amongst resources and a monitoring system that makes it mandatory for the resources to function as expected. Every development oriented business/project goes through a life-cycle which has a number of stages. Each of the stages should be handled tactfully to complete the project within a desired timeframe. With all these factors setting in, it becomes highly mandatory that the resources (or the individuals who work for the company) are well trained so that they understand the business requirements, processes, hierarchy, timeframes and values like time and leadership management skills. This article provides an insight into one of the most important areas of achieving expertise i.e. business training.

We shall discuss the areas that the companies need to explore in an employee during business training. Employees should get trained to develop the following attributes:

Business Etiquette Training:

Rightly put, “First impression is the last impression”. It is highly important to appear neat, well-groomed and behave sophisticated. Dress for success-your attire should sync with the type of meeting that you are invited for. Use proper hand gestures. Introduce yourself and colleagues properly. Set the mood right by initiating a discussion on an appropriate topic. A PowerPoint presentation highlighting acceptable dress codes at workplace/meetings should do well.

Make your behavior in your cubicle/cabin acceptable by your colleagues. Sit comfortably, but do not lean too much on the chair, keep your legs not too far away under your desk. Employees tend to take time to develop consciousness towards these areas. A quick but polite remainder by the trainer on improper posture of the employee is essential. Be polite on call, let the caller know if you are placing him on hold/transferring the call. Fulfill your commitments on telephone calls and emails. Choose proper subject line for emails and chose visually comfortable fonts and styles. Avoid grammatical errors and typing mistakes whatsoever. Mock sessions on telephonic conversations and e-mail writing with built-up scenarios can help.

Build a strong network amongst professionals within and out of the company. Provide favors to your colleagues. Tolerate people whom you don’t like and handle them tactfully; including your senior management. When it is time for getting back the favor/recommendations from others, do it without attitude and maintain a decent style. Every business has a renowned set of its customer-base; do not lose patience while talking to difficult customers.

Communication training:

Be diplomatic and build your personal credibility. Not everyone feels and responds in the same way; so understand “how to put up a word” amongst different people. Study the personalities of “negaholics” (people who always have “no” for an answer), your competitors (who can sometimes backstab you) and people who are always whining. Have your answer ready for these people. A trainer role-playing the boss or an irritating customer can give the employees an idea.

Avoid misunderstandings. Clear your doubts by asking questions. Take care to be not too repetitive and develop a knack of asking questions; preferably open-ended. Be a good listener. Avoid disinterest towards others’ complaints, whining and frustrations. Concentrate on your boss’s instructions and avoid the limelight of understanding instructions late and without an explanation. Appropriate listening exercises with monologues/dialogues followed by a questionnaire should be included in the training material. Develop positive body language. Create a positive welcome-mat; keep your mood cheerful. Laziness and boring attitude towards work is contagious.

In cross-cultural workplace, do your homework regarding what offends the other person and what topic makes him converse smoothly with you. Understand different generations at work. Guide younger people without cribbing and be friendly to them. Respect people who are older than you and greet them with proper salutation. The trainer should make the employees acquainted with different regions in the world-geography, their basic greeting styles, slangs etc. This will enable employees to develop work-ethics in global marketplace.

Cross-cultural training:

If an employee is sent overseas, where the dress code and work culture might not even remotely match to that of ours, he should be given a brief training before his flight kicks off. Make him aware of common mistakes in pronunciation that people make here which is not acceptable there. Make him aware of common body languages that are different there than here. Describe the meaning of their nods and bows. Include a lesson on country-specific information like important states and capitals, famous landmarks/places to visit, cuisines, public holidays etc. which help him survive there without much of an effort. Long journeys overseas can be stressful; especially when you are having stopovers and delayed flights. Include tutorials on stress coping mechanisms.

Get the employee voice and accent training via audio tutorials. English language itself has many accents and slangs. Include a brief session on life at work and home. Make him aware of the legal system, emphasize and include tests on strict rules and penalties. Brief session on visa rules and common violations should do well.

Training on creativity:

Getting creative is an important aspect towards business. Introduction of a new product or a good scheme can make fortune for a company. This is the reason why companies tend to hire talented individuals from across the globe. Diversity in employee-structure often leads to bringing together different ideas and hence innovation which the company thrives upon. Make the individuals blurt out their ideas. Many of them restrict ideas within them to avoid embarrassment. An exercise which highlights a particular aspect of creativity in an individual should make its way in the training course. Perhaps innovation goes waste without proper marketing strategies and inability to sell ideas. Explore the sales techniques of the employees by making them able to convince the sturdy and unwilling-to-listen customers through their own choice of words. Put forward unusual problems to get solutions based upon out-of-the-box thinking.

Customer Service Training:

Customers form what is called as “market” for any business. Companies spend millions of dollars to develop call centers to get a high score on customer satisfaction index. Training materials for customer-service should include techniques to greet the customers with a warm welcome, clean up the dead-air and strike an interesting conversation. Employees should be trained as to how to make the customers feel “assured” of getting answers to their queries and handling a complaint with minimum possible resolution time. A brief course on personality development and process knowledge should be incorporated in the trainees.

Other factors such as average-handling time and time taken to make a brief note of last customers’ query/complaint should be worked upon to bring them to a minimum. Enhancing customer experience is a key to success of an organization. Trainees should be allowed to make an offer that cannot be resisted by the customer in case the customer is agitated with service/faulty goods. Training a separate team to handle the warranty issues is also mandatory.

Time management and productivity training:

Time is a monster haunting the workers with the deadlines sooner or later. Taming this obstacle is essential. Employees are to be given a strict course on how important the deadlines are and how they can adversely affect the business of an organization. Unpunctuality, time-wasters and uninformed leaves are to be dealt in severely. “I shall do it later attitude is a big no-no”. Employees should be provided management tools that make their work quicker by preparing a proper plan-sheet. Training on such tools can be useful. Care should be taken to cope with system outages since they are out of employees’ control and renders time useless. Training courses should teach employees to prioritize work-structure, managing stress due to overwork and over-commitments. Communication inside the office should be quick and spreading a word or two shouldn’t be a lengthy process. Goals should be set up to shoot up the performance. Care should be taken to make meetings effective and avoid repetition of updates/plans.

Human Resources Training:

Human resources (HR) team is present at the door for the interviewees who later become employees. “Selecting the right guy” means company-progress through his long-term commitment. The HR team should be motivated to come up with new effective interviewing techniques and test materials for interviewees. A group discussion on the same can do well. Preparation of a well-organized induction and orientation programs make the new recruits aware of company policies and its diversified domains. A relevant update should be registered timely in such materials to give employees up-to-date info. Nevertheless, the HR department should be trained to be co-operative and should guide the new recruits within the company till they are familiar with the company and colleagues in the team that they work in.

Sales Training:

Perhaps the sales department is the most important one since it is the department through which the company derives its income. Sales representatives should be smart or rather, they should sell smarter. A sale is not only about selling the goods/service, but about selling personality. With a right blend of attitude and personality, customers can be convinced of buying even the worst of the products at a good price. To sell a product, a sales guy should have full knowledge of the product. This is where the training for sales kicks in. Sales training is usually divided into two sets viz. presentation skills and process training.

Exercises on role-playing of customer vs. sales rep is a must in the curriculum. Training materials should stress on “how to convince” strategies. Sales reps should be trained on how to make tempting offers and get the deal closed. Proper knowledge of when to offer what kind of deals to customers is essential. Thus we have explored and discussed in detail the different areas of improvement that should be targeted by the trainers and worked upon. Above discussed are only the common areas that a company should train individuals upon. However, training can also be company-specific as well as process specific. For example training in an oil and gas company will be way different from a company in the banking sector. A company makes best of attempts to train its resources on whatever areas it can to get optimal throughput. However, it ultimately depends upon only the individual himself to learn as much as he can and progress up the ladder of hierarchy.

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