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64 - People Skills Grow in Importance for Technical Staff; Training Professionals Understanding Y2K Issues

1. People Skills Grow in Importance for Technical Staff: 97 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) polled recently said they look for well-developed soft skills -- such as communication abilities and business acumen -- when hiring information technology staff. This represents a
12-point increase from a 1996 survey in which CIOs were asked the same question.

The survey was developed by RHI Consulting ( and includes responses from 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees. The question was: "When evaluating a job candidate for an information technology position, how important are the individual's 'soft' skills, such as business acumen and interpersonal skills?" Their responses: Very important=(68%); Somewhat rtant=( 29%); Somewhat unimportant=(2%); Not at all important=(1%)

When asked what the single most important people skill for a job candidate to possess, the responses were:
* Interpersonal skills=33%
* Written or verbal communication skills=27%
* Ability to work under pressure=21%
* Overall business acumen=14%
* Professional image=2%

2. Training Professionals Understanding Y2K Issues: Y2K issues will touch the lives of many training professionals in the next 16 months. Most
training folks that I meet with don't have a very detailed understanding of the technical scope of these issues. Matt Frazer, our technical guru at The MASIE Center, sent me this article to read to build my own understanding. I would recommend it! It is called DANGEROUS DATES FOR SOFTWARE APPLICATIONS by Capers Jones. Here is the link to the article:

3. Creativity in One Day Classes: A Reader Request: Can you help out a fellow TechLearn Trends Reader with this question:

"We make an information management product used by crime labs across the country. Typically, my training sessions consist of both lecture and
hands-on computer training and delivery lasts about three days. We are about to release a new version of our software and a number of our clients are opting out of this full training; they want me to provide a one-day training session without any hands-on work.

I'd like some suggestions on how to make this one-day refresh-training more engaging and enjoyable for the participants. I don't want to lecture about a piece of software for a whole day, but without the hands-on training exercises, I'm stumped." Would you send your suggestions to

4. Switching or Adding Browsers for On-Line Learning! Our most recent survey has received over 1,300 responses. The question focused on whether an organization would we willing and/or able to add a different browser to use the full features of a major on-line learning product. Early analysis showed that approximately 55% of folks were willing and able to add a new browser and the rest were either not willing or not able. The Netscape vs. Microsoft browser choice was a dead 50% - 50% photo finish. We would like to add more responses to this survey. If you have a few minutes, please go to We'll post complete results next week.

5. Re-Invent Training Job Descriptions @ TechLearn '98. We are pleased to announce that we will focus on the Training/Learning/Performance job description of the future at TechLearn '98 in November. Mike Nolan, President of Friesen Kaye, and I will run a series of activities throughout
the conference to allow each participant to think creatively about the evolution of their Job Description. As learning models, technology and organizational forces change, what happens to our jobs and roles. Each participant will complete a worksheet over several days, looking at the
changes that might be in store for learning professionals in the digital age. We now have 1,270 registrations for TechLearn '98. Register soon to avoid getting on the "wait list". On-line registration is available at

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