Well, that might not be so helpful. It’s really about how you can work with me, to be exact. And that could be of assistance to you.
If you’ve been reading my blogs or following me online, you will know that I have an academy online with courses for all topics around using and making the most of Microsoft Office, or Microsoft 365 as it is now.
But that’s not the only way that you can work with me.
You can work with me one-to-one. I offer live, coaching-type, training sessions where we hop on a Teams meeting or a Zoom meeting and we work together. We can share our screens with each other, do all sorts of activities around a specific topic and get you exactly the learning that you need. And I really love that.
You can subscribe to my monthly Trainer in Your Pocket service and get 30 minutes a month with me live plus up to 10 email questions answered.
You can also book me to run a series of webinars for your organisation.
I recently did this for a jewellery company in the UK, just pre COVID. We have a couple more left to schedule once they’re all back at work, but we ran a very successful webinar style training on making the most of your inbox and taking back control. The feedback was phenomenal.
I also provide live interactive training. We can run a live interactive session where you get stuff done, with me (virtually) alongside you.
And there you have it, all the different ways that you can work with me.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say that I’m an excellent trainer. So, I thought it would be useful to let you hear from some of my students and see what they have to say about me and my training.
Colin Tomlinson said: “This straightforward and comprehensive course has enhanced my knowledge of Microsoft Teams, and the benefits the software can bring to how I manage collaboration with my team in the future. Well worth the money and the time.”
Alex Hughes, of Auxilium Admin, who says: “Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience with Microsoft Office. Her courses are a must. And if you’re a VA on a mission, she will catapult you to dizzying heights.”
Well, I don’t know about ‘dizzying heights’, I don’t really have a head for heights. But I’ll take the compliment with grateful thanks.
Melissa Marshall said of a one-to-one training session with me: “Shelley was approachable, easy to work with and agile when answering questions to apply the session to my needs.”
One of my first learners was Jacqueline Leake, a Virtual Assistant. She said: “A course on Outlook was on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they’d like to learn. It was a real case of ‘So that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learned so many great tips. It’s definitely improved the way that I work in Outlook, and my inbox is now colourful and organised… I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.”
Now, with me as a trainer, you are not just getting someone with 20-plus years in the business. I also hold some qualifications. I don’t believe in just popping up and saying, “I can teach you anything because I know how to do it”.
I am a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), and I hold the COLF and CDOL qualifications. COLF means I’m a Certified Online Learning Facilitator and CDOL means that I’m a Certified Designer of Online Learning.
These are not letters shared to impress. They are practical qualifications designed to ensure that the training I deliver is practical, keeps people’s interest and meets the needs of the modern learner.
There is good training, excellent training and not-so-good training. I know which end of the scale I firmly believe I am at.
I just love the online world and having that independent assessment of my abilities and processes is great.
You may be thinking at this point that you would like to work with me or have some questions to help you make a decision. If so, there are a number of ways to get in touch with me.
Each week, myself and my podcast co-host Jo Brianti interview guest experts in the Virtual Assistant community. We learn things that will help our VA’s to improve and expand their own businesses. We also talk to individual VA’s about what they’re up to, to find out more about them.
So, if that takes your fancy, you can also follow @virtuallyamazing and get to hear me talk on the podcast, too.
Have a think about where the gaps are in your Microsoft 365 learning. What tasks or applications always have you scrambling online to find a ‘How To Do That’ solution?
Do you prefer taking an online course or do you have specific Office tasks or software you want to get to grips with?
How will you catch up, keep up or stay ahead of the game?
I’ve been writing a series of blogs on topics beginning with ‘M’ (you may also have seen the video versions on LinkedIn).
Today I’m going to talk about magination. Okay, it’s actually imagination but we’ve been talking M’s in this series, so it has to be ‘magination’. Work with me on this.
So, imagine that you, as a VA or a small business owner, have a piece of work to do. Wouldn’t it be great that you could just pick it up and know how to get it done?
I’m not talking about the nitty-gritty of the research or the content knowledge because I’m assuming you have that. No. I’m talking about the mechanical knowledge of using your everyday software to get stuff done.
Let’s take Microsoft Word, for example.
Let’s suppose you need to create a lead magnet or an eBook, either for yourself or for a client for somebody else. You have to consider the brand, branding and Styles in Word.
Do you have your Style Sets set up in Word to take account of that? Can you switch easily from one client or business to another? When you have your Styles set up that way in Word, it just makes things a breeze. Imagine how that would feel.
What about PowerPoint?
You may be a Virtual Assistant or a small business owner that’s forever creating PowerPoint presentations, either for yourself or for your clients. Make it easy by mastering the Slide Master. Learn how to set that up so that all you need to focus on is the content.
It’s really easy, especially when you can learn how to do it from somebody who knows.
And then there’s Microsoft Outlook.
Are you in control of your inbox or is your inbox in control of you? Do you know about Quick Steps? Do you know about Quick Parts? Do you know about Rules?
Do you know about the things that are going to make working in Outlook more pleasurable for you, and not so totally overwhelming? As I say on my course page, Outlook is a bit of a puppy – adorable yet capable of being a little naughty if you don’t show it who is in charge.
And then, of course, with Microsoft 365 there’s the new kid on the block – Microsoft Teams.
Are you using it with your clients? Are you using it with colleagues? Are you delivering training using Microsoft Teams?
It’s a very powerful collaboration, communications and teaching tool. There’s a good deal to learn if you want it to work smoothly for you.
When you don’t know how to do something, imagine how fabulous it would be to be able to simply log in to an online system and learn the bit you need to do. It would take away all that worry and stress.
No need to waste time googling how to do something. No need to spend ages trawling through all of the search outcomes that you get, with no clue as to which ones are of high quality or right up to date.
Imagine that the access you have is to a top-quality training programme delivered by somebody who really knows their stuff. And not only knows their stuff but knows how to put it across in a way that helps you take it in easily and memorably.
You won’t be surprised that I’m talking about my training academy at Tomorrow’s VA. It has a comprehensive range of online courses in the course directory.
There are versions for Windows users, versions for Mac. Whatever machine you use you’re covered by my courses.
So, why don’t you hop over and have a look at the course directory and imagine how amazing it would be to have access to all of that knowledge at your fingertips, whenever you needed it.
Not only do you get the course but you are also able to get support with the built-in Community that comes with the learning. A safe space to ask questions, see the questions of others and share challenges and successes.
Let your imagination run wild. What would you create and how will you shape your future with wonderful access to all this learning?
If you have any questions you know what to do. Just ask. I’m on a mission to help VA’s become a superhero to their clients. So, no question is too small, silly or stupid.
Online courses are increasingly popular, both in the B2B and B2C markets. That is not surprising given the global situation.
What’s perhaps a little bit more surprising is that students are not making the most of it.
There are a number of mistakes they are making when taking online courses. For now, I am going to focus on the biggest four.
Mistake #1 – Not managing their time effectively
This is all about time management.
With some students, they are simply not allocating enough time to work their way through the course, to get everything just right.
There may be assignments to do. You might be on a drip-fed course where a new lesson is released regularly, perhaps every other day, and in between, you need to do things. Tasks, homework, additional reading. That sort of thing.
Please read the instructions for your online training. Make sure you set aside the right amount of time to complete the course in a timely fashion.
Mistake #2 – Signing Up, Paying and Doing Nothing with It
This is an absolute classic. And it’s remarkable how common this is.
People sign up for a course, hand over their money and assume that by doing that they have earned the skill. Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Unless you put in the work, you won’t get the skill.
That is a complete waste of time and money. If you’ve bought in advance, knowing you have set aside a specific time in the future to go through the course, that is fair enough.
But to pay someone for training and learning, and then do nothing at all with it. Not ever! That’s not very smart. A course not used, just gathering dust on the virtual bookshelf of your computer, helps nobody. Not you, not the people you serve.
And, believe me, it’s also very frustrating from the instructor side of things.
Of course, as professional trainers who are running a business, we like to see the money coming in. But we’re motivated by helping and making a difference to others.
So, it does pain us when this happens. When people pay over good money and leave those skills languishing in the learning management system, it’s not a good feeling. If they never access that course that they’ve purchased in good faith, in a way it feels that we’ve failed.
If you are going to sign up for an online course, do ensure that you set aside the time – referring back to mistake number one – to go through that course. Embed that learning so that you can do more in less time, be more productive and earn more money.
That way your online course is not a cost to write off but instead a genuine investment.
Mistake #3 – Procrastination
Maybe I should write about this next week. Only joking but, of course, there is a serious side to this mistake.
It is a common one, so if you’re prone to this you’re not alone. However, it is important to address it if you’re going to learn from your online training.
Procrastination manifests itself in a number of different ways. People will find anything to do to avoid doing their course.
When you hear yourself saying things like…
“I’ll just put the washing on”,
“I need to feed the dog/cat/budgie”,
“I’ll just watch one more episode on Netflix before getting back to my studies”
“I’ll just nip to the shops”
“Maybe I need to invent a new process for something”
… these may well be avoidance tactics. Do anything but get stuck into the course.
This is all about time management, of course.
Do me a favour, get stuck in. The quicker you get stuck in the more engaged you are with the learning you will be acquiring. And that is better for you in the long run.
Banish procrastination. Throw it out the window. For good.
Mistake #4 – Not Asking for Help
The whole point of training is that people learn. And they learn not just by taking in the new knowledge but by understanding it. That provides clarity and ensures the skill is picked up.
A common mistake with students is not asking for help, whether that’s from the instructor direct or from other students.
There’s no reason not to ask. Asking is not a show of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
Your instructor will be delighted when you ask for help. As trainers, we create our courses in good faith. We run through them, we listen back to them, we watch them over. We make sure that we think we’ve done the best job we can do.
However, it’s great when our students ask us questions about our courses. That might be questions for clarification or questions for knowledge. Anything which they are not sure about. Or where they ask for a little extra help with something.
When students are curious and engaged enough to question things, we love that. So do ask your instructor for help.
As well as help from your trainer, there will be mechanisms within your course – the course that you’ve purchased – to assist you.
If there’s a community element to your course (whether that’s a Facebook group or, as in my case, a Community) then use that community. Post questions to other members who are also taking that course. It’s quite interesting to see other perspectives on an issue that you may be having.
You can learn from your instructor but also learn from other students taking the same online course as you.
These are the four biggest mistakes with online courses I see. Maybe you can think of any others? If so, do let me know.
And if you want to share what holds you back from getting stuck into online learning around Microsoft 365, please get in touch. I’d be happy to answer any questions.
P.S. By the way, if you’ve been putting off investing in training in one or more applications in Microsoft 365 do take a look at my range of online courses. I’m sure you’ll find something that’s a good match.
P.P.S See the video that this article is based on along with the other videos in the series on my YouTube Channel.
It’s how many trainers, speakers and coaches are having to deliver their knowledge, skills, and experience.
That means, of course, that the topic has become subject to increased social media chatter. As with most things, everyone seems to have an opinion on it.
And there lies a problem.
Because opinion sometimes gets touted as ‘fact’.
I can’t let that go because it’s simply not right, not fair. If people are put off learning online because they’re influenced by something they read (even if it’s not backed with any supporting evidence) that’s more than just a pity.
It’s also potentially very damaging to the livelihoods of the many, many thousands of trainers, speakers, coaches, and other professional experts around the world.
I have plenty to say about some of the misconceptions that are flying around about online training. But let me focus on four BIG ones:
Misconception #1: Online courses are of lower quality than face-to-face
Well, for starters, I don’t think that’s true.
In my professional opinion, to create an excellent online training course you have to put in almost DOUBLE the effort you would put into preparing a face-to-face one.
And here’s why.
You have to shorten your modules. You have to make them bite-sized to make them intelligible. You need to add captions to your videos to make them accessible for people. There’s a lot more design that goes into an online training course than actually goes into a face-to-face one.
And because you put more effort into creating or developing an online course, it can actually be of much higher quality than an equivalent face-to-face training course.
Especially true if you are suddenly converting an existing face-to-face course to an online version, it’s time to take stock of what you already have. If you are pivoting or adjusting your means of delivery to your audience, now is a great opportunity to revisit your content and redesign it for the online world.
Misconception #2: Online courses don’t help you advance your career
Unsurprisingly, I tend to disagree with this one as well.
Look at all the people that have taken my online Microsoft 365 courses, for example.
Online courses can absolutely be as enjoyable as face-to-face ones, but they’re definitely not easier.
As a participant, you have to have the discipline to show up. You need the discipline to attend. You must have the discipline to do whatever tasks you are set to do. And you need to be able to use the tech that you are given, that your learning is hosted in. That might be Zoom, it could be Teams or could be a different platform.
So, I wouldn’t say online courses are easier than face-to-face, but it is a different kind of attending. A different experience.
Misconception #4: You need to be a tech wizard to attend an online training course
Well, surprise, surprise. I don’t think this is true, either.
Depending on the platform being used, and whether it’s live or pre-recorded, the online course will be delivered in an easy-to-use platform.
For example, many people have become really familiar with using Zoom over the last three to four months. And similarly, the same is happening with Microsoft Teams. People have got used to how they work now. So, you don’t need to be a tech wizard.
What you do want are good instructions. That should not be an issue because your professional course instructor will take care of that. They will send you great joining instructions and show you – probably in a simple video – how to access the learning.
And there you have them. Four misconceptions about online training.
Are there any more you can think of? Do comment, feedback and let me know.
P.S. You can find more of my posts, articles and videos for VA’s if you follow me on LinkedIn. I’m on a mission to help more VA’s become the superhero for their clients. You’re invited to be part of that movement.
P.P.S – This post is based on the second of the 5 Ms video series which featured first on LinkedIn. You can see the videos on my YouTube Channel
The world of learning and development has had to rapidly adapt to the changing global picture.
Before the pandemic, a majority of training was probably delivered face to face in hotels, offices and dedicated centres. But not anymore.
Lockdown measures and restrictions have forced trainers, speakers and coaches to change and adjust how they operate.
With so much online training now available, some people believe the quality or value of training has in some way been watered down.
I disagree. Strongly.
Here are 7 popular myths about online training and why you should NOT believe them.
Myth #1 – Online Classes are not as effective as face-to-face ones
Firstly, let me say that I love face-to-face training.
It’s how I got into training. And I was doing a lot of in-person training for 20 years, before moving my business online. There is certainly something special about being in a room with a group, the atmosphere and the different interactions.
But it’s not the only way to deliver effective learning. I have found my own online courses are just as strong at providing a successful outcome for participants as the face-to-face approach.
I know this because my students tell me that’s the case. Their feedback and testimonials are good evidence to back me up here.
Talking to other trainers, I know many are receiving the same kind of response. People who are willing to learn will learn online as well as they would in any room around the country.
Yes, it’s a little different but the results can be just as good. Online may even suit some participants better.
Myth #2 – Online classes are easier than in-person training
For in-person training, you obviously have to get there. Get to the venue, sort out travel arrangements, and possibly accommodation if it’s an early start or multi-day event.
You have to turn up and participate. You might be called upon by the trainer to do stuff.
With online training, you obviously don’t have to travel but you still have to ‘turn up’. Whilst that might not mean physically turn up, you are still going to be taking the class or course from your home or office.
You still have to put the effort in to learn properly and effectively. Otherwise, it could be a wasted opportunity. Just as with in-person events, you have to have the discipline to do the work you are asked to do. You will still need focus and your powers of concentration.
To get the most out of your online training, you still have to put some work and effort in. With potentially more distractions at home, it could be said to be harder for some people than if they were going to an in-person class or course.
Myth #3 – Online classes are not respected by employers
This myth is being totally blown to smithereens by what’s happening out there.
I’m writing this at a time when much of the world is slowly coming out of lockdown. Most training has gone online because restrictions make face-to-face training impossible.
Businesses need their people to be productive, skilled and up to date with whatever is required to do their job well.
Before the pandemic and lockdown, employers were booking in-person and online training. Now employers are booking online courses for their staff, who are working remotely.
Some specific sectors may find they are not getting the bookings of the past but there’s no clear-cut evidence of a let-up in general or popular training subjects.
I have not seen any dip in demand for my online courses. From what I am hearing in training communities and forums, employers are definitely respecting – and investing in – the online option.
Myth #4 – Online students don’t get to interact with their instructor
This is not necessarily true. It very much depends on the platform being used by the instructor.
With my online training courses, I am on screen so people can see me. I have a Facebook Group where my students can come together and chat with each other, support each other. There is plenty of interaction and possibilities to interact with me.
My learning management system has a Community feature. This means my students can post their questions and I can answer them.
My students can email me and I can respond. Sometimes I will even book a 10-minute call with them, to go through it 1-2-1 to help them. I’m happy to do that if it is something covered in the course and I feel it would help to cement the learning.
Myth #5 – Online offers no interaction with other students
This ties in with Myth #4. And the answer is pretty similar.
When you have a Community built into your online learning system, students will be able to interact with each other. That social interaction is very important. It can create bonds, deepen the learning and even lead to friendships (as it might with in-person training).
Something that one person asks on the training will help answer a question another attendee has, and vice versa. That’s really important. People learn from what other people ask.
It’s the reason why all my online courses have Community built-in. They are designed for individual learning and interactive learning.
Myth #6 – You have to teach yourself when learning is online
Online courses obviously give people material to learn.
If online courses are worth their salt, they won’t just be a series of slides. They won’t just expect participants to absorb the material. That would just have people falling asleep, which is obviously NOT a good thing.
With a good online course, you will not be expected to teach yourself. The sessions are likely to be interactive. You might be given a task to go away and do, like an assignment or to read a book and comment on it. There will be things for you to do to build in the learning.
You will be led, guided and helped in being taught the topic. In my case, I show you what is going on and you will see, step-by-step, what I am doing. This means you can follow it all as we go in the relevant Microsoft 365 ‘Office’ package.
Myth #7 – Online learning is all lectures
This is simply not true.
Where there are university or university-style courses, some training might be done lecture style. But most modern online training is not done that way. That’s because trainers have usually learned or had training in how to deliver effective courses and sessions.
Which is great news for all learners.
Any decent course that I or my colleagues run will have a lot of interactivity built-in. If the training is live, via Zoom or Teams, there will be interactivity. With these tools, you can have virtual breakout rooms, provide group chat messaging, and have private chat options with the instructor.
You can set people tasks to do and time them. They go off and do them and report back to the main session when time is up. You could have 60 minutes of training delivery, for example, followed by 30 minutes for an assignment. People can go away, do the assignment then check in again and say how they have got on.
Feedback from participants in these kinds of sessions is simply off the scale. If you choose your online course sensibly, you’ll get a lot out of it.
These are 7 of the most popular myths about online training. You may have heard some of them before or even believed some of them before.
Perceptions people have are intriguing. But if their decisions are being based on incorrect information or a tainted viewpoint, they could be missing out on a valuable – and increasingly common – way of learning.
Online training is here. And it’s here to stay.
You can see the video that this article is based on – on my YouTube Channel
There are many reasons why people find recent restrictions on movement uncomfortable.
We’re social animals. We like to be around others. We love good company. And we love live experiences.
But for many weeks now, people have been unable to go out in groups or large numbers. Crowds have been a rare sight.
And live shows, events and experiences have all been put on hold. No cinema. No clubs. No sports. No museums. No music festivals. No gigs. No air shows. No car boot sales. No gymkhanas. No fetes. No fairs. No theatre. No exhibitions. No conferences. No shows. Pretty much no nothing.
Major tournaments put on hold, cancelled, or pushed back a year. Organisers and fans left in limbo while things get discussed and ‘sorted out’. There’s not been anything like it.
Starved of the live experience out there, people have been seeking alternatives. And the performers have found ways to deliver a live experience into our homes.
It is all possible because of the Internet.
All kinds of live performances have been, and still can be, beamed into our living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and apartments.
I have been too busy with the business to keep up with it all. But friends have been telling me about other ‘events’ they have seen or heard about.
Various London West End theatre shows and musicals, including some by Andrew Lloyd Webber, can be viewed on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Cirque du Soleil released several of their acrobatic and entertaining shows online, too.
Live performances of plays (which would have been screened in cinemas) have been put out the public, including National Theatre productions. Actor Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, read Tolkien’s The Hobbit online to raise money for charity.
Museums, galleries and other attractions have set up virtual tours for people unable to visit or travel. Live cams in zoos and conservation centres have seen increases in popularity.
And you may have noticed something else.
There has been an increase in the number and range of webinars and training being presented online. So many it’s hard to keep up with it all.
When we have busy lives, with work and family and so on, it is not always possible to tune in at the scheduled time. Good news, then, that most presentations include the option of a recording – to watch and listen when you do have time.
The webinar recordings are OK. You get the same content as if you had been there on the live training. But it’s not quite the same experience.
On the live training, you get to be part of the live audience. You can chat “Hi” to people in the chat message. You can type in your question to the trainer and get it answered.
Sometimes there is an invitational offer at the end of the free training and only those who attend ‘live’ get the bonuses. Or there might be a prize draw or competition during the live webinar – with only those attending ‘live’ eligible to win.
When it comes to training in Microsoft 365 and ‘Office’ applications, people already know that I offer a range of online courses (where, because of my personal step-by-step approach, it feels like I am there beside you… and the training so thorough that it covers the likely questions you might ask).
Live online learning anyone?
What some people may not know is that I also offer live training – and not just in person (when that is back in fashion or possible again).
I have been presenting online training for quite a few years’ now. It’s not something just tacked on in response to the latest world situation.
The live training has been delivered online to companies, teams, groups, and individuals. Ideal for those who want to get a good number or people trained properly, fast. Perfect for the person who wants a specific piece of training on how to get the most out of Microsoft 365.