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Making Training Real

When a presenter gets too wrapped up and enamored with theory and concepts, the audience may be interested in the moment, but they will be much less likely to bring the concepts home and to apply them on the job.

About a year ago, I found myself doing a practice run of a newly developed train the trainer session. Several of my teammates were willing to sit through the 2-hour practice session and then provided me with feedback on the content, flow and “stickiness” of my message.

One colleague suggested my content on learning styles was interesting, but it was also too theoretical.  How would attendees actually be able to use the information I was sharing about auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning styles?

Without adding time to my lesson, I made a few adjustments which included reducing the amount of time we simply discussed what “auditory” and “visual” and “kinesthetic” meant, and I added a short brainstorming activity.  After introducing the concepts, I asked the audience to brainstorm how they would integrate activities that incorporated the various learning styles into their future presentations.  It was a simple change, but it brought the lesson from the abstract to the very real and useful.

I’m currently working with a client to produce a series of training videos.  While this client has an amazing series of products for which these videos are being developed, the initial scripts often lack concrete descriptions of how these products can make life easier on the end user.  My biggest feedback to this client has been to identify ways to make the information real and concrete for the viewers – by way of a brief case study, hard data or specific outcomes that others have reported by using the product.

Whether you’re delivering a 20-minute presentation or a full-day session, it could be very helpful to take a look at your lesson plan and ask the following questions:

  • Have I made my content “real”?
  • Have I painted a picture for how my content will impact my learners?

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

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