Frank Mitchell Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, March 2019, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell

POPPER – “P” for Prepare

Your participants will judge the quality and usefulness of the training on your presentation skills. The foundation of a well-organized, smooth training session is good preparation.

Where the unprepared trainer finds impatience and objection, the well-prepared trainer enjoys support and acceptance, even when things go wrong.

Preparation includes fully understanding what you are training (subject), why you are training it (objectives) and how you want it done (standards). This makes it easier to explain the importance and value of the training to your trainees.

Conduct dry runs (no students) to ensure familiarity with the task, ensuring you can meet the required quality and performance standards. If you can’t make a bed in 8 minutes, how will you demonstrate it to your staff? Practice how you will explain it, but do not memorize a script.

Check that you have sufficient materials for demonstration, practice and testing. Inexperienced trainers tend to bring about half the required material. A starched napkin can only be folded a few times before it needs to be pressed again. Having an iron and ironing board in the training venue helps. For single use items or food preparation, experience will teach you to greatly increase quantities for practice.

Next month we look at the ‘O’ of POPPER which stands for ‘Opening’.

Frank Mitchell’s background is as a private-service butler who then became a head butler at a hotel, and then a butler trainer with the Institute. While he continues to train butlers for the Institute occasionally, his focus for the last decade has been on training hotel, resort, and palace staff in general. He has written several well-received columns for the MBJ over the years and can be contacted via the Institute. 

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.