Keeping Your Points Clear and Memorable
As a trainer, making key points clear and memorable is one of your highest priorities. You want to know that this information is thoroughly understood by learners and that they won’t forget it the moment they walk out of the training room or turn off their computers.
Yet some trainers struggle with keeping the point clear; learners leave the room, thinking, “What was I supposed to get out of that?” Other trainers struggle with making the information memorable, and learners end up thinking, “I know we covered this in training, but I don’t remember what we learned.” If you find yourself in either category (or both), there are three “good” ways to help keep your points clear and memorable.
For the good of the learner In any situation, training or otherwise, people tend to think through the lens of “what does this have to do with me?” It’s human nature to let your mind drift if you don’t understand how a piece of information is relevant. Your learners are no different. So, rather than fighting this fact, lean into it.
For key points of information, come up with scenarios, using everyday situations the learner might experience where the training would be useful. Use as many real-life circumstances as you can. Refer to “the hallway across from the break room where the big fake palm tree is” or to “Reggie in accounting” (get people’s permission before using them in examples), or talk about specific pieces of equipment.
Tell scenarios as stories so people can imagine what they would do as the details unfold. And don’t be afraid to use some “scare tactics.” Telling a story about what disaster could occur if someone doesn’t incorporate the key points helps strengthen the understanding of why the training is important to the learner. Then, at the end of the scenario, repeat exactly what is the key piece of information and how it is beneficial in that circumstance.
For your own good One of my favorite TV shows is the U.S. version of The Office. In Season 8, Episode 17 (“Test the Store”), a handful of employees are launching a store in Florida to showcase the new Sabre Pyramid cell phones and tablets. About halfway through the episode, Jim is on the sales floor and gets a call from Pam on his non-Sabre Pyramid phone. He answers it and gets photographed by one of the bloggers covering the launch, who uploads the picture to his “Daily Fail Blog.” It’s a memorable moment, and one that resonates with me.
When we hear someone advocating a brand, a product or even an idea, we want to know that it is something the person uses themselves, and that it is something they see value in. Like Jim, an advocate who doesn’t see value in what they are selling is seen as untrustworthy, even hypocritical.
So, feel confident to share stories from your own life and experience with the subject matter. If you’re training on a new policy or procedure, demonstrate how the change has improved your life. If you’re training on a new product or piece of software, explain how it has saved you time or how much more user-friendly it is.
For the greater good Finally, be sure that your learner understands how a key piece of training fits into the grand scheme of things. This can be as broad as how individual company policies form a healthier working culture, or as specific as how following safety protocols keeps everyone on a work site safe. Again, use specific scenarios or stories to help learners see the greater good behind the training. Use it as an opportunity to reinforce how the organization is impacted by individuals and their actions. And take the time to highlight where the learners themselves fit into that organization and how the actions or information being taught will ultimately make the whole organization safer, more efficient and a better place in general.
No matter what point you’re trying to make, be repetitive; that’s how people learn. And making the same points in light of the learner’s good, your own good, and the greater good will help repetition feel less boring and ultimately make your points clearer and more memorable.