Every training designer wants to banish boredom from the courses they create. But boredom can creep in. How and why does that happen? According to top training designer Nancy Giere, it happens when training designers are so concerned with including every idea and concept that they overload their courses. “They put in too much content,” she told Even Hackel in this Training Unleashed Podcast. 

How does that happen, and how can you prevent it from affecting your training? Here are some highlights of what Nancy told Evan in her terrific Training Unleashed Podcast, which you will not want to miss. 

Remember What Slides Are For

 “I think slides with pictures and graphics can be very powerful tools,” Nancy told Evan. “But the purpose of slides is not to help presenters organize their thoughts. They should support the audience, not help the presenter remember what to say next!”

On Different Kinds of Training

“There are different types of training,” Nancy explained. “There’s the `check the box training’ that everybody has to do – things like sexual harassment training, safety compliance training, and other topics that are required. And you can easily lose people in those courses because it’s like everybody has to do them.

“So what I’m finding is people are trying to take some of these topics and lighten them to keep people engaged. There are other types of programs, where you’re trying to improve people’s knowledge and skill level. To keep training interesting there, you have to make it clear how the training is going to affect each trainee’s job.

“It’s a matter of including the `What’s in it for me?’ but you want to add, `And why should I care , , , How is this going to improve my situation , , , Am I going to be able to be more effective in my job?` And more importantly, the most important thing is not what happens in the training, but after the training,

“People think, `I learned this great new stuff, and then when I go back to my desk, is it going to be supported? Or is it flavor of the month?’”

How to Use Stories to Create Powerful Training

“The really important element is what happens at the beginning of training” Nancy explained, “which is have a great hook where people go. A lot of people will start by posing a question of the audience. An even more powerful way is to bring them in with a story that’s relatable, where they think, `Oh, yeah, that’s me. . . you get their attention quickly, because they make a decision early on whether or not they’re going to pay attention.

“So that’s the first part. The next is to have a good structure. Give people a roadmap. Tell them, `This is the journey I’m going to take you on today , , , These are the three key ideas that I have for you.’

“The close is also just as important as the opening. And what’s really important is for the audience to be able to say, `I did this. These were the key skills that I had to embody to be able to do this. And you then get to whatever the improvement is, whatever that key idea is, or the place you want to take people.

“You want them to say, `I did it!. Look at me. And so can you!”

What Makes for a Great Story?

She told Evan that first of all, the stories you use have to be real.

“I know people make up stories,” Nancy said, “And when they do, they come off as made up. I think people can tell the story is real or not, but what are the keys?

“I remember watching someone at a Toastmasters competition. She was the test speaker and she told a story about how she was a scuba diver and something happened where her tanks weren’t completely full of air. And she went under and ran out of air and had to get to the surface. And then when she got to the surface, there was a lot of wave action, and she told the story kind of like I am telling it to you now. And then this happened and this happened  . . .  

“It wasn’t her story! I was evaluating it and I realized her story didn’t move me in any way. There was no drama, there was no emotion, she didn’t take me with her, right? I didn’t feel the panic.

“So you want to make sure that the emotions match the words. Also, you want to look at the characters. Can you make the characters come to life for us? Who did you encounter?

“For a lot of people, it’s very daunting to do storytelling and for that matter, to do interactive activities. Because, you know, they haven’t done those things before.

“Now, you might think your life’s boring, but when you really dig in, it isn’t. And if you’re speaking about something you are personally passionate about, there’s got to be a reason why you’re personally passionate about it. And if there’s a reason why there must be a story, yes, and that will speak to other people.”

An Offer for the Training Unleashed Community from Nancy Giere

Nancy invites you to download and use a complimentary copy of her eReport Eight Easy Steps to Create Training that Sells!

About Our Guest

After a lifetime in the corporate training world, Nancy knows how businesses operate and she isn’t afraid to shake things up. Her unique perspective combined with 25+ years of experience has empowered her with fresh insight and the industry’s best-kept secrets that she’s ready to share with you. On a lifelong campaign against boring training, she uses the power of storytelling and light-hearted humor to create an engaging, fun, and interactive environment. Masterfully intertwining comedic humor with life lessons, her stories make learning stick! Nancy has worked with the biggest names in corporate America like Johnson Controls, Harley Davidson, and Northwestern Mutual.