"When the eagle perfects its prey dive, even the fish is impressed."
Okay I just made that up BUT I DO subscribe to the folksy wisdom behind it. If something is precise and well-executed, it can have a universal appeal. This is particularly true when you're curating content for your training. Here are some ways to streamline your message to better resonate with your audience.
CHOOSE THE MOST IMPORTANT STUFF
You might have a ton of content to put in your training. Whether you’re trying to get folks to learn a vast new compliance policy, an intricate new sales system, or buy into a service philosophy, people who are taking training want to be exposed to the critical stuff fast and in the right amount.
Alternately, you might be starting with nothing, training on something so new that there is no developed content for it. Either way, your goal is the same: Gather up the most important, most relevant, and frankly, most interesting pieces of knowledge that are essential to getting your message across and have people apply it a few times in meaningful ways.
So how do you decide what's important? What can lead to the biggest consequences if a learner don’t understand it? While you're evaluating each piece of content, see if you can use any phrases, metaphors, or examples that have taken root with your audience. Any kind of language that already has some traction with your audience is worth taking advantage of.
Try to boil down the benefits of the desired behavior or skill into a brief pitch that is memorable and compelling. Like when your friend tries to sell you on a movie or show they love - they tell you the premise in a way that will resonate with you. “It’s a dark thriller about a framed cop who has paralyzing visions of his own future.” I get in, I’m there with you, I’m in. “It’s about a team of superheroes that are pretending to be villains to infiltrate an invading planet.” Hell yeah, in. Be direct and convincing. “This technique will help you convince customers to complete the survey that defines your job performance.” Yikes, OK, yes, I’m in.
See if you can create a pitch for your takeaways that will give learners enough info to draw them in and enough reason to investigate further. Give them the key points and challenge them to practice right away. Start off your course by laying the premise out to folks, and use the introductory concepts in your internal initiatives in advance of deploying the training. You’ll set the tone, streamline the message, and prepare people for what to expect.
REMOVE THE DISTRACTING STUFF
If you’ve identified the most important stuff, that means you have a bead on the content that could be distracting, too in-depth or off-topic, or just kind of long-winded. Pare down language at the word level to make strong, true statements about how to perform a skill and why someone should do it. Go easy on those repetitive transitional phrases that training is so fond of, like “Now that you know how our routers can make a huge difference for a wide range of industries…” I mean, if they just did that, then there’s no need to immediately recap it at the top of the next screen. It’s obviously important to know your audience, but too much of this “slow and steady” method can feel overly remedial for adults. Keep the pace up and the forward momentum strong by continuously linking new concepts together logically and in a creative way.
TRY DIFFERENT STUFF
Ask good questions that seem ambiguous and not obvious. Use examples that are realistic and, if useful, even provocative. Take learners down a path of consequences that goes a bit beyond what they would have expected. Be sarcastic in service of championing their skills. Use real examples that illuminate their most sensitive challenges with humor and honesty. Mix up the interactivity to break them out of their scan and click rhythm. Talk to them directly through narration and bold, curated typography. Choose to be self-aware in tone rather than overly formal. Try out weird stuff that you think might resonate, and then get some feedback on how the eagle landed. Let us know how it goes!