You have the next topic in mind after identifying employees’ needs;
You served the audience (or at least received some positive feedback on the idea);
You pitched the training domain and format to your manager and they liked it;
You even secured some budget, knowing that you’ll have to book an external expert vendor to deliver it.
Great, but now what?
How do you find the best person out there, that checks all your desired boxes and you can trust to deliver excellent training?
Finding the best vendor expert
Let’s start by defining who’s an expert, before how to spot them
An expert in the case of delivering employee training is any person who:
- Specializes in the topic you’re interested in
- Have hands-on experience and not just theoretical knowledge about the topic
- Have specific expertise that they have developed and tested, and not just collected from books and podcasts
- Have training, teaching, presenting, and/or consulting capacities to convey the message and deliver the knowledge in an engaging way
You really don’t want to compromise on any of those.
As the training organizer, your reputation is at stake, your company budget should be chained wisely, and of course – the entire purpose is to provide employees a great learning experience.
If you bring someone who’s engaging but not knowledgeable enough – they would stumble on the first challenging question the participants will ask.
If you bring someone who is highly knowledgeable but they can’t present well – their smart message and extended knowledge will fall on deaf ears.
I recently heard from a VP R&D in a telecommunications company about a wasted learning experience they had.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Our CEO insisted on bringing a military veteran to share his story, which I’m sure was interesting if we were sitting down for a coffee… but for my entire staff – it was irrelevant. They couldn’t relate at all”, he shared.
Now that we know what kind of combination we’re looking for, let’s distill where and how to find them.
Where to look for and what to check
Start with the places where your desired expert will most likely hang around: specific groups on social media, professional conferences, and group discussions. Notice what value they share and in what way are they involved in the conversation.
Reach out to similar-role colleagues from other organizations for recommendations, but make sure that the audience is similar enough!
Not all testimonials are relevant to you, if it regards a totally different audience, industry, organizational challenge, and so on. Take it all with a grain of salt.
Check out previous conference speakers’ lists, but filter those carefully. You don’t necessarily need someone who can just speak well – often times you want someone who can LISTEN well. You want an expert who can pick up the audience’s stage, needs, challenges, questions, and implementation gaps – and would be able to assist them with that.
There are other, less conventional places to look for experts to cater to your L&D needs.
Examples are senior employees in other organizations who are able and willing to share their expertise (check carefully for permission, if there’s a need for NDA, and such).
Founders and entrepreneurs are often the classic experts to share their hardly gained hands-on knowledge, but you’d like to make sure first that it’s tailored to your specific needs.
Think outside of the box – who are the people who have dipped their elbows in the challenge you’re looking to train your employees to overcome…?
Use unique and specialized platforms that vet the experts and match them to your desired criteria. Uppey, for example, is a platform that puts the focus on identifying your current L&D needs, matching you with pre-vetted experts who have the specific experience needed for your employees, as well as streamlining the entire booking process.
Remember – a training experience led by an external expert could be anything from time-wasting (oh, no), through boring or not useful (too bad), all the way to an amazing and enriching experience that your employees won’t stop talking about.
Aim for the last one by making sure that the next vendor expert you book is exactly what you were looking for.