Earlier, I wrote a post in which I shared my initial reaction to an announcement that I was going to be participating in a training exercise. I was initially put off by the announcement even though I generally like learning new things, and finished the post by suggesting that we trainers could learn a few things from the people in sales and marketing. Certainly our marketing could be better if we want training participants to invest their time and energy in our programs – and if we want them to actually change their behaviors based on our programs.
Today, I’m here to report that the training itself was actually better than I expected. Much better. Now, to be fair, I knew in advance that the session would be well presented. The presenter is a friend who I know to be a very good trainer. My concern was more about the topic, which involved the DISC communication styles model and team dynamics. I was, in a word, skeptical. And I imagined that some of my team would be far more skeptical – and resistant – than I was. Especially Peter, who is all about the practical. He’s much more of a doer than a thinker and while I’m grateful to have his skills on my team, I figured that Peter would lead the charge of revolt.
I was wrong.
By the end of our session, Peter was asking the presenter if he could borrow some of her materials to learn more about the model. Because he thought it was, in his words, immensely useful. What’s that expression, you could have knocked me over with a feather? Well, pretty much.
Here’s another useful expression: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m guilty as charged. So where do we go from here?
I see two lessons here. For trainers (and others promoting a training program), be careful to sell your programs in terms of how they will benefit the participants. And for participants, give teaching a chance. For the same reason that we trainers want to market to our participants’ desires, let’s hope that we can set examples for being open-minded about training that we’re required to take.
Because “Do as I say and not as I do” is a losing idea.