Making the complicated simple

A measure of good training, for that matter all good communication is:

Does the other person understand what you are trying to say?
If I come away from a training thinking:
'That trainer is a brilliant person, but I am still not sure what I should be doing.'
That is probably an unsuccessful outcome.

(A slightly cynical view of many training consultants is that they deliberately overcomplicate,
in the same way as, a couple of years ago, a government select committee on the use of 'simple English' came to the conclusion that at times the main aim of a politician is precisely not to be understood.)

Nevertheless, a successful training session should be more like watching Roger Federer playing tennis than watching a plate spinner.
It should all look very simple.
It is only when you get onto the tennis court that you realise that there is a bit more to it than you first thought!

A quote attributed to Mark Twain (amongst others) captures it well:
'I'm sorry I wrote you such a long letter. I didn't have time to write you a short one,'
the point is that creating a sense of ease and simplicity takes time and effort.
It takes creativity and intelligence to be able to boil the content of a Training programme down to its key constituent parts.
To be able to say to your students:
'In the end, it all comes down to 'this!' - and in so doing, give them the key that unlocks the rest of the process.
It may be a paradox, but we naturally feel that someone who can sum up the complex in a few words has greater mastery over their subject,
whereas someone who uses a lot of words and makes everything seem very complicated actually loses out on two counts:
firstly, the student may not completely understand what to do and
secondly, the trainer may not come across as completely in charge of their material.

It is a basic sales principle that 'people who are confused do nothing'.
Therefore, if you want your students to take positive action, it is the trainer's job to make the next steps very clear:
'This is what you will be able to do.'
'This is why you will need to do it',
(and…..most important at this stage.….)
'This is how you do it.'

You have given 'what and 'why', but as the student leaves the room, they need to understand 'how' they are going to achieve.

Therefore a true test of a successful communication is not simply:
'Do I understand?'
rather
'Do I know what to do next!?'

Once it is clear in your mind, it will become clear in your student's.
 

This article was written by Michael Ronayne, director at the College of Public Speaking and four-time UK National Public Speaking Champion.

To discover more of Michael's top training techniques, check out his professionally accredited Train the Trainer course here