How organized is your training? Do you make it easy for people to learn? Do you ever worry that you might patronize? Sometimes successful training occurs because of its structure. Yes, content still means something, but if it´s not organized in a way that approachable, then you risk losing your learners.
In The Smart Girl´s Guide to Sports: A Hip Handbook for Women Who Don´t Know a Sam Dunk from a Grand Slam [I know the difference, I assure you . . . ] by Liz Hartman Musiker answers a multitude of questions in funny and irreverent ways. She´s your best friend sitting next to you pointing out just what you need to know.
Here´s a snippet from the press release on the book: "Each chapter includes a "Here´s How It Works´ section that explains the basics of each sport (yes, there is a difference between a boxing ring and boxing out [I had no idea . . . ]); profiles of each sport´s timeless legends and legends-in-training (no, Broadway Joe did not star in musicals and Culpepper is not a spice); and a funny, readable glossary of key terms (a "double dribble´ is not when you have both beer and chili stains on your shirt at the same time)."
Like the information that Hartman Musiker presents in The Smart Girl´s Guide to Sports, the training you offer your people needs to be accessible. That is, you need to build an unencumbered path to its door. If you make something too technical, for instance, you throw up obstacles and give people one more reason to tune out. If you don´t give them a reason for having the information, they question your motivation and start worrying about all the time they´re wasting, time that could be spent doing their real jobs.
In addition to making the training accessible (the clear path) you need to make it engaging. That may sound fairly obvious, but a lot employee development programs simply put people to sleep. It´s not just about the mix-incorporating activities that get people out of their seats combined with some standard classroom teaching-it´s the content of that mix. Ask yourself, for instance, if the training you provide is entertaining? People don´t need to be on the floor laughing their hearts out, but you do want to make them laugh and smile. They´re more likely to remember what´s been presented if they can associate it with something enjoyable like a good laugh or two. Is it memorable? In other words, will the training stick? Can the teaching points be connected with specific workplace situations/opportunities to learn? Is the training geared toward the right people? Have you ever been stuck inside a program (think of an all-day training day) and wondered, "What am I doing here?" or "Why did anything think I needed this?" In addition to being a huge waste of time unnecessary training does not build goodwill or engender trust.
Finally, how well do you know your audience? If you hire someone to conduct training for your people and no one asks about their likes, dislikes, job descriptions, etc., chances are your trainers don´t know their audience. Like Hartman Musiker, you want to offer training that makes sense. Most of us might always remain spectators, but with the right education at least we´ll know which side to root for.