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Does Duration Matter In A Training Session?

As trainers, would you emphasize on your point of view or empathise on the participant’s perspective?

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Can you really impact a person in a 2-Days training session?

Impact, maybe yes. Change, maybe no.  

Considering the fact that prior to attending the training session, the average working adult would have at least 25 years’ worth of exposure and experiences that will influence and shape his or her behaviour towards the subject matter.  

However, do we really need longer hours in the training room? 

To impart a specific skill, yes, it is necessary.  

To sharpen the skill, mere 2-Days training will not do much. This is not just because the number of hours allocated for a formal training session, but the dedication needed to practice over and over again is not confined to just being in the training room.  

In fact, the best form of training is always applied in the real world or close to real-life situations – that is when the application of lessons learned are really tested. 

But that’s mainly the knowledge and skills domain.  

Now, let’s examine the behaviour domain. 

For a behaviour to change, we not only need repetitive practise, more importantly, but we also need to create a high level of awareness and a strong desire to take action on the message presented. This is due to the fact that behaviours have a close-knit relationship with emotions and beliefs. To spark the desire to change, the message needs to penetrate the layers of emotional resistance and infiltrate the belief system.  

Sounds sneaky like one of those heist movies doesn’t it? 

Not really. Let me share with you a simple example. 

Have you guys seen this award-winning Iranian short film? 

Tell me if you don’t feel like you should tell your spouse, partner or any of your loved ones that you care for them, right after watching the video. I bet you that the short film struck a  chord somewhere that caused you, for a moment, to at least think about a person dear to you. 

What’s amazing is that it only took a couple of minutes to convey such a strong message in the video. 

But why did it work? 

What made it work? 

The storytelling? 

A set of realistic choice characters? 

A compelling truth behind the message? 

The beauty of this example is when you realise the ones who got the message were the ones who understood the reality of the situation. While the ones that brush it off are the people who just have yet to understand the intent of the video. In short, the ones who “got it” were the ones the message was intended for. 

Art doesn’t appeal to logic. 

Art appeals to the heart. 

The heart is the gatekeeper to the behaviour domain. 

Coming back to training, it all goes back to identifying the right targeted participants,  understanding their needs, and appealing to their truth. All of which requires a substantial amount of planning prior to the execution – just like a heist. 

So now, when you plan for a training session, which one do you try to appeal to? The logics or the heart of the audience? 

As trainers, would you emphasize on your point of view or empathise on the participant’s perspective? 

For the organisation, if budgets were not an issue, would you still focus on the duration over the delivery of content? 

Sure, for the most part, it still depends on the topic. However, as shown in the example above, you may only need a moment to drive home the lesson. And that one key lesson could possibly be sufficient to spark change. 

All the best! 

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Written By

Ahmad Fauzan Othman is the Lead Trainer for HRDF Train-the-Trainer certification course and has trained various level of employees from the private and public sector. Fauzan has been actively sharing content online since 2015 and has conducted numerous webinars which have had viewers from across the globe including Poland, India and South-East Asia. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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