Replenish your toolkit – 6 training and facilitation soundbites for the week of April 30

One of the best parts of being in a community of educators is that there’s always something new to learn from other like-minded individuals. Call it, adding to your toolbox.

Colleagues, mentors and thought-makers are constantly swapping tips, tricks, and anecdotes to help craft our work to make it stronger, more meaningful and more relevant.

Here are some of my own reminders and learnings from the past week. I hope to make this a weekly feature you can use to replenish your own toolkit.

  1. Know your purpose – meaning, remember the purpose of each exercise/game/discussion you introduce. Does it tie back to your desired outcomes?
  2.  Don’t brainstorm cold – treat brainstorming like an athletic endeavor – to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your brainstorming sessions, prepare your team with an energizer or warmup that gets them in an alert, present, and slightly brain-fried state. You’ll get those ideas popping faster.
  3. Introverts have longer runways – remember that introverts often just need more time to process ideas and thoughts. Help them feel comfortable by giving them the topic before brainstorming sessions, and utilize more small-group discussion.
  4. Experiential learning and facilitation go hand-in-hand  – a facilitator’s job is to help lead your students to the answer (to the truth). Key to uncovering those answers is adding an experiential element to your session where participants are more active and in control of their learning. This leads to self-reflection which leads to participants finding the answers to the questions facilitators pose. What’s more rewarding – to be told the answer or to discover it yourself?
  5. Choose simplicity – key to retention (beyond adding an element of self-reflection and direct application to the work being done) is simplicity. Have you broken down your teaching points into easily digestible bites? Make sure you leave time for a wrap-up that covers key points.
  6. Observe by playing  – With just 10 minutes, you can learn and observe the dynamics of a team by playing one simple Improv-based game – key to applying an Improvisers approach to training and facilitation is recognizing that Improv is a teachable skill set, and not a comedy routine. Teach a team how to improvise, and watch their communication and collaboration soar.

What your sales training initiatives might be missing

This recent piece from HBR sheds light on the alarming gap between investment and performance in sales training initiatives and provides insight into what key ingredients they may be missing.

Consider this fascinating statistic: only 9% of sales meetings end in a sale, and only one out of 250 salespeople exceed their sales targets.

What Researchers Lynette Ryals and Ian Davies found could surprise you and change the way you view your training initiatives:

“Ryals and Davies found that a disproportionate amount of training is allocated to presentation and rapport skills, as well as the actual sales pitch”…

… when in fact, they found the behaviors of the most successful salespeople include overcoming customer objections on the fly (thinking on your feet), rising to the challenge, and adaptability. Furthermore, what hinders success is sticking to the sales script too much, not listening or paying attention, and lacking self-awareness.

Luckily, these “successful” behaviors can be learned and built up like muscles through training initiatives like Improvisation.

What can you add or substitute into your sales training initiatives to help close this gap, and fast? Consider the training toolbox of an Improviser.