Everyone is different, everyone needs different things and everyone learns differently. Teaching adults is more complicated and needs to have ‘transferability’ – what they learn can immediately be applied to situations in their own lives. In addition the more they understand about themselves the more they will get out of the training.
If you are working on a training program, here are two interesting articles about teaching adults and how they learn:
http://bit.ly/wt15jL Principles of Teaching Adults
http://bit.ly/wHxqUv How Adults Learn
My experience has taught me the more people know about themselves the better learners they become. In other words, knowing my strengths and my challenges will help me me understand why some concepts are easier to grasp then others. To be successful you must understand yourself and how you interact with the world.
For years I have been using BEST Instruments are a great way to help people understand how they communicate and how they can improve their communication skills. (There are a number of different test but I always start with the Communication Style.)The tests take very little time to administer and people are rarely threatened by the results. They are also amazed at the accuracy. This information can be incorporated into the training program making learning much easier. It also gives the instructor a way to make the message more personal and help the salespeople want to learn new ways to communicate. In addition the inventories come with “birds of a feather buttons” that proudly announce the person’s style. All of this makes for learning and fun.
Understanding and interpreting the tests do take time and learning on the instructor’s part and should be done ahead of time. The more times you administer the tests the more you will learn about how to discuss the results. I have found that participants are often unaware that others actually have different styles of communication. In fact people with other styles of communication are often described as “just difficult”. This is a good way to get salespeople to take bigger risks in their communications and be more successful in their sales. Selling is all about connecting and it’s easier to connect with someone you understand.
After people have assessed their styles, they can be put into “different” groups and learn how to better communicate with each other and of course different types of customers.
We all know that we like things better when they’re “our ideas” so why not help your learners first understand how they think and maybe the new things will become their ideas.
Lisbeth Calandrino is available for Sales and Communication Training. She can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.