Do you know how to make God laugh? According to philosophers and pundits alike, you can make God laugh by telling Him your plans. I imagine God is still chuckling over my plans to spend my adult life teaching. I didn’t even know that people were able to add to their income stream by writing curricular materials for corporate trainers.
There I was in Los Angeles, adjuncting at UCLA and National University, and writing material for the courses I was teaching when it occurred to me that my materials might make a good book. My course, “Executive Communications,” became my first book: The Language of Leadership (named a Main Selection by Doubleday’s Executive Book Club). The publisher, HRD Press, subsequently formed a partnership that led to a dozen other books. (The most recent is the forthcoming Applying Mr. Albert: 365 Einstein-Inspired Brain Boosts.)
Types of books HR departments need
Corporate training materials do appear in book form, but more often, they come in notebook form, often selling for several hundred dollars each. Typically under the Human Resources umbrella, corporate training departments are the primary purchasers of such notebooks. They buy them for one of three reasons.
SME’s need train-the-trainer materials
Regular employees are often tapped to present courses because of their subject-matter expertise. (Hence the term “subject matter expert” or SME.) A stellar secretary, for example, may be tapped to lead a course emphasizing time-management skills. A computer whiz could easily be asked to make a presentation on an update to existing computer systems. In situations like these, the employees are thoroughly versed in the subject matter, but may not know how to teach that material. So, publishers provide books covering all aspects of the presentation process, regardless of the topic being presented.
Training departments need new courses
If you are attuned to topics important to the world of business, and if you can write a course outline before the topics become passé, you just might have some lucrative contracts in your future. To illustrate, in the 80’s, when American business were absorbed with Total Quality Management (TQM), I learned as much as I could about the topic, and sent off proposals to write training programs for government and business entities. I’ve done the same when ethics issues seemed to permeate every news cycle. Pay attention to the news, write an outline, and send it off to prospective publishers while the issues are still relevant. (Of course, there will always be some subjects that are not time-sensitive. If you can prepare a convincing proposal, you can probably stay gainfully employed for many years to come.)
Corporate trainers need new skill-builders
The best trainers are always looking for ways to improve their presentation skills. The enhancements might be ways to improve the introduction to the course, to the presenter him- or herself, and introductions attenders can make to each other. Trainers are also looking for ways to “break the ice,” or ways to ask questions, use quotations, or ways to conclude the class. Of course, they are always seeking energizers.
Here’s an Introduction-sample from one of my HRD books (500 Creative Classroom Techniques for Teachers and Trainers).
Use the course title:
Print the name of the course on the board or flip chart. Leave space between the letters. Then ask each person to take one letter from the word and use that letter as the first letter of a word that explains why s/he is taking the course or what s/he hopes to learn from it.
Example: If the course is S-U-P-E-R-V-I-S-I-O-N, you might sat to the class, “Let’s take the letter ‘I.’ You could use it to introduce yourself in the following way: ‘I pride myself on being an intelligent person. And, intelligence means always gathering new information. I’m here to learn as much as I can.’ Choose any letter and then think of a word that begins with that letter….a word that tells us why you are here.”:
Publishers need curricula and peripheral materials
Google “Publishers of training materials” and you will find more than 33 million entries. Among them are opportunities for having your curricular ideas converted to training materials. And, even if you hadn’t planned to make these ideas the topic of your next book, remember that—as they say—“God always has another custard pie up His sleeve.
Bon [publishing] appetite!
Dr. Marlene Caroselli is the author of 62 books, the majority of which have been written for corporate training departments.
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