You work hard to create programs and content that engage your audience, motivate them to participate, and impart useful information. You get them off and running, but how can you keep them on track once everyone has to go back to work?
Researcher Bill Rosenthal pointed out many years ago that once people leave a learning event, they have little success remembering the concepts or applying them to their work. Some analysts suggest that as little as 10 to 15% of what we learn in courses gets used.
As a consultant, your positive impact on the business depends on how well people can use your advice. If you can keep the motivation and focus going, your client will see amazing results. And you’ll see more repeat business and glowing referrals.
Here are some ways to stay top-of-mind and help your clients succeed with your program long after it’s over.
Give them resources to lean on.
No one is going to memorize everything they learned in your workshop, so provide some reminders they can easily lean on in the early days. Checklists, mnemonics, or wall posters can help folks recall the habits, attitudes, and actions they committed to with you.
These reminders have been shown to make a big difference in how well people apply best practices. Even doctors benefit from using checklists to remember basic safety procedures.
Work with your client to find the best way to distribute these resources. You might even spend a few days on site so you can integrate your resources with their workflow. For example, if you’re helping your clients run better meetings, put laminated checklists in all the conference rooms.
Connect your concepts to immediate goals.
When people learn new strategies that could solve a pressing problem, they’re more likely to experiment with your ideas as a way to grapple with the challenge. And if they use what they just learned very soon after your workshop, they’ll also retain the information longer.
In the absence of a tangible business goal, try micro-videos or tools like Pract.us that can help people practice their new skills during the course of the day and see the immediate results of their efforts.
Trim out irrelevant information.
Your workshop may cover a broad range of topics, but clients will have a harder time remembering the important information if there’s extraneous knowledge in the way. Make sure your program highlights the key ideas and essential behaviors.
Consider trimming out less relevant information and using the time to explore how people will apply their new skills.
Rinse and repeat.
If people need to remember procedures that aren’t often used but require fast recall, such as emergency protocols, arrange to review them at regular intervals after the training.
You can also conduct refresh workshops or webinars a week or so after your engagement. Incorporate proven memory aids, like pre-tests and spaced repetition, to help people retain the details.
Plan for practice.
Many people feel that if you’ve read new information and maybe passed a test on it, you’ve learned it. But, think about how you learned to drive. Knowing the rules of the road isn’t enough. You have to get behind the wheel. You have to practice.
Similarly, your clients have to practice the skills you’ve introduced before they’ll use them at work.
So give them a practice plan that guides their early efforts to adopt new behaviors. You can even set out a progressive program to start with small actions and work up to more complex ones.
Ideally, you’ll track and support their work. But if you can’t, ask employees to keep each other accountable for practicing new skills.
As a consultant, you have limited time with your clients. But you’re sharing knowledge and skills that can translate to long-term success. It’s in your best interest and theirs to make those skills transfer out of your seminar and into their work. It just takes a little post-workshop support to see your insights take root.
At Pract.us, we help you ensure that your good advice takes root, long after your initial training. Learn more.