Friday, 3 April 2015

How can you become an Excel Trainer?

I started my entrepreneurial journey by becoming a MS Excel Trainer. And this was after I spent years working with KPMG (Assurance), Futures First (Interest Rate Futures - Proprietary Trading) and J.P. Morgan (Debt Capital Markets).

In the last five years as an Excel Trainer, many of my workshop participants have asked me atleast one the following:

  • Hey Rishabh. I too wish to conduct Excel Training Workshops on weekends

  • How do I gather enough skills to become a full time Excel Trainer?

  • What tools & software do I need to improve my audience engagement?

And I always share my experience on how I started, the challenges I faced, the skill set that makes working professionals attend your full day workshop etc. And now, I decided to pen down all my discussion points in this blog.

But before I begin sharing the insights, I must tell you that if you want to jump into the field of Excel Training (in fact any field of Training), money SHOULD NOT be the sole motivating factor. Unless you love working with Excel, your entire effort after certain point of time will be futile.


1. Genuine intent to see someone learn something.
You should feel happy when you see someone learn new and meaningful things you have taught. And also see them apply the learning practically in their work.

2. Technical know how
It is a steady process which will be picked up over time as you continue to solve Excel problems. If ever, you find a problem for which you do not know the answer, FIND IT on the Internet. This is the sole reason that my ability to solve Excel problems have grown 100x times or even more in the last five years.

It’s surprising that there are no structured programs (online or LIVE), which teaches you how to become an Excel Trainer. With so much of content online and millions of video based training program available, there must be a course on become an Excel Trainer.

This and my attendee’s questions prompted me to conceptualize an online course which incorporates the methodology & the way an Excel Trainer’s mind should learn and think. Thought in its nascent stage, view our crowd funding page, which enables early backers and initial supporters to get the final course at super never-to-be-seen-later prices.

3. Industry knowledge
Having corporate experience helps in structuring the context of the problem and be able to visualize the final objective. E.g. if you have worked in Accounting domain, you would have experienced the way ERP systems such as SAP, Tally etc. export data in Excel compatible formats (XLSX, TXT, CSV). Often, the data must be “sanitized” to be able to process it further. Similarly, if you have worked with Bloomberg terminal at one of the Investment Banks, Excel’s Pivot table technique will help you make a concise report of the data downloads.

4. Audience Management is as important as the technical know how.

  • As Maximus (Russel Crowe) famously quoted in the movie “The Gladiator” – “I will win the crowd. I will give them something they have never seen before.” Making the participants of the workshop feel that they have not wasted their time by agreeing to attend your workshop is the bare minimum benchmark for the workshop success.

  • Secondly, they should be able to apply the learning on THEIR work files and not just your pre-prepared case studies.

  • Thirdly, often the pre-training need analysis will not portray the real learning requirement. Hence, be prepared with all possible case studies to cover diverse and maximum complexity so that you can change the level and flavor of the training on-the-spot.

  • Fourth, give them the comfort that enough resources (videos, structured & concise picture-based eBook, your contact email address and number) exists for post-training revision and re-enforcement. This will ensure that they focus on practice during the workshop rather than taking notes.

  • Finally, help them reach home earlier on a normal office day! How? By teaching them Ninja tricks that help them finish their work faster.

5. Resources you need to be adept at:

  • MS Word: If you intend to make an eBook (PDF) that people will refer to in future, you must know how to make aesthetically appealing tables, bordered screenshots, and shapes such as arrows, rectangles and circles. In my eBook, I have always focused on minimal text and picture based illustrations. If you write a dozen lines on how INDEX() should be used with MATCH(), people will rarely refer at it. Instead, try a picture based illustration such as this:

  • Easy to use picture editing software: And example is Irfanview. It’s very light weight and fast. You would need these to capture screenshots and crop them as per need.

  • MS PowerPoint: Sometimes, a detailed picture based illustration require you to capture multiple screenshots of MS Excel software and combine with various shapes and lines to depict the Excel technique. PowerPoint’s easy UI will help you achieve that even if you are not a professional designer. You can also view our PowerPoint Ninja Online program.

  • Screen Capture Software: CamStudio is a free screen casting program that will capture your voice and the action you will be doing on your screen. It’s a good starting point to frequently record your lectures in video format and then upload it to Youtube so that people start benefitting from your work. A professional software which allows more features and post-recording editing flexibility is Camtasia Studio (paid).

Once you have made up your mind to venture in the field of training, you may start with weekend training programs. It will allow you to work in your existing jobs on weekdays, and explore the opportunities one step at a time. Don’t worry about the batch size being small. I started with a batch size of JUST three people, of which one dropped out at the last minute owing to some office work. And today, I am not surprised & intimidated when I interact with an LIVE audience group of 300+. Once the confidence starts building, your work should be made available on the digital network through Youtube, Blogs, Webinar – details of which I will discuss in my next blog.

Do take some time out to check how our “Train the Trainer (Excel Ninja)” course is progressing, and support the initiative here Become an Excel Ninja and a Trainer-Consultant.

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