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Last month I went on a Microsoft Excel course, as part of upgrading my skills. It’s Powerpoint next. I have made a commitment to upgrade my software skills.


The products have changed since I last went on training, ahem, twenty years ago. I had become increasingly frustrated by continuously feeling on the back foot. I was irritated by having to always do things the slow way, the manual way, needing to double check for mistakes each time.

My use of software was, and still is slow and clunky compared with the speed and skill I see around me at work and at home.

The world has moved on, using software products is a core skill at work now. I was tired of being behind, often needing to ask for help.

It was time to act.

What’s interesting though, is why did I decide to upgrade my software skills face to face with five other people with the help of an expert tutor on a training course?

After all, some of use choose to become up to date using on-line materials, video tutorials, or the help function within the products themselves.

Here’s the thing.

I know myself well enough now, to know how I learn best. Every time, it’s face to face with other people.

Learning happens best for me when I am part of and having an experience with others, where we can share ideas and stories.

I believe this is true for many of us with management training, professional development and interpersonal skills training too.

At the current time, how much do you, your team and your organisation feel on the front foot with your people skills at work? Is now the moment for upskilling these skills?

I’m wondering if face to face the best way for your people to learn too?

Just like software, a lot has changed with leadership, management and professional skills training in the last twenty years.

You might want to get up to date with strengths, intrinsic motivation and open sandwich feedback thinking to name just three new things.

Gill How loves to help people stretch and grow. Get in touch to find out how she could be part of your team, helping you reach your goals.

Gill is a National Training Award winner and loves to help people in organisations achieve results through developing their skills. She is available to help organisations in the UK and internationally. Gill is future focussed and particularly interested in joining an innovative team, on a project, interim or associate basis. Do get in touch to talk.

Feedback from an “Introduction to Management” course Gill delivered recently as an associate of STL:

“The balance between PowerPoint and group discussion was great. The delegates contributed as much as Gill to the course. It was a fantastic learning experience.”




Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results


  • David Cohen says:

    Hi Gill,

    I think this is a topic worthy of discussion for sure.

    As an organisation (public sector) we are moving much more towards bite-sized learning around software applications – short videos are certainly more prevalent, and being distributed via Yammer, makes them much more accessible. We also have short guides produced – how to’s etc.

    Another example is that all our Corporate mandatory training (not software apps admittedly), six modules of about 30 minutes each, is now e-learning.

    However, one of the things I would focus on is… How much did you actually put into practice? Once we come of learning, within about 48 hours, no more, our retention really drops off the edge of a cliff. So, if you don’t put it into practice quickly, it starts to fade away.

    Related, we probably used about 10-15% of the functionality of these ‘bloat-ware’ applications, and many organisations never really make much effort to bring the other 85-90% to their employees attention. Again, having a social-media platform like Yammer provides a lot of cross-organisation and informal sharing of hints and tips, which you just can’t beat.


    • Gill How says:

      Thanks, David, as ever, I appreciate the time you take to comment.

      I agree with everything you say, about bite size, about use of technology, videos, e-learning and most certainly about embedding in 48 hours.

      For me though, nothing quite replaces the face to face and relationship based learning piece first. Once I feel secure and held, all those other things have a place and can really help.

      On their own though, they don’t always do the trick.

      I wonder how it is for others?


  • David Cohen says:

    Thanks Gill.

    Also, you know what, people are frightened of workplace software and applications. We now have a high level of competency in our personal use of IT, i.e. phones (which I wouldn’t even refer to as IT), but this isn’t the case for workplace IT. The further up the hierarchy, the less you probably want to demonstrate your lack of competency.

    Outside of work, people are now managing without laptops and PCs, so it’s only when we come into work that we have to use some software and systems that can still be classed as large, cumbersome and archaic.

    In recent times, I think social media is the best thing that’s happened to work – instant messaging, notice boards and forums, and the like. We still don’t know how to share content and data very well though – I still see many instances where people think data belongs to ‘them’ and not the company they work for. A bit off topic there, but hey, whilst I’m here I might as well give my 2p worth.

    Must catch up again sometime.


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