Some friends of mine just returned from spending a month in Florida. While in Florida, they (Richard and Cindy) attended a golf clinic about chipping. He is a long-time golfer, whereas she more recently took up the game. Though they both enjoyed the clinic, they realized different results. Richard thought the clinic was interesting, and decided that he would think about it during his rounds of golf. Cindy, on the other hand, decided to spend some time each day practicing the specific drills taught during the clinic. Something interesting happened: Cindy got really good at chipping. Richard, who was always a pretty good player, did not make as much progress. By the end of the month, Cindy became a consistently good chipper. In fact, Richard confided in me that Cindy, despite being a new golfer, was chipping more consistently than he was.
Each year in January, there is a mad rush from companies looking for me to speak at conferences, conduct workshops, and “jump start” business for their teams. I am fortunate to receive high marks from my sessions, along with many referrals for related opportunities. However, I want the results to be more like Cindy than Richard in the above example. I do not just want the audience to have enjoyed the session. I want it to make a difference in their day to day business.
Learning is a process. You must develop a sense of business muscle memory so that the new skills become second nature. Before you learn something, you may not even see a need to change. When you first learn something new, it is difficult to put it into practice. In order to use those skills in demanding situations, you need to be at ease with them. However, unless you practice the new skills, they will not feel natural. Without reinforcement, you could revert to old habits. Here are 3 tips to create a lasting impact on education you provide for your team.
- Identify key take-away messages: Not only do you want to identify the key take-away messages, but you want to build consensus around why they matter. Identify how those items can be expected to impact the organization and help it reach its goals.
- Build an action plan: Set in place a specific schedule to reinforce the key points including role play where appropriate. It is best to spread out the reinforcement sessions. In other words, do not schedule five consecutive days for reinforcement. Your team will benefit from a week or two between sessions. Keep the sessions relatively short (max 90 minutes). Demand audience participation. Remember the “why” part of #1 and define specific outcomes you expect to see from your new skills. Define a plan to develop comfort and then unleash your new talents on the intended audience.
- Measure results: If you are following a consistent, repeatable process, then the outcomes will prove to be valuable in making adjustments. Attaining success is often an iterative process. So, be aware of what is and is not working, and be sure to identify areas where you need more reinforcement for specific skills for your team members.
Sites That Link to this Post
- How to plan a successful sales conference or meeting | GrowMyRevenue | January 15, 2013