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How many of you have a list of buzzwords you want to leave behind? I bet I know one of them, and no, it’s not “unprecedented” (although I’d be pleased as punch to never hear that again). The buzzword I hope to permanently remove from my vocabulary is… pivot.
“Pivot” is the polite way of saying, “I stopped doing the thing I did before because it no longer exists/doesn’t need me/isn’t offering me enough to get by.” In actuality, it’s defined as: “turn on, or as if on, a central point, pin, or shaft.” This got me thinking. Is a complete career change really a pivot?
For many of us who spent years working in the restaurant industry, trying to imagine a world sitting behind a desk seems almost impossible. True, having evenings and weekends off feels like a bit of a dream, especially at first. As I made the transition from a 50-hour work week on my feet to a world of lunch breaks and sitting, I felt a sense of insecurity about my ability to adapt. Would these skills transfer to an online training world?
The answer, I’m very happy to report, is yes! There are even a few tips I picked up over the years that came as a surprise to my coworkers, and I’m more than happy to share them with you.
Never Say “Just”
This can be applied to countless filler words, but this one I find many haven’t picked up on yet. To add a “just” to any sentence acts as a filler that often diminishes the statement that follows. Even if you’re attempting to suggest something is simple, the addition of “just” can make a learner feel like something should be easy to everyone and make them feel worse if it’s not simple for them. Remember, you are not “just checking in” to see if someone’s audio connection is working effectively (or their food meets their expectations!), you are performing a vital part of your job as a virtual classroom trainer or producer. Speaking definitively exudes confidence, which leads to my next point.
A common phrase used to quickly correct someone who is over-explaining a concept when time is of the essence. Keep everything simple and use universal acronyms whenever you can. Just remember to walk the fine line between simplification and oversimplification, which then requires more explanation in the long run. Every single working adult in the virtual classroom (or kitchen) wants efficiency and consistency, and it’s your job to deliver.
Be Ready to Move “On the Fly”
In a dream world, orders would never be taken incorrectly, or forgotten. Chits in the kitchen wouldn’t fall to the floor and disappear under a large sink, only to be found weeks later during a deep clean. In the virtual classroom, we’d love to sail along without a hitch. This isn’t realistic! Mistakes are made, machines break down, technical issues occur, and only one thing remains true: the product must still be delivered correctly and in a timely fashion. For every instance you remember having to wait too long at a restaurant for your meal or received the wrong item, I personally guarantee you there were ten other dining experiences where the same problem occurred (or worse) and the folks in the kitchen were able to solve it, all with you none the wiser. Be like those cooks and servers—resolve the issue as seamlessly as possible.
I could draw countless parallels between restaurants and the online training world. Anyone who has made the pivot (reader, I hope this is the last time I ever type this word), can attest to all the ways you can draw connections between what they did before to what they do now. Embrace it!