Well we have had a fantastic day and really enjoyed everyone’s comments and questions. Below are a selection of more questions that we have had this afternoon along with our responses. Thank you to everyone who has joined us today for the online launch of the FT Guide to Business Training, we really appreciate your interest and support. If you have bought, or are planning to buy, the book then please review it for us on Amazon or The Book Depository. If you haven’t already done so then please sign up for our FREE Training Resource Pack which contains useful links and support material from the book. And if you think your colleagues would be interested in any of the content here then just a reminder that you can share it now using the share buttons at the foot of this post.
Finally, free copies of the FT Guide to Business Training will be going to: Rob, Gareth and Derek – congratulations!
Question: You’re also the authors of the bestselling Brilliant Selling book. Do you see a connection between training techniques and selling or vice versa?
Answer: We are indeed the authors of Brilliant Selling and many thanks for mentioning it (still No 1 European sales book for those who want to know!!). Interesting and I think there is a connection. Here is my contention. Many business trainers dive too quickly into the content of their training instead of selling it to the audience. In other words they focus on features not benefits. You need to get the audience for example to ‘smell the sizzle’. One of the best and most elegant ways I have learned to do this is to use the Spike – a sentence or series of sentences at the front end that addresses the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) and gets the audience interested and curious. People buy because of emotions and on account of curiosity and you can achieve the same result by properly teeing up the framing of any training session. So, for example, if we are doing a session on influencing we might start with: ‘ You cannot not influence – you are doing it all the time, whether you like it or not. How do you know you are doing it well? Many people we meet in business have no idea what it takes to influence an individual or a group. How would your business life be different if you can increase your influencing skills positively and influence more people, more of the time.’
There are other links – building relationships, developing trust, meeting objections (questions or other points of view) and closing (getting participants to take action). May just be the basis of a blog here Derek so many thanks for your interesting question.
Question: Business training is a field I’ve toyed with, inasmuch as when I initially launched my website I had a page outlining a weekends Team Building strategy (now removed from the site) and I have subsequently developed a half day programme that seeks to encourage participants to demonstrate both leadership and team working skills over a series of disciplines, but with the overarching task of writing and then performing a poem. I still believe the concept is sound and could be beneficial to business both at a recruiting stage and in house for staff and managers, but I’m struggling to find an avenue in to the field. There are lots of trainers out there and I’ve pitched this to some and had a favourable response but no subsequent take up. Who should I really pitch this to – any advice?
Answer: Hi Rob Good to hear from you. Delighted that someone from Uni is still in touch. Rob, ladies and gentlemen, was one of the best hockey defenders I played with at Kent Uni all those years ago. Although a little combustible if I remember rightly Rob!! Has poetry tamed you? It is an interesting idea – I have never heard of it before. I have seen horse whispering linked to leadership, as well as improvisation (from the great Neil Mullarkey), outdoor events, Haka chanting etc, etc, but never poetry. It could take off, you never know. My advice would be to do it free for a few organisations, create a model that works, build some cases, follow up to see the impact and get some testimonials and then try and sell. Then you would need to think – what sort of organisations might go for this? It’s unlikely to be law firms for example! But may be attractive to the creative industries – advertising, web design, etc. Have you asked the people you have pitched why they did not buy? That will also give you some valuable ammo. Speak soon I hope Rob. Best, Jerry
Question: Love the model guys. Do you have any suggestions for obtaining some good / unbiased feedback when implementing these ideas with live groups for the first time. Thanks.
Answer: Thanks for the question. Our ability to obtain some good / unbiased feedback is often linked to our ability to a) ask the right questions and b) listen objectively to the answers (which may not be what we want to hear!). You set the tone for getting unbiased feedback through everything you do in how you deliver the training including how you welcome and answer questions. It is these unconscious habits that ‘teach’ your group what is expected from them so beware the habits you are installing and think about this in advance. Telling a group that you are keen to gain objective feedback up front is important – again, it sets an expectation. I also find that asking some reflective questions at the end of a programme – especially if you have framed the reason to help encourage objectivity – is useful. Circulating a brief survey after the training helps the reflectors have time to consider their response and so also helps. Questions such as “What did you appreciate and value?”, “What would you like to see more of / less of?” and “What would you suggest be handled differently?” can help pull feedback from participants. Hope that helps.
Question: Do you have any thoughts on techniques to deal with the persistently distracted participant, who, despite the scene-setting by the sponsor, is always nipping off to check that email, or make that call? Frustrating for all concerned, especially when the group as a whole is engaged. Just wondered if you’d found any particular methods that work
Answer: Yes I do have a view – set fire to them!! Let me tell you a story…. I was delivering a conference a few years back with Tom in a law firm when the person introducing me and in charge of partner promotion in the firm sat down and started reading the Daily Torygraph. We asked him politely to stop but he continued and so I had a cigarette lighter that I was using to demonstrate something later in the day and I set fire to the paper. That stopped him in his stride and he was a little less interested in catching up with news of his investments! That was a one off though. Strangely we were never invited back! If you want less combustible ideas how about:
- Setting the rule as part of the frame
- Setting group rules that everyone buys into
- Agreeing a fines model
- Having a quiet word in the break
- Just being silent and watching him squirm and change behaviour
And finally we once put a bucket on a stage when we were delivering a conference, suggested there should be no phone distractions and then when a phone went off we went down into the audience, asked to borrow the phone and threw it into the bucket. This is what the audience all thought – in fact we had an old phone and cunningly switched phones before throwing the old phone into the bucket.
Question: Business Training is an excellent book. I’m really enjoying it but I have two questions. What is the most common mistake of a bad trainer? How do I spot my own bad habits?
Answer: Another great question and one that is at the heart of your effectiveness. I guess one of the key things to say is that self-awareness as a trainer is absolutely critical to avoiding mistakes. You will be ‘infected’ by your preferences and so getting feedback and engaging in self-reflection is critical. For example, we have already talked about learning styles today and you will have your own learning style preferences. So one mistake is to play to those preferences and not to others. Another mistake is to make assumptions about the learners or the learning that might limit you or the participants. The best way to spot your mistakes is to seek feedback (and treat it as a gift!) and constantly reflect on your own performance by asking yourself questions such as “What did I do well?”, “What would I do differently next time?” and “What have I learnt from this about myself and how I train?”.
Question: What is the way of using case studies in business training? I look forward to your reply.
Answer: I do have what is perhaps a controversial belief here. I think case studies are often used inappropriately in business training. Many have accepted that just because they are not at Harvard they must be the right thing to do. I have only occasionally seen them being delivered competently. Too often they are an academic exercise which is more about retention and intellectual jousting. The best way to use them in my view is as a springboard to practical application based on real life business contexts. I accept the fact that, especially in professional services firms, participants can be more inductive rather than deductive reasoners and so like the idea of case studies. The balance often though is skewed and too much time is wasted. I often leave thinking so what when I have been taught using a case. Just a personal view and there may well be advocates out there. Come on – defend case study teaching!!
Question: Just reviewing the materials and comments – very impressive and some great suggestions already. Have you thought about a modelling exercise for interactive book launches…? Particularly like the simplicity of the Cs model for influencing – if that’s at the core, what would be your number one tip for maximising your impact at a training session? Continued success!
Answer: Thanks for your thoughts about C3 Model of Influencing. We have now taught this to hundreds of people and you will be pleased by this – even protected it by getting the model trademarked! This is our first online launch so I am sure there are things we can improve for next time and it has been fun! My No 1 Tip for maximising your impact in a training session – as long as you are confident (presupposition here) and a subject matter expert, I think the biggest practical thing I have learned that has the biggest impact is the flexible use of the voice. Done well this allows you to be credible and connect with the audience. Slow, pauses, monotone and down at end of sentence or phrase for credibility and the exact reverse for connection. The reason is that some of the group are consciously or unconsciously sorting for either your credibility or whether they like you or not. Both will affect the way they take on or reject what you are teaching.