INTERVIEW WITH DAVID GREEN FROM GOOGLE DIGITAL GARAGE
In this interview, I speak to David Green - Google Digital Coach, Team Leader and Social Media Lead at Google Digital Garage (Birmingham branch).
The Google Digital Garage was set up to help people build their confidence online, learn new skills, and help in their career.
what was it that attracted you to the world of digital marketing?
I love digital marketing as it offers so many ways to communicate with your customers, whether that's social media, email or optimising your website so that you can be found in the right ways. As a natural creative, I love creating new content. I also love that digital marketing is so measurable. There is no guesswork, and I can use the data to make adjustments.
I get a real kick from breaking down the multitude of jargon terms and acronyms that populate the digital world, I love it when people realise just how much they can achieve through digital. Being a front-facing coach seemed like a natural progression really, it was something I had wanted to get into for a while and when I saw this opportunity I jumped at it!
What does a typical day in your current role look like?
The cliched answer is that we don't have typical days! However, broadly there is an overall structure. It's very much a team culture, so on a daily basis, we will have at least four courses or workshops (sometimes as many as six), that are run in the Google Digital Garage space. Also, throughout the day we have a number of allocated spaces available for ‘mentoring' sessions which are run on a direct one to one basis and can cover a broad range of topics relating to digital or work-based skills.
Personally, I am often involved in running a couple or more workshops through the day and then being involved in mentoring sessions when I'm not teaching to a group. I also occasionally fill in as a team leader, which involves overseeing the running of the Google Digital Garage for the day and mainly ensuring that anyone who comes into it is given the best possible advice - as well as checking that all the staff get fed!
Is there anything about Your job which you particularly enjoy or dislike..?
I love the variety of the job, I’ve spoken to so many different people with different questions, business ideas and ranges of knowledge. It’s great as it keeps me on my toes and often encourages me to keep broadening my knowledge.
As I mentioned before, I had wanted to get into training for quite some time so I’m pleased to say that I don’t really see any negative aspects to this job! I’ve been a very happy chap since the project began!
When you're running workshops, are you ever surprised by the levels of knowledge in the room?
I've found that it's really important not to make assumptions when you're assessing the knowledge level of a group. Often, if I have a slightly younger audience, for example, it's tempting to assume that they are all social media savvy, but I don't know that, so I've found it's much better for the group if I'm guided by what they tell me they know. So, it's often one of the first questions I ask, e.g. "how many people here use social media for work?"
I often adapt to the 'level of the room' in terms of how far I expand upon certain areas of a workshop. Of course, it's often the case that you have a variety of knowledge levels in the room which can present a challenge, but to borrow a phrase from the armed forces, you always want to make sure that ‘no one is left behind', and check that everyone has understood before you move on.
Because I use this approach, I don't think I've ever really been surprised by an audience's knowledge level. The digital revolution has really taken place so quickly that it's not surprising that there is a huge variation of knowledge in the general population.
Lastly, what advice would you give to someone who's looking to move into a role such as yours?
'Patience is a virtue', but all the more so in the world of coaching or training! Take the time to put yourself in your audience or individual's shoes. What you're teaching might be second nature to you, but it may be completely new to them.
There is a lot of fear involved in learning something new (particularly with digital skills), and half the battle is just in getting people to build their confidence. Sometimes using your own story to help them feel more at ease is a good idea - things like, "oh yeah, I really used to struggle with spreadsheets too" or "social media was taking over my life before I learned to schedule."
If you're teaching by way of a presentation or some other kind of structured lesson, practice what you are going to say, make eye contact with the audience and add your own real-life experiences, it makes you much more relatable! Whatever you do, don't just read slides off the screen. It's boring and unengaging and a robot could do that! People want to hear from you, so make sure you're adding your own touch to what you teach. I've also found humour to be a good icebreaker!
For more information about Google Digital Garage, and their free digital skills courses, take a look here.