THIS WEEK WE are going to finally decide the best methods of getting our information across to our audience, using the methods (or at least, some of them) that we examined last week.

As a general rule, we try to work on a common basic structure - you may be familiar with it, as it is used when you have to construct a piece for public speaking. It goes like this:1. Tell them what you're going to tell them2. Tell them3. Tell them what you told themThis is useful, because it keeps both the training designer and the learners focused on the issue at hand. However, because in this instance we are also trying to get our learners to 'buy into' a concept they may not be familiar with, we need to adopt the 'tell, sell and impel' approach. This means that we are ultimately going to get the result - in this case, the behavioural change - that we want.Although we decided on the meat and potatoes of our training last week, we need to add the gravy - in this case, an introduction (tell them what you're going to tell them) and a conclusion (tell them what you told them). Our introduction is probably best conducted as a mini lecture, keeping it short and sweet and to the point. We simply need to summarise what the training is about and it is helpful to show the topics that you are going to discuss. You may also find it helpful to include this in an agenda for the day. If you are using MS PowerPoint, you can create a slide that shows the information.It is usual to include details of the timings of your training on the agenda, along with times allocated for breaks, including lunch if this is appropriate (if you don't, you will not be able to keep track of time and people will lose concentration after about 20 minutes).So, let's look at the main headings and sub-headings we have decided upon.1. Why we need to gather informationIt is useful to get learners contributing at an early stage, so why not try asking this as a question and flip-charting the responses? You should have a list of reasons that you think are important, and in this case, you might want to split the list into two areas:

  • Regulatory requirements (demands and needs, reasons why)
  • Benefits to the customer
  • This will give you an opportunity to discuss the relevance of reasons (interactive learning), encourage everyone in the group to contribute and, as a trainer, will allow you to gauge to some degree the knowledge of the participants.2. The new fact find in detailThere is a double-edged approach to this: first, get the actual fact find on to a PowerPoint slide. This allows you to go through each section in detail (mini lecture), preparing the group for the practical exercise that follows as you explain the purpose of each section. You will also have made copies of the fact find for their use in the exercise. Don't make the mistake of handing these out immediately as they will be looking through them and not listening to what you are saying - it's a natural thing to do - we are all children at heart who find new things interesting. Hence the reason for keeping the group focused on something visual.3. How to complete the fact findThis could take a dual format: firstly, they need to know what, who and when. Then you might like to demonstrate completing it - you could, if you are feeling confident with your technology, do this on your PowerPoint slide, which is probably the most effective way. Lastly, and most importantly, you need to get your learners to complete a fact find for themselves. This can take the form of a mini role play. Split the group into pairs and ask one to play the customer and the other to complete the fact find - then switch around. This is probably the most effective method of embedding learning.4. Possible difficulties with completionYou must allow time for learners to feedback to you how they coped with the exercise - what was good, what was bad, what was difficult and ideas on how they can deal with difficult areas. You will act as the facilitator for this piece of interactive learning. This part of the training is essential - it will allow you to allay fears, address difficulties and deal with negative attitudes.5. What's in it for us as a firm?This session is an excellent opportunity to get participants engaging in a positive exchange of ideas. It's your chance to get them to identify where new and better business could come from and to demonstrate how better knowledge will produce fewer errors and misunderstandings between them, resulting in less stress and a decrease in wasted time. Use the flipchart to gather ideas and allow plenty of time to discuss and develop them.6. And finally...You will use this last session to plan for the future and to close the training - not forgetting to 'tell them what you told them' by summarising. You might find it useful to go back to your original PowerPoint slide and examine each point, deciding together whether you have addressed all the issues thoroughly.

    EvaluationRemember, you need to be able to measure whether learning/behavioural change has taken place. There are a number of ways in which you can do this, for example:

  • Devising straight questions and answers
  • Devising a short multiple choice test
  • Creating a case study
  • Creating an action plan
  • For this particular piece of learning, where you are looking for a sustained behavioural (and probably cultural) change, you will probably get the best results from a combination of testing both knowledge and skill. Perhaps a short multiple choice test (examining the reasons why, regulation and so on) coupled with an action plan. To create this you will need to get each individual to:
  • Set a personal objective (perhaps relating to completing the fact find or a number of them)
  • Agree a time span in which to do this (say, over the next month)
  • Agree a time to review the results (reporting back on difficulties and/or successes)
  • In fact, action planning is a whole new subject and one which we will have to address in the future. I hope that the past few weeks have given you some ideas and a place to start.
  • Kate Foreman is director of training at RW Group
  • This page is edited by RW Associates, specialists in training, compliance and competence. Email:
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