I recently had a conversation with a colleague who has a background in professional training and instructional design. She loves using experiential learning to make training come alive, so her question to me was, ”Does your virtual training deliver the benefits of experiential learning?” I answered, “Absolutely!” and went on to explain that MIBOSO’s Authentic Personal Branding Program includes many experiential activities.
One requires participants to request input from others on a short list of customized questions. Of the thousands who have participated in our Authentic Personal Branding program, all report that this exercise yields an extremely high degree of experiential learning. Many also say they were astonished to learn that others possessed insights into their character, motivations and values that had eluded them up to that point in their lifetime!
In another part of our Authentic Personal Branding Program participants are required to introduce themselves to others by sharing their personal value propositions. (One or two sentences that clearly convey the unique value that they offer to others.) They are asked to first write it out as a draft, then test it with friends and colleagues, after which they revise, retest and practice delivering it until it’s “pitch perfect.” I have been told repeatedly that this activity also provides exceptional levels of experiential learning.
So when it comes to learning and development, those who learn the most by experiencing the most gain the most. And at times, those who learn the most also risk the most. The two activities described above can be a bit scary for people who are private by nature. So in other words, it’s not how quickly or easily you complete a training course that matters. What’s important is how you can apply the knowledge and insights you’ve acquired to achieve your personal and professional goals.
Here’s a comparison. If you book yourself into a “10 Countries in 5 Days!” bus tour through Europe, you will get the experience of sitting in a bus full of fellow Americans (or Canadians or Australians…) looking out at France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands (and whichever other countries are part of the designated ten) through a tinted bus window. There will be certain places you won’t see, as many narrow European roads simply can’t accommodate large tour buses. (At least not without taking out other vehicles, fire hydrants, parking meters, road signs, even slow moving pedestrians… and I don’t imagine you’d opt for that sort of tour!)
So you’ll follow a special “tourist route” that can accommodate your bus. You’ll dine at restaurants that cater to bus tours. And you’ll be fed food that “pretends” to be a French (or German or Belgian or Dutch…) specialty but is actually something rather international that appeals to the American (or Canadian or Australian…) palate. Anyone who has experienced a multi-day bus tour can attest to the benefits of everyone on board having settled tummies!
But if your goal is to…
- mingle with the locals in France
- enjoy bona fide French cuisine
- shop in the markets of Provence
- explore the backstreets of Paris
…you’ll need to find the kind of trip that delivers those experiences. And to get everything you want out of that trip, you may need to do some things that feel a little scary.
If you’re afraid of getting lost, for example, you’ll want to equip yourself with maps and other navigation devices plus be willing to ask for directions.
I became the “Queen of Lost” during a two month trip to South Africa a few years ago. I had an excellent road map and took pride in my navigation abilities, which always get me where I want to go in North America and Europe. But as only about half of the roads in suburban Johannesburg are marked, my maps became useless. The helpful directions I got from gas station attendants (and their customers) sent me in circles, right back to the same gas station, which was not anywhere near where I wanted to go.
I finally had to pull off the road, call a friend and describe where I was, so she could drive over to meet me and lead me home. Needless to say, I got over my fear of being lost. It even became something of a joke and I began building half an hour of “lost time” into every trip to a new destination.
So as you progress through your learning and development journey, keep your goals in mind and choose the programs that will deliver the experiences you want. And in addition to learning valuable skills, you may get to leave a few of your fears at the side of the road.
In Part 1 of this article, I asked if you are
more prone to accepting the information
about the training programs you are
interested in at face value?
Do you tend to trust, or question?
What IS a healthy dose of doubt?
Let’s go back to the story I told you in Part 1.
If you are the artist who’s approached by an
agent who tells you they want to represent
you because they have access to a national
audience of wealthy art buyers who are very
interested in your work, do you accept what
they say at face value and:
- Get excited and begin imagining thousands of commissions
pouring in from enthusiastic collectors?
- Picture your original paintings and prints hanging in homes and
offices all over the country?
- Begin to think about the exhibits you might be invited to put on
in New York or San Francisco?
Many of us fall into this category. We are the idealists who build it” and trust that “they” will come… We “grab the brass ring” when it shows up. After all, at old time carnivals, anyone who was able to grab the brass ring on a merry-go-round got a free ride. And most of us love the notion of getting a free ride.
The second category of people is quite a lot smaller than the first and strikes more of a balance between idealism and reality. You are in this category if, as the artist being approached by the agent, you would:
- Do your best to find out about the other artists this agent represents and what sorts of shows, commissions and sales he has been able to generate for them.
- Ask the agent what his commission structure is and who is responsible for exhibiting expenses, the cost of shipping art across the country to his more remote clients, etc.
- Make a point of speaking to some of the artists he represents to ask about their experiences with him. Did he deliver what he promised? Much more? Or considerably less?
There’s a third category you might fall into,
but very few people will see themselves in
These are the people who often gravitate
towards law or law enforcement as they
believe that little or nothing is as it
You’re here if, as the artist, you would:
- Do a thorough background check on the agent to determine if he is someone that you want to have associated with your professional reputation.
- From your discoveries, assess whether he will be an asset to you, or a liability.
- Find out what he gets from representing you, and compare that to what you will get from worjing with him.
- Ask for a specific list that outlines his responsibilities and yours, so you’ll know what he will do and what’s left for you to cover.
- Check to see if he has a criminal record, any associations with public scandals, accusations of shady practices, or multiple identities.
Stereotypically, artists are more naïve and less savvy in regards to business matters that a business person seeking professional training, but this example can provide a useful reminder to anyone planning to buy a product or service which will thereafter be associated with them.
We take this into account when choosing our children’s colleges and universities. It’s important to choose a training provider that has a reputation that you are proud to align with your own professional reputation. If you don’t, you may have to remove the certificate , skill or credential you have earned from your resume or professional profile.
To go back to the question we started with, “How can you figure out which training programs are solid and which courses you should to avoid at all costs?” The answer is quite simple. Begin by identifying exactly what you want. Then determine which training company’s program best meets your needs by reviewing the benefits (hard benefit, not platitudes) that it claims to deliver and asking questions. Lots of questions.
Don’t accept platitudes or other people’s “testimonials” as substantive proof of quality. When you begin to scan marketing materials with a questioning mindset, it’s quite funny to notice how much they FAIL to tell you and how little proof they supply to back up their claims.
Asking your own questions will enable you to make your best decisions. Unless, of course, you would prefer to prepare by taking our “Asking Good Questions” program. It’s been called “the best decision making approach available in the business world!” by Fortune 100 executives.* And if that’s not convincing enough, our participant’s testimonials are posted at… Ah ha! Did I get you? <smile> Questioning examples will br posted within a few days. Check them out, then go forth, and question!
How can you figure out which training programs are solid and which courses you should avoid at all costs?
Is it possible to develop a customized, exciting, career accelerating, skill building and positively challenging professional growth curriculum? Yes! Absolutely!
But creating YOUR perfect training curriculum will require you to do some research, and, once that’s done, put the right questions to your short list of prospective training providers.
That thought brings me to another that’s been showing up over the past few weeks.
Why do so few of us ask questions?
Is there is a widely held belief that it’s rude or inappropriate or somehow “bad” to ask questions? Or is it simply that we’re never taught how to question in an effective and respectful manner? Surely it’s less than polite to assume that we know what someone else is thinking.
I was recently on a conference call to support an artist client who had been approached by an agent who wanted to represent her. She did her homework prior to the call, googling the agent, reviewing his on-line profiles and the websites of artists he represented. But when it came time for our conference call, she was unable to ask the questions we had agreed that she really needed answered. Well, that’s not quite true. She DID ask, but answered her questions herself (by applying her assumptions and projections) before the agent had a chance to respond. This left the agent with the challenge of filling the rather confusing gap at the end of her statements.
The artist’s goal was to find out what markets this agent could open up for her in terms of additional sales and exhibitions. But that’s not what she asked! Here’s how the conversation flowed. (The context of the conversation has been changed to protect the identities of those involved)
Q: “I understand that you work with artists all over the country and specialize with those based in the north-west pacific states, but that you also do a lot with those in the east and south-west, as it’s such a big market, so you really have a national clientele. Is that correct?”
A: “Well…I work primarily with those in Washington and Oregon. There are also quite a few in the New York/Connecticut/Rhode Island/Massachusetts area and some in Arizona and New Mexico.”
Did she get the answer she wanted? No. But I have to give kudos to the gentleman being questioned for his ability to field a confusing statement-phrased-as-a-question.
I jumped into the conversation and clarified by circling back to the original question my client hadn’t asked.
Q: “You told us that you work with artists in Washington and Oregon, New England and Arizona/New Mexico. Could you give us an estimate of the breakdown of the sales of the artists you represent, by area? For example, 50% in Washington and Oregon, 30% in New England and 20% in the South West.”
This question was much easier for him to answer. And if there had been anything he was reluctant to disclose, it was also more difficult for him to evade doing so as any hesitancy on his part would give us another potentially revealing question to ask. “Why did you hesitate before answering?”
Do you accept the information that the training programs you are interested in provide at face value? Most of us tend to trust, not question.
What IS a healthy dose of doubt?
Since our generation is subject to vastly more sales and marketing pitches than any other generation in history, I have come to believe that a reasonable degree of skepticism is healthy.
Read more about this in Part 2…
Many of us have been subject to corporate training that was somewhat less than enlightening. If you’ve been
in one of those session you might remember longing
for it to be over so you could get back to the work you
knew was piling up on your desk.
Do you recall what made the actual training so bad?
Was it the:
- Obnoxious trainer?
- Nice trainer with terrible training skills?
- Horrendous training materials?
- Absence of training materials?
- Topic that you had zero interest in exploring?
- People with whom you participated?
- Bad timing of the training?
(It took you out of the office during a very busy period - i.e. Christmas for a retail store manager.)
- Training’s lack of relevance to your professional role and goals?
In What Drives Training Decisions, I observed that within organizations “…every three or so years, “the powers that be” will realize that they haven’t implemented…training…for some time. So the budget will be made available…to “do something.” After taking a cursory look at what’s “hot” in the training world, they will chose a few selections that they feel will create a tasty training menu.”
One example of such is a company is a major financial firm that started up in my hometown, Toronto. Between 1994 and 1999 it grew from a 100 person firm with one office, to a 2000 person firm with multiple offices across Canada. Now you might be thinking, “They must have had a fantastic training strategy to grow so fast!” Actually, they didn’t.
This firm’s executive training and management training approach consisted of bringing in authors and professional speakers to present to 50 or 100 employees at a time. There was no curriculum based on their managers’ or executives’ professional development needs. There was no measurement system to assess either knowledge retention or increased performance. This company simply threw information at their employees at regular intervals and believed that it had an effective employee development program.
That was easy to believe. After all, the company was growing rapidly, its profits were soaring and its market penetration was increasing in leaps and bounds. What they didn’t realize was that this success was largely attributable to good luck. They had been in the right market space at the right time with the right mix of products and services. And their luck continued through May 2000 when they were acquired by a much larger financial firm.
Why was that lucky? Because like a “hot stock” or commodity in a volatile market, this firm’s success was not built on a solid foundation. It could have been lost as quickly as it was gained. You see, it had attracted employees who were stars at riding the waves of success and failed to train them in other proficiencies. Its people lacked the skills, experience and resilience to successfully navigate becalmed or stormy seas.
And it’s not just companies that are unclear on what distinguishes the best training from mediocre or bad training. Many independent professionals and entrepreneurs also find distinguishing good training from bad rather challenging.
What’s the worst training you have experienced? Tell us about your best or worst corporate training - and what it was, specifically, that made them good or bad.
Now that we’ve looked at what drives training decisions in the majority of companies, it’s time to look at those elite organizations that regard training as the fuel that powers their successful:
- New product and service introductions
- Market penetration and expansion
- Revenue and profit growth
While these powerhouse companies are diverse in terms of their size, market sector and product offerings, what they do have in common is that they offer their employees TEN TIMES MORE TRAINING than other organizations. They also have structures that support their high levels of training by continually measuring and testing employee competencies. These structures track for positive changes and typically show a learning curve that begins with a 5% performance increase which over time climbs to 57%.
That’s more than a 200% increase in employee productivity!
Elite organizations think of performance enhancement tracking as the opposite sides of their training coin. They are the yin and yang of corporate training, because the increased performance measurement is the return an organization gets (ROI) on its training investment. A high ROI warrants additional training expenditures, and when the returns are assessed and found positive, additional training will be justified.
You can see how an organization that has invested years in tracking and measuring the impact of its corporate training initiatives will have a highly accurate and reliable formula that enables them to get the most out of their people. The best organization can also slice and dice their formulas to effectively prescribe the exact training that will most positively impact a certain type of manager or executive.
Companies that are considered to have “the best of the best” training programs also take the compositions of their teams, departments and divisions into consideration when they are assigning training programs, to get the best collective results.
Given the logic of matching training programs to the measurement of positive performance change, why don’t more organizations do both? Why do some happily go for the yin and totally ignore the yang? This seems on the surface to be a resource or budget issue, but is more often a result of poor or short sighted leadership.
Most firms put their efforts into keeping the “businesses ball in play” and scoring on the competition.
It’s the rare companies blessed with confident and visionary leaders that give equal attention to the score of the game in play and the performance potential of their players.
The obvious benefits to this “train then measure performance increases” model inspired Miboso to offer an ongoing support program to clients who have completed our Authentic Personal Branding Program. It’s also what’s behind the creation of our monthly community gatherings. The general Miboso community serves people who are currently developing their Authentic Personal Brands, as well as those who are considering doing so. Miboso’s second Authentic Personal Brand community serves Program Graduates, specifically those top performers who want to stay at the top of their game by keeping their actions, Authentic Personal Brands and vision aligned.
To participate in a Miboso Authentic Personal Brand community gathering, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request your guest pass and schedule of upcoming events.
We mentioned in Who’s Training You that most organizations do not have full time in-house trainers. And amongst those that have had, or do have trainers on their payrolls, there is a trend towards outsourcing training.
So if there’s no in-house training team, who or what is driving the training decisions within organizations? Is training introduced to address problems, as we discussed
in our Choosing Executive Training by Function or Dysfunction Series (Part 2, Part 3
and Part 4). Or is it chosen on the basis of apparent analysis? Could it be even more random that that? Corporate executives and managers admit that the training trends within their organizations sometimes seem more “flavour of the month” than pro-
active or corrective.
Here’s the scoop. Training is NOT considered a priority in most corporations.
The “big five” priorities in the corporate jungle are:
- Hitting revenue targets
- Increasing profitability
- Growing market share
- Keeping shareholders happy
- Staying ahead of the competition
Training doesn’t make that list. But it IS critical to the achievement of the “big five” list’s objectives. And it’s interesting to note that even a seasoned hunter would not attempt to go after a lion without the trackers and guide who have the training and equipment to support him in making a clean and humane kill. But would an American company wanting to penetrate an emerging market try to do so without a team trained in the special skills required to achieve that goal?
Could it be that organizations, even in this era of global and economic change, are overlooking the value of specific skills training? It could. In the average corporation, sales training gets 80% of the training dollars. Other training decisions are driven by time. Time? Yes!
Once every three or so years, “the powers that be” will realize that they haven’t implemented a broad scale training program for some time. So the budget will be made available for them to “do something.” After taking a cursory look at what’s “hot” in the training world, they will chose a few selections that they feel will create a tasty training menu. As training is an infrequent occurrence, the organization will see likely it as a “big deal” and add in other enticing elements, such as an opening keynote from the CEO on the how well the company is doing on achieving its vision. Heck, while everyone’s gathered together, they might also decide to give out some employee awards and spring for a celebratory dinner, since cost cutting measures eliminated corporate Christmas parties for the past 4 years.
Here’s the actual breakdown:
- Companies with less than 50 employees offer no formal training at all
- Companies with 200 - 500 employees send a few specific individuals off to training programs and requires them to deliver what they learned to other employees. This opportunistic approach is delivered on an “as available” basis. It may even be that what is presented as “training programs” is a calendar of in-house speakers who talk about their newest books or trends within the business environment or a specific market sector.
- Companies with 500 - 2000 employees (and forward thinking smaller companies) offer higher calibre training programs that are more logically structured, sequenced and frequent. Their trainers that have organizational development backgrounds and ASTD credentials. More thought goes into who gets what training.
- Companies with more than 2000 employees typically have well developed in-house training and may even boast a “corporate university.”
What do world’s most productive and profitable companies do? They have a different approach entirely. Read our article “The Best of the Best” to learn more. And if you have any other insights on what drives corporate training decision making, please add a comment.
“DO” keep your PowerPoint presentations short, because:
As a passive delivery mechanism, PowerPoint is a training tool that entrances viewers, just as television and
movies do. TV has been proven
to slow down human brain waves
and thus our abilities to process,
think and learn. Long, and/or uninterrupted PowerPoint presentations will not only slow
down your trainees responsive-
ness, they might even put them
“DON’T” use PowerPoint for groups of less than 25 people, because:
- It’s impersonal
- It’s not tactile
- It overpowers the room, the trainees and the trainer
“DO” create PowerPoint slides that have more “white space” than content, because
- Having less than 9 words on each slide will keep the trainee’s attention on what you are saying vs. on what they are reading
- Written and visual cues are powerful mnemonics devices
- A picture truly can be worth 1,000 words
“DON’T” use PowerPoint if you want your trainees to really focus on the learning, because:
- You will end up supporting the PowerPoint when the PowerPoint should be supporting the training
- It’s easy to get tangled up stepping around the PowerPoint projector while juggling your notes, remote conttrol and pointer.
- If you get in between the projector and the screen, the people being trained will get irritated. You’ll see the same sort of response that you’d get it you blocke a 6 year old’s view of their favorite TV show.
“DO” ensure that Your PowerPoint presentations are well designed, because:
- If your trainees can’t read the slides, due to small or complex fonts, animation that’s too fast or poor contrast choices, such as yellow type on a green background, the value of the presentation gets lost.
- Overusing animation, clip art or word art distracts trainees from the message you are trying to convey
- Constantly changing or poorly themed backgrounds diminish the value of your training.
“DON’T” use PowerPoint in interactive training situations, because:
- Overhead slides and flip charts do a better job of maintaining a trainee’s attention. You can cover a portion of an overhead slide, or flip or fold a flip chart page to direct your trainees attention to a key piece of material.
- Using Powerpoint in this way is challenging. It requires a trainer to create many extra slides and know their layout well enough to be able to navigate flawlessly to whichever slide contains the few words that their trainees need to see in any given moment. Is it worth the time it takes to do this? And even if it takes the time, will this approach meet your training objectives? We discuss this topic in greater depth in other articles.
And now that we’ve shared some of our
“dos” and “don’ts” that relate to PowerPoint
presentations, please add to this list by
sharing your thoughts. We welcome your
As promised, we’re going to take a look at the best and worst applications of three popular training tools: Flip charts, White Boards, Overhead and PowerPoint Slides. Because all of these training aids are used in similar ways, I will speak of them collectively.
The First “Worst:” Flip Charts, White Boards and Slides that have too many words on each page
When there are too many words on a page, the trainees will read them rather than listening to what their trainer is saying
The Best Flip Charts, White Boards and Slides have 5 words or less on each page.
Each page presented should have enough words on it to trigger the dialog associated with it, and no more. Why?
- The trainees cannot make any useful preconclusions from such a limited amount of information, so their focus will be on the training and the trainer, where it belongs.
- Information Processing Theories* have found that the capacity of human thinking is limited. Short-term memory can only hold 5 to 9 meaningful units of information, (that’s seven plus or minus two). “Information units” can be numbers, words, symbols, or pictures. Human memory relies on one thing linking to another, such as mnemonics, which we discuss in greater depth in The Best & Worst Training Tools. Story telling also supports memory, as do visual and tactile links. For example, sharing recollections or looking at photographs, videos, postcards or souvenirs from a family holiday often brings back memories we had forgotten.
The Best Uses of Flip Chart, White Board and Slide Presentations
Effective trainers do not read what’s writtten on their slides/pages to their trainees. Instead, they deliver material related to the “cue” words, which act as memory aids. Likewise their presentation handouts contain only the few words displayed on each flip chart, white board or slide page, along with a space where trainees can write their own notes.
When the trainer has finished presenting a segment of information, they should summarize by saying, “The material we’ve just covered has five key points. Who got all five?” If no one can aswer correctly, the trainer should go on to quiz the trainees, and question them until all five points have been identified. This approach results in the trainees benefitting from a faster embedding of (and deepening of) the learning.
They may not find it as comfortable as a typical training where they are asked to absorb material without thinking or questioning. But those who really want to learn the material being presented will greatly appreciate what feels like an instant uptake of knowledge.
Here’s a comparison. If you think of a hotel swimming pool, the participants in an ineffective training session would be represented by the people sitting with their legs in the water or lying on lounge chairs at the side of the pool. They have gone to the pool but they’re not actually swimming. Every hotel pool also has a few people playing around in the shallow end. In the training room, these are the people who participate nominally, and tell others afterward that the training gave them a good break from their regular business duties. The approach we advocate, where each piece of learning is embedded and deepened immediately, represents the hotel guests who use the diving board to plunge into the deep end of the pool, before beginning their laps.
The Second “Worst:” Trainers who READ what’s written on their flip charts, white boards or slides to their trainees. This could be because:
- They do have not have a training manual that gives them the short cues to display that relate to the learning they they are delivering.
- The trainer lacks the training requited to use or develop a training manual.
- The trainer regularly puts too many words on their slides and they know from experience that the trainees will read them and ignore anything they say that is not on the slide/page.
- The trainer doesn’t want to take the time to learn how to use an existing training manual or develop a new one.
Clearly, flip charts, white boards and slides are useful training tools that can be used to create the mnemonics, or memory links, that support effective learning. They can do this using just words, just pictures, or both. But they should not become is the centerpiece of the training, because their role is to support the training process, not take it over.
If you are a frequent user of PowerPoint Slides, read “PowerPoint Do’s & Dont’s” to see how your presenation style measures up. If we’ve missed anything that you know helps or diminishes effective PowerPoint presentations, be sure to tell us by commenting.
* George A Miller, 1956
Does it matter whether the trainer you choose prefers to use:
- Overhead or PowerPoint Slides?
- Flip-Charts or Whiteboards?
- Mind Maps or Flow Diagrams?
- Charts or Graphs?
- Video or Music Clips?
- Role Plays or Games?
- Quizzes or Puzzles?
- Flash Cards?
The types of training tools that your trainer selects is unimportant What matters is how skillfully they use the tools they choose.
If you come out of your training program feeling invigorated and eager to apply what you’ve leaned, chances are you’ve been treated to a savvy trainer. One who knew how to use training tools to educe learning.
Educe is one of my favourite words, but as it isn’t used in general conversation, people often ask me what it means. Educe is the root of the word educate. Educe means, “to draw forth or bring out, as something potential or latent; elicit; develop.” (If you like this word as much as I do and want to start using it, it’s pronounced “i-dyoos.”)
In this series of articles on training tools, we’re going to look at how each tool is commonly used, then contrast that with how each tool can be used most effectively. When training tools are used well, they enable the trainer to enter the mind of the trainee and ensure that the desired learning takes place.
We’ll begin by looking at flipcharts, whiteboards, overhead and PowerPoint slides. These training tools are the devices trainers use to create the mnemonics that support specific learning. Now THERE’S a funky word, mnemonics. (It’s pronounced “ni-mon-iks.”) Mnemonics is “the process or technique of improving or developing the memory.” While mnemonics are often verbal, they can also be visual, kinesthetic or auditory. Verbal mnemonics can be short poems, special words or phrases that help a person remember something. here are some examples that you will recognize instantly.
Young children learn the alphabet with the use of the “ABC” song - it’s a mnemonics device. Older children learn grammar with the help of this mnemonics phrase, “I before E except after C.” And the following mnemonics aids in remembering the order in which you will find the planets in our solar system, when you start at the Sun and work your way out. “My Very Easy Method Just Set Up Nine Planets” (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.)
Short stories and corny jokes can also act as memory aids. Rather than offer you a corny joke example that you’d rather NOT have lodged in your memory. Here’s a short story example instead.
Because people often have trouble pronouncing my company name, I tell them what MIBOSO means in order to help them remember how to say and spell it. Quite simply, it’s the first two letters of “mind.” body” and “soul” fused together to form an acronym that represents our holistic approach to personal branding. It’s important for our clients to remember our name, because the website that they need to log into is www.miboso.com. It’s also important for us, because when it is easy for our clients to remember our name, it’s easier for them to refer other people to us.
Read Flip, Write or Slide? to learn the best and worst applications of Flipcharts, Whiteboards and Overhead or PowerPoint Slides. PowerPoint Do’s & Don’ts covers the best and wost uses of that popular training tool. Go on to Map, Flow, Chart or Graph to find out about the do’s and don’ts of using mind maps, flow diagrams, charts and graphs in a training. These articles will be followed with others that focus on the use and misuse of Video or Music Clips, Role Plays or Games, Quizzes or Puzzles and Flash Cards
In the sports world, it is generally assumed that the more hits, strikes or goals a player scores, the better that player is. The baseball player with a batting average of 300 is considered better than a player with a 250 average.
But let’s stop for a minute and take a look at what those batting averages actually measure. A batting average of 300 means that the player missed hitting seven out of every ten balls. That’s right, a player with a “good” batting average misses 70% of the balls pitched to him!
Understanding how averages work makes it clear that success in baseball cannot be measured by the number of balls a player hits (or misses). We’ll need to look at a broader scale of proficiencies when assessing how well a player is performing.
What other playing skills are baseball players expected to execute well? Obviously they need to be able to pitch and catch competently. They need to be able to collaborate with their team mates in order to execute planned plays. They also need to be able to capitalize on unexpected opportunities that arise during the play of the game.
But what are some of the less obvious skills that can transform an “average” player into a top draft pick?
They could have a convincing ability to “miss” enough pitches to:
- Fatigue the pitcher
- Figure out the signals that the pitcher and catcher are using to communicate plays
- Create doubt in the pitcher’s and catcher’s minds regarding their pitching strategy and technique
Clearly none of these skills will help a ball player’s batting average. But they may well be the sorts of skills that lead a player to a long and lucrative athletic career. Or to a World Series winning team.
This example demonstrates the importance of selecting the trainer who delivers all of the individual elements you need to form a well rounded proficiency. For even the baseball player with the most stellar batting and catching skills won’t be in the game for very long if he fails to pitch in as a team player.