Some time ago, I read an article which emphasizes what I have been teaching for years: “It’s not what you know that counts; it’s what you do with what you know that counts”. Fifty years ago, when I began to do training with a new client, I would be asked, “Why does it have to be a 2 or 3 day seminar. Why can’t you just tell my people what they need to know in a day”.
I would respond by explaining to the individual that what they wanted was for their people to do something differently next week which they did not know how to do this week. What they really wanted was a Behavioral Change in the way their people function. I would continue with “picture this; we are going to teach your people how to handle an irate customer who is threatening to quit doing business with you. Here is the formula to use. Your folks now have the intellectual knowledge and hopefully 6 weeks from now when the situation arises, your people will remember and be able to execute the procedure.” Now, my experience is that 6 weeks from now they won’t even remember the formula unless they have had an opportunity to practice it 3 or 4 times in a safe environment. Therefore, in a multi-day seminar there will be ample opportunity to role-play and have the material ingrained in their minds so that it becomes instinctive. Only then does the education become productive. Again, new knowledge becomes worthwhile to you only after you have had an opportunity to try it and be comfortable with it so that it becomes instinctive. It is not yours until you put it into practice!
If you have read my bio, you’ll remember that I taught at Northwest University for a number of years before I started my company Persuasive Communications. Frankly, I did not enjoy my years at the University. It was purely academic and theory. I did not feel it was real-world. I did not feel I was truly making a contribution to the students that would enable them to better adapt for their future. Today, I have a file full of testimonials from people who tell me that the practical application of what they learned in my seminars has positively impacted their lives.