More Effective Compliance Training Through Storytelling

Training that you’re required to take for your job – think about things like safety training, anti-sexual harassment training, fraud prevention – can be some of the most difficult training to complete. Will any of this stuff really happen to me? Yeah, I get it that the company needs to make sure all its bases are covered, but does it have to bore me to tears while covering its bases?

In late August, the Association for Talent Development will be bringing thousands of training professionals together, in-person, for its annual International Conference and Expo (ICE), and Rance Greene will be leading a presentation on how to transform your organization’s compliance training through the power of storytelling. Rance is the author of Instructional Story Design: Develop Stories that Train, and we recently had an opportunity to come together and discuss his upcoming presentation.

If you happen to be headed to Salt Lake City for ATD ICE, you can find Rance’s presentation on August 29 from 10:30am – 11:30am.

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Storytelling as a Learning Device

Humankind has been using storytelling to pass knowledge from person to person for a very, very long time.

Rance Greene, who spent time earlier in his career earning experience in live theater, recently wrote a book entitled Instructional Story Design: Develop Stories that Train, in which he translates his experience to help readers write and develop stories for training.

Recently, I had an opportunity to spend some time with Rance to get his thoughts on why stories are such a powerful training device, whether stories are appropriate for every topic and how to rein in the desire to share every detail in a story.

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The STORY model for storytelling

Sometimes the simplest way to bring your content to life is to tell a story. Storytelling is a means of educating people that has been around for millennia.

Just because you have a story to tell, however, doesn’t mean you know how to tell a story in an engaging, effective way. The S.T.O.R.Y. model can help give structure to the way in which you plan for, and ultimately tell, your story.

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How can your storytelling be more effective?

On Saturday, I attended a memorial service for my 101-year-old grandfather. The stories that my aunts and uncles and cousins shared were phenomenal. Storytelling is such a powerful means of communication, especially when you can picture what’s happening in the story.

But what happens when you aren’t quite as familiar with the subject matter or situation in the story?

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina writes: “Vision trumps all other senses… we learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words.” So how do we add the sense of sight to our storytelling?   Continue reading

Telling a Training Story

Last week I had the opportunity to present at Learning Solutions on controlling your narrative. Did you miss it? Well then, let me tell you a story…

Driving down the highway last winter, I saw a message board that said there had been 190 fatalities on the Montana highways that year. I asked my husband what I am supposed to do with that information. Continue reading

Storytelling: Structuring a Training Story

Storytelling in training is an effective way to relay facts and give your participant the information they need in a context they can understand. Unfortunately, crafting a story that resonates with participants isn’t always easy.

Stories need structure, something that keeps participants involved until the end. To make storytelling a bit easier, I pulled together the framework I generally use when creating a story. This simple formula aims to help you build a good story without giving too much information away too soon. Continue reading

Innovating on Storytelling

Cave Drawings

The temperatures in Seattle this past week hit 70 degrees, which meant that we, along with everyone else across the city, headed to our neighborhood pools in order to seek relief from this oppressive and dangerous heat wave.

As I was waiting for my children’s turn to jump off the diving board, I watched child after child try to do something a little different than the person before them. Cannonball. Backwards cannonball. Cannonball-turned-belly-flop at the last minute. Front flip. Back flip. Front-flip-turned-belly-flop.

Observing someone ahead of you while waiting in line, then figuring out a better variation of it… it was innovation in action! And of course it had me thinking about presentation skills.

As I reflected on these thoughts over the weekend, I came across a 3-minute TED Talk about innovations in storytelling that could prove interesting for anyone looking to prepare a better presentation.   Continue reading

Want to be creative in your next presentation? Try Pecha Kucha-style!

Pecha Kucha-style presentations involve 20 slides that advance every 20 seconds (automatically). There’s no chance for a presenter to dilly dally. It’s fast-paced, visual, and the best ones capture the audience’s attention.

I wrote about Pecha Kucha-style presentations in the past, but when looking over the agenda for an upcoming retreat for a client recently, I noticed they had Pecha Kucha presentations on the agenda! It’s reignited my interest in the style.

Are you looking to do something a little different with your next presentation? Here are a few Pecha Kucha presentations that can offer some inspiration…   Continue reading

You Can Only Change The World If People Pay Attention To You

Introducing yourself can be such a routine, mundane task.  But it doesn’t have to be.  In fact, it can be a way to capture your audience’s attention for the rest of your presentation.

To which of the following introductions would you be more likely to pay attention?

Example 1:

Example 2 (go ahead and check it out – even though the cover slide is the same, I promise there is different content underneath that cover slide):

In the second example, you’ll notice two strategies designed to hold the audience’s attention:

  1. Don’t just tell.  Tell a story.  It’s too easy to simply speak mindlessly about your topic, especially if you know it well. It’s more engaging if you can create a storyline for your audience to follow. In this example I teased my topic by dressing it up in three secrets. When I actually gave this talk, I was hoping to cash in on most people’s innate desire to be let in on another person’s secrets.
  2. Make the audience feel special. In this example, I was willing to share something with my audience that not even my wife knew about. I could actually see the audience’s eyes get bigger when they unexpectedly found that they were going to hear something so unique that not even my wife had heard before.

In his very entertaining book How To Be A Presentation God, Scott Schwertly repeatedly says that a presentation can change the world. I believe this to be true… as long as you’re able to get your audience to pay attention to your world changing thoughts.

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