As leaders, we often have important information to share – information that other people need to achieve results. I’m talking about training – but this could be equally true for any business ‘forum’. This might include something as formal as an annual meeting to present the company vision for the upcoming year, or something as casual as a catch-up over coffee to discuss a new project with your team.
Regardless of the setting, the important thing for leaders is to be able to engage people in these forums, so that others can easily understand and retain the information you share with them. Corporations spend billions of dollars on training and meetings each year, but actually getting the message to stick is what gives the forum its return on investment.
In order to really engage people in any forum, I encourage you to consider the learning opportunity from a broader perspective than the actual event alone, and look at what happens before and after the forum as well. I recommend that leaders – ‘Prepare’, ‘Present’ and ‘Follow Up’.
Before the forum begins, there is always some planning involved, but it’s mainly from the forum organiser’s perspective of deciding what to say. The preparation phase is also a great opportunity to get your audience ready to receive the information you want to share with them, as well. To do this:
Presentation skills aren’t just about being able to use powerpoint effectively. The human brain is wired in certain ways when it comes to paying attention, and you as a leader can take advantage of this to boost understanding, retention and involvement. One way to do this is by keeping an eye on the clock.
No matter how well you presented that information, the unfortunate fact is at least 35% of it will disappear from your audiences’ minds the next day. The human brain is a highly efficient thing, designed to get rid of irrelevant information so that the important stuff can stick, but without revisiting information, it gets filed by the brain as ‘not important’.
In other words, a follow up email or encouraging your people to share what they’ve learned with someone else could prevent a third of your training expenditure evaporating overnight. These are known as ‘boosters’ and a great structure to optimise their impact is the 2x2x2 model.
These don’t have to be a long and involved boosters either, just touching on a couple of key points is often enough to signal to the brain that the whole thing was important information.
Consider how you could use this principles to bolster your next forum, and set yourself and others up for success!
Posted by Mel Armstrong.
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