04 Nov 2016


Instructional Designer and Training Consultant

I’m sure you’ve experienced poor design at some point in your life. You’ll find a good example of poor design in bathroom sinks across the world. After you’ve washed your hands, you reach round the taps to find the button that pushes the plug out. But?soon discover there is no button. It turns out you have to dip your hands back in the dirty water and push the plug down to make it come out again.

Whoever designed those sinks was thinking of function alone. Plug goes in, plug comes out. They weren’t thinking of design. They weren’t thinking of how people use those sinks. They were engineers, not designers.

Bad design causes a lot of frustration. It costs money. It wastes time. And if our training tools are the victim of bad design, then they won’t get used. They’ll be buried away in a draw somewhere and our learners will have nothing to support their learning.

So what does good design look like? And how do we apply good design to training tools?

There are three answers to this question:

  1. Reduce the Gap
  2. Dumb it Down
  3. Make it Loveable

Reduce the Gap

Everyday, we take knowledge out of our heads and put it out into the environment. We write shopping lists on note pads, set reminders on our phones, and stick bills on fridge doors.

We do this because our heads are actually pretty poor places for storing knowledge. Things get forgotten, we get distracted or we might even struggle to encode a memory in the first place.

Our training tools are a way of putting vital knowledge out into the environment. If our learners can refer to these tools at their exact time of need, then they don’t need to depend on their unreliable heads, they don’t require much thinking capacity, and they are more likely to turn that vital knowledge into vital actions.

The challenge though, is reducing the gap between accessing that knowledge, and using that knowledge.

For example, if our tool is a set of instructions on how to operate a piece of machinery, then where should we put it?

Should we put it in a big booklet together with instructions for all the other machinery, and then store it away in a draw? Should we put it on the company’s Wiki or Intranet? How about stick it on a notice board in the office upstairs?

None of those will reduce the gap. In fact they will all increase the gap. To reduce the gap we need to put it in a place the learner will see at the exact time they use that machinery. So to reduce the gap we should stick it actually on the machine itself, right above the control panel.

So we know we need to reduce the gap between accessing knowledge and using it, but how do we even start to reduce the gap?

Start by thinking of the context they will use the tool in. Where are they going to be? What will they be doing? What is the environment like? What will they see? Will they be in a hurry? Will they be under pressure?

If they are operating a machine, then they’ll be in the factory, standing by the control panel. It’ll probably be quite noisy. They probably won’t be in a hurry, there is probably a culture of safety in that environment so it’s important they take the time to use the machine right.

All of the above reveals?lot of useful information about how a tool can be of help to the learner.

Let’s change the example. We’ve been asked to design a course on how to prepare a presentation. So what will the learner’s context be like?

After speaking to some learners, you learn that they don’t have much time for preparing presentations. They’re pretty busy. Most likely they’ll go straight to PPT as that’s their habit. So naturally they’ll be at their computer, which is a laptop, which also means they could be anywhere at the time they prepare it.

So now we know that the tool should appear on their computer. We also know that PPT is a place they’ll go from habit. Why not work with their habits? How about build a template into PPT that they can follow to prepare their presentation according to the way you teach them?

Maybe we get called back to teach the next part of the course; how to deliver a presentation. We teach them about body language, voice control, eye contact etc. What’s the context going to be like now?

We know they’re going to be in a small meeting room. They’re going to be talking to a small audience. They’re going to be under a lot of pressure. They won’t have time to look at reference aids in their environment. And even if they did, it wouldn’t be appropriate for that situation. So what can we do here?

In this context, putting knowledge in the environment won’t help. Ideally our learners would develop good habits so that they naturally show good body language, voice control and eye contact. And whilst developing those habits is the ultimate goal, development is still a process that can be greatly aided by a tool. So we still need to give them a tool, but can’t put it in the environment. So where do we put it?

In their heads.

This is where mnemonics come in handy. Mnemonics organise overwhelming amounts of knowledge into digestible mental models. Learners can easily encode mnemonics into memory, and just as easily retrieve them at the time of need.

So when our learner stumbles in the midst of their presentation, and they need a moment, albeit a short moment, to get back on track, they can access that mnemonic in exactly that moment.

It’s even better if your mnemonic can take cues from the context to make it even easier to recall. Every time the audience drop their heads and lose interest, that could cue our learner to change their speaking speed. Every time our learner turns out of habit to face the PPT screen, that could be a cue for them to make more eye contact. And so on.

Analysing the context of application gives us a great deal of insight. It tells us what format the tool should be in. Where we should place the tool. How to present the tool. What knowledge should be in the tool. And if we turn that insight into action, we can reduce the gap between access and application.

Dumb it Down

Our learners aren’t necessarily going to be as passionate as us.

Take me. I eat, sleep and breathe communication. I am obsessed with making a message as easy to grasp as possible. But that doesn’t mean that my learners should be just as passionate about that.

For some of them, communication is just that thing that they have to do because it’s part of their job. Maybe their real obsession is semiconductors, or cloud computing, or even logistics. And that’s fine. And we should work with that.

I once saw a “tool” that was intended to help learners prepare for negotiations. It was incredibly thorough. It was so thorough it was seven whole pages long. I’m sure anyone who went to so much effort to prepare for a negotiation would feel well prepared. But there is a big problem with this.

Who has the time to work through seven?pages of best practice in the real world?

The nature of today’s real world is that it’s busy. People don’t have the luxury of time. And I know this sounds horrible, but people NEED quick fixes. If your training tool doesn’t provide a quick fix, then they won’t use it.

And the reason they won’t use it is because they will find a faster way, a shorter way, an easier way. And that way probably won’t be an effective way, it probably won’t be as effective as following the best practice that your tool recommends, but it will be the way they follow.

Your tool cannot compete with laziness. So don’t let it.

This means asking three questions:

  1. What do they really need to do?
  2. No, but what do they REALLY need to do?
  3. OK, but what do they REALLY, REALLY REEEEEAAAAAALLLLLLYYYY need to do?

Look at the actions your tool recommends performing. Determine which ones are absolutely essential, and which ones are somewhat essential. And purge until you’re left with not just absolutely essential actions, but absolutely essential actions that when combined, are easier to perform than any other way.

This is not easy. It should not be easy. It should be as hard as passing a water melon (think on that one for a while). This is part of the art of designing great training tools. It requires a commitment to focusing on what really matters.

But content is one thing. There is also presentation.

Your tool should be clear on first glance. No thinking required. Look, then act. That is what should happen.

What shouldn’t happen is the following:

  1. Look
  2. Huh?
  3. What does this mean?
  4. ..
  5. OK so I should…Huh?
  6. Oh, lunch time!

To avoid the above scenario, we need to be fussy.

Write fewer words. Write fewer sentences. Write shorter paragraphs. Or don’t write paragraphs if possible (there is no bigger turn-off than a big chunk of text).

Use everyday language. Use words they understand.

I know it makes you look really sophisticated when you use really advanced language, but no one has a clue what you’re talking about.

And I know it makes you look really cool when you create your own language (e.g. “Use the Jason Bourne technique to achieve the Strasbourg effect”), but again, no one has a clue what you’re talking about. So keep it simple.

Also, focus on what they should do. Don’t focus on what they shouldn’t do (which ironically is what this sentence is doing).

If I tell you not to play with your phone when meeting a customer, not only do you now have an image in your mind of playing with your phone when meeting a customer, but I’ve also left a great deal of uncertainty around what you should actually be doing (which by the way is making eye contact, listening and asking questions).

And if you can, make it visual. Is there a picture you can replace those words with? Is there some schematic you can use to organise the information? And can you do it with SmartArt in PowerPoint? You might not be a graphic designer, but don’t panic, there are lots of tools at your disposal, and they’re easy to use, and they make you look cool (browse any App Store to find them).

Assume your learner is a dummy. They won’t feel patronised, in fact they’ll feel smart because you made things easier to understand. And they’ll appreciate all that effort you put into the design.

Make it Loveable

I bet that somewhere in your home, you have proudly on display something that you adore. It might be a family photograph, your grandad’s war medals, maybe even your latest gadget. Whatever it is, you absolutely adore it. You might even say you love it.

What is it that makes us fall in love with things? And is it possible to make a training tool that learners fall in love with?

A great place to seek an answer is Donald Norman’s book ‘Emotional Design’.

In his book, he talks about how we process design on three different levels which actually correspond with different parts of our brain; Visceral, Behavioural and Reflective.

And if we design training tools with all three levels in mind, our learners are more likely to fall in love with them. So how can we appeal to these three levels?

Starting with the visceral level, here we want to appeal on a sensory level.

We have ingrained into us millions of years worth of evolved instincts. Many of these we share with other species.

Some things we instinctively know are good or bad for us. Many of us are afraid of heights, spiders and the dark. Likewise, many of us like sweet things, bright colours and hugs. And that makes sense. Because at some point in the process of evolution, these things have determined our survival.

But it’s not just instincts that react at a visceral level. We’ve also developed our own set of positive and negative associations through our life experience. And the two of these combined will create either a positive or negative reaction to just the sheer sight of something.

The key to appealing to the visceral level is to look at the tool and ask “What does this remind me of?”.

Some things you don’t want your tool to remind your learners of include:

  • Another annoying administrative task HR now requires them to do.
  • That form they had to fill in when they got put on a Performance Improvement Plan in their last job shortly before they got fired.
  • The boring homework their old chemistry teacher used to set.

Think of key words you’d like to come to mind when first looking at the tool. Words such as:

  • Professional
  • Easy
  • User-Friendly
  • Efficient
  • Fast

To achieve that result you have lots of simple elements that you can adjust like:

  • Font
  • Size
  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Language

And to make your life even easier, find some inspiration. Find something on the internet that gives you the feeling you are looking for. Look at what it is that gives you that feeling and apply it to your own tool design.

For the second level, the behavioural level, we need to think beyond just initial impressions.

The behavioural level of our brain is about learned behaviours, or unconscious behaviours, which are driven by expectation. And our goal here is to set the right expectations.

You see the chocolate cake on the plate in front of you, and you have a desire to eat it. The desire then summons your unconscious behaviour of picking up the plate with one hand, a fork with another, and then coordinating both to eat it. You are not quite sure how you managed to coordinate all of those movements, you just willed them to happen and they did.

OK, so what has this all got to do with training tools?

The key here is to set the right expectations to drive them to use this tool. We need to ask “What is going to happen as a result of using this tool?”.

If they follow the instructions on your tool, then will they be able to perform the skill exactly as they hoped? Will they get the results they were expecting? Will they even get a reward for having done so?

Or does your tool oversell itself? Upon using it will they actually feel disappointed? Will they not get to experience that buzz of a job well done?

You may have heard of the concept of Flow. That state that your eleven?year old nephew enters when he plays video games and can no longer hear his mum calling him for dinner. Or how you feel when you read a Harry Potter book. Or what strangely happens to your elderly neighbour when they water their plants.

There are three conditions that must be present for someone to enter a Flow state:

  1. A challenging (yet achievable) goal
  2. Confidence in achieving that goal
  3. Feedback on progress towards that goal

Break one of those conditions and there is no buzz of a job well done. So how can we design our tools to fit these conditions?

There are lots of things we can do, but for the sake of simplicity here are a few ideas:

  • Focus the tool on behaviours or goals that are within their grasp
  • Make the tool relevant to their personal goals (not just the goals their boss has set them)
  • Make the tool easy to access, understand and use
  • Tempt them with an outcome to look forward to on successfully using the tool (think?Gamification; “Yay! I got Level 14!”)
  • Provide ways of measuring their progress (think Gamification again; “Yay! I got the Super Database Geek Trophy!”)

And at the final level, the reflective level, we are concerned with what the tool means to them.

It is this level that separates us from other animals. This level is concerned with conscious thought. It’s what we use to reflect on our experiences. It’s what allows us to assign meaning to things.

What do you think would mean more to you out of the following examples:

  • A house you inherited, or a house you bought with your hard earned money?
  • War medals you picked up at an antique shop, or war medals awarded to your grandad in the war?
  • Learning Kung Fu from your local club, or from a world famous master?

Most likely you choose the latter in each example. Because those mean things to you.

There is literally so much we can do at this level, and far too much to talk about here, so again I’ll keep it simple. Here are some examples of how we can make our training tools appeal to the reflective level:

  • Award it as a symbol of achievement
  • Make it exclusive; only share it with certain learners
  • Get a respected figure to personally hand over these tools in a ceremony
  • Award status symbols to people who use the tool (think Gamification, again!)
  • Get them to personalise the tool to make it their own

The Visceral, Behavioural and Reflective levels offer a lot of ideas on how to make training tools more appealing. And when you realise the possibilities, it can be easy to get carried away. But don’t. Keep it simple, stay within your capabilities and focus on what works.

And thank you for reading through to here. I know that was a long read, but I sincerely hope you at least got some new ideas.


30 Oct 2016

corporate trainers shanghai

As many sales people will agree, one of the most common objections that customers raise is with price.
This is a hurdle that has to be overcome for a business transaction and co-operation to take place. It can be a time consuming and stressful negotiation if it carried out incorrectly.

corporate trainers shanghai






A price negotiation is actually a very great thing, as it shows progress in the potential business cooperation and is a perfect time to build rapport with your customer.

At the time of reaching the price negotiation stage the seller has clearly found the required solution for the customer and the customer is also in agreement that they are in need of that given solution.
(I am making assumptions here that by this stage all offerings made by the salesperson are targeted and in accordance with the buyers complete requirements. If not then the salesperson needs to revisit the customers requirements to ensure that they are before entering into any price negotiation. The offering must be perfect and the vendor must always be able to deliver to the customers complete expectations.)

It is normal and expected for customers to shop around to find the best deal. However finding that best deal is not bound to price.
We have all bought things in the past, we all know that to obtain the best products and services costs money. Most essential is that vendors are certain that their customers are confident in the money being well spent and offering the best return for them both during the sale and more importantly after the sale. The offering must be fair, clear and never misleading.

You get what you pay for:
Much in the same way as to live in a desirable area, or to wear brand design clothes there is always an accepted and understood premium cost to doing so. The same applies to all provided products and services.
A customers goal may be to pull the price down as much as possible to test the limits of price flexibility. Customers want the best deal, we all do. The vendor though has to be careful not to sell themselves short leaving them unable to provide the efficient service that they plan to. Anything other might achieve the sale initially, however will undoubtedly end in stress for both the buyer and the seller. Be fair and clear and concise when it comes to costing. Often companies have this rigidly set which is by far the best way.

At the negotiation stage the salespersons aim should be to display from all angles that the quotation that they are offering is justifiable, worthwhile, fair and will offer maximum benefit to the customer.

Everyone has been sold to in the past. Even the best, most reliable and trustworthy salespeople are often initially tied to the same “salesperson” brush and barrier.

Every industry employs salespeople and some approach the sale in an incorrect manner using shoddy and occasionally forceful sales techniques which are in no way beneficial to the customer. The best sales people know how to and are often easily able to rise above this.

A “bad” sale generally occurs when inexperienced sales people jump into the sale and attempt to sell customers products and services that are of no use to them, ones that are then then later refuted. The sales process itself may have even been carried out in a forceful manner, using persuasive techniques, which some customers accept at the time of sale but then ultimately regret.

This is not what sales is about. Sales people should never pressure buyers and buyers should never feel under pressure to buy.

Consulting Not Selling:
An effective sale is only complete when a customers complete requirements are met with the ideal solution. The most important job of a sales person is to be as transparent, realistic, knowledgeable and honest at all times to ensure ongoing customer satisfaction and growth for their company in promoting their products and services.

We live in a climate of global competition and indeed the internet, whereby we are able to search for any information we are uncertain of. However having ability to discover information is not the same as having real knowledge and understanding, therefore many customers may not necessarily be well versed when it comes to understanding the up to date value and benefits of offered products and services.

Before talking about price, withing the sales cycle, it is essential for sales people to become trusted advisers and go beyond just attempting to sell, working toward guiding customers to a deeper understanding of the optimum solution for their needs.

Pricing Negotiation:

If a customer is not happy with the price it is usually for a few simple reasons:

  • the price is wrong or genuinely overpriced
  • a competitor company has given a cheaper quotation
  • a friend of theirs told them it should be cheaper
  • there is a limiting budget
  • the customer puts up a barrier to being sold to

If any of these situations occur then the customer is not completely confident with the offering that the salesperson is portraying to them.

The first is self explanatory. This is a company and procedural issue.

If the second and third instances, then the details of the offering need to be made clearer and compared. Of course, never belittle the competition or dispute what their friends may have received. Questioning is required here, you may even learn from the experience. Service offering comparison is fair also. Especially if other vendors are directly mentioned by the customer. Ask more requirement revealing questions.

If the issue is regarding budget, then this should have already have been addressed by the salesperson at the early instances of the process. If it hasn’t been already addressed by this time, then this is the time to do so, negotiate and agree on the most important elements to begin working together. Definitely also work to establish a timeline to increase the offering in the future when all goes well.

If it a barrier to the customer being sold to in general, then this needs to be realised. Many people including sales people themselves do not wish to be sold to. They want to be consulted to reach a desired goal. In this situation the customer is looking to become more confident in the sales person themselves as a consultant and not just as a salesperson on commission.


You have determined aim to purchase an item of clothing, perhaps not today, although today is not out of the questions. You are in a relaxed happy browsing mood, perhaps even ready to buy when you find what you are looking for. The need for the buy is already realised and imminent. You know what you need and want.

Then you walk into an interesting shop which has some interesting things similar to what you are looking for.

Then as soon as you step in, the sales person comes running over to you. Desperately try to force upon you anything and everything you glance at whilst also invading personal space.

This sales person then continues to stand awkwardly by you thrusting items of no interest by which point you have lost all interest in both the browse, the shop and the “sales consultant”. At this stage, you may choose to leave the shop completely, the rapport with the sales person has been damaged, you may even never return to that shop again.

Had the sales person approached the situation differently they may have actually been of beneficial aid to you and acted as more of a helpful guide in finding your required purchase. Now you have to go to find another vendor. A time wasting venture througout when that shop “may” have had what you were looking for. You will never know, the sales pusher ruined the experience.

If a customer displays a barrier to being sold to then this needs to be noticed immediately and the procedure needs to become one of consulting, not selling.

To attain great company sales, company bosses need to train their staff to quickly establish and understand the needs of their customers. This includes their buying traits and buying signals.

We cover this in our training modules.

Price Negotiation:
Often, especially in China many potential buyers will conclude and agree that the first figure quoted is often completely arbitrary, a useless figure, certainly not to be taken seriously and with scope for reduction. Strangely it seems that especially in China and with higher priced service offerings, no initial quotation given is ever final. Even comically unrealistic. There is always movement.

The belief here seems to be that the significant reduction in price will then lead to the contract being signed. This approach is confusing for sales people as well as customers. It is often used in China and is by all means and amateur close for a sale. It is also not good sales practice. A pricing structure should be set and adhered to.

Getting The Best Deal:

It is completely natural to always expect the best deal. Until we have used a service or product at least once, seen or been referred to it previously following it’s in action testing, we could never be truly sure about the value. We can only trust in the salesperson. Therefore, similarly when we are in the selling seat we need to provide that trust to our potential customers to make the whole experience far smoother and enjoyable for all concerned.

The best way forward is always to establish the pricing structure, establish the requirements. Once both are realised then provide the best price and offering, do not negotiate. Unless of course there are other influencing factors such as immediate multiple purchases. Even loyal and long standing valued customers will understand and not expect price reductions if they are certain to receive a continually great offering at their already agreed constant fair price.

Customer Satisfaction At Every Stage:
When we buy we want to have constant affirmation that the best purchase has been made. It has to add value to our lives in some shape or form. Therefore, as sales people it is paramount to ensures this experience happens for customers. The offering has to be what the customer expects at every stage, before, during and after the sale. No lies, no exaggeration, no misunderstanding. It is the sales persons job as well as the contract content to ensure that there is no misunderstanding at any stage.

To achieve complete customer satisfaction, customers must receive what they have paid for and if possible a little more also. This will then lead to gracious referrals.

Any failings on the salespersons part should result in sincere apologies and rectifying measures.

I have put together a list of common price objections below as well as some suggested responses for each:

It’s Not in My Budget
Naturally, many customers are restricted by a budget, and if so they will usually inform of their price ranges when prompted or if a suggested scope of price range is dropped into the conversation.

(Usually a reaction as hypothetical pricing brackets are mentioned will enable gauging of limits and ideal package construction. Be careful though not to assume or misread, as this could lead in the conversation going off on a tangent wasting everyones time.)

Some customers may use the “budget excuse” to insist on receiving a lower price. We’ve all done it. Therefore my suggestion to sales personnel here is to consult rather than sell. With pricing structures in place guide customers within those options and limits. If too high then work backwards, establishing full and most essential detailed needs. With a concrete idea of budget approximation you can then better establish a contract.

Throughout the sales process it is best for all concerned to work towards a viable close.

Question for customer: “So if the price falls within your budget range and covers your complete requirements, will you be comfortable moving forward?”

There are many varying scenarios for this stage which we cover in detail in our training.

Just another quick one though for sales staff specifically…

If the customer does suggest a number before you have had opportunity to suggest your pricing brackets and options, you can ask how they arrived at that figure. Many sales people don’t do this, some sales actually become defensive at this point and lose the sale. This is actually where sales staff should be asking a lot of questions. Thereby placing themselves in a position to explain the true value of their proposed solution and offering in all it’s glory and why it is so much superior to the alternatives. This way it opens doors to opportunities, instead of as many see it, becoming a price negotiation slide. If the proposed ideal solution is presented well and displays maximum benefit to the customer at this stage there should be no more negotiation required. Always ensure that quotations are exact and fair to ensure success.

Shock and Awe
This is a brilliant customer buying tactic. A sure way to price negotiate played by many customers including myself on many occasion. The wide-eyed look of shock and amazement on the face of a potential buyer when the sales person presents the price, as if the price quoted has caused physical harm. It stops many including the best sales men and ladies well in their tracks. It is a lot of fun to use and very effective.

Sometimes the shock can be genuine, often though it’s a great bit of essential acting and a fun part of the process. A rapport builder.

Whichever it is, sales people, don’t cave in. It may be genuine or an academy award winning masterpiece, either way, just maintain the approach and if possible mirror and match the reaction equally surprised. It will work wonders and can even lead to friendships being built. It’s times like these that make it a joy to be in sales.

As a customer, if you are in awe, ask more.

As a salesperson, calmly and collectively ask why the customer feels so strongly that the price is too high. This is an ideal opportunity to connect benefits and features with needs that should have already been uncovered and now require clarification and confirmation.

Always Remember:

Price is only one of the factors that makes a sale. Sales people are not price quoting and reduction negotiators. They are consultants, solution finders and representatives for their company, continually looking to provide the best service at the best price for ongoing valued custom.

A sales persons primary and sole objective should be to offer solutions to aid their customers, thereby growing their personal and career growth.

A salespersons focus would always be on delivering quality to their customers. They are at the front of the front line. Successful sales people automatically become ongoing trusted advisers, always striving towards ensuring everyone walks away happy and then customers come back for more when they need more.

As a salesperson, when you do begin to see your returning customers, returning to you of their own free will and for your unrivaled expertise, empathy and consultation, you will find yourself becoming evermore successful and happy in your job as a salesperson.

Everything good only happens when it is prepared well. Preparation takes time and focus. So get preparing! Our training can help you with this too!

I hope this has helped. Please feel free to post any questions or comments.

All the best


08 Oct 2016

sales client referrals

Often when selling we avoid asking for referrals because it may feel awkward. Sometimes we just don’t know how to ask. It is widely known that referrals provide the greatest sales leads as they are usually invited by an already happy customer, therefore it is worth overcoming your your phobia of this to start encouraging satisfied customers for accelerated sales growth.

sales client referrals






Here are some tips to get you started:

When to Ask:
Obviously, you should never ask for a referral before you have completed your service well for your customer. Look for “ideal opportunities” when you can sense your customer is most pleased with the service they have received, for example immediately after a customer has thanked you for your work. At this moment, your enquiry about their satisfaction is both natural and appropriate. The other prime opportunity is anytime a customer pays you a compliment. When the referral wording has already been delivered, you just need to ask him or her to share that insight for the benefit of others who may also benefit from your services.

How to Ask:
All sales people will need to be doing this regularly with all their customers. To progress this further you could recruit leaders in your own team and company structure to reach out and to customers to ensure they are always happy and feel they are being dealt with appropriately. This professionalism can then lead on to you requesting that your customers provide recommendations on online platforms for instance LinkedIn. This should be made an integral part of your normal post-delivery sales cycle and integrate it into your overall sales strategy.

When you request the recommendation try your best to make it a “matter-of-fact” manner. There is no need to feel awkward or embarrassed. Most customers will understand that you want your business to grow and will often be happy to help. If you are asking at the ideal time it will make the request feel more like a natural consequence and part of the overall process.

Who to Ask:
Build a short list of your most satisfied and longest standing customers in your pipeline and start there. Launching your referral acquisition effort with customers who are loyal to you, your company and your product will make the effort much easier, and will build your confidence to move outward and request the same from other customers.

Within the customer organization, it is usually best practice and appropriate to ask directly the individual with whom you worked most closely throughout the implementation of your product or service. However, should there also be someone within the company who you also have good rapport with who is a higher level or even from another department you can also grasp the moment to ask him or her to share their opinion.

Remember that while outstanding products, services or customer service build strong ground for receiving referrals, they are by no means a guarantee you will receive them. The only certain way to get your customers to actively refer future business to you is to ask them to!

13 Apr 2016

sales training

Last night, whilst relaxing with the wife and dog, the movie “The Martian,” starring Matt Damon came on tv. Damon’s character “Watney” is an astronaut trained who is abandoned on Mars. Watney has to survive on Mars and obviously food is limited, therefore he must stretch his food rations as best he can until help arrives. All he has are his wits and a few resources including his mental toolbox. Unable to communicate with NASA, he manages to find ways to keep alive until the next manned Mars mission arrives. Now I know I will never be alone on Mars, I hope I’m never on Mars at all as they surely have no good coffee there. However the film did get me thinking and it reminded me of what a trainee once said. He was new to the role and also felt that he was on a strange planet. It’s called planet “Sales”. And if you’re going to survive in Sales, and subsequently thrive, you need to use all of your mental toolbox resources to move forward. Unlike Mark Watney though, you shouldn’t feel alone, especially as you are reading this post on our website. We can help.

sales training

Never Give Up!

Even when up against impossible odds, Damon’s character never crumbled, he always kept positive looking for solutions to every problem that arose. Similarly in sales, we frequently also must contend with challenges that could potentially demoralise us, objections and other obstacles that blast our deals into outer space thereby negatively impacting our emotional state and therefore our ability to push forward with new sales. I’m fairly certain that if Matt Damon’s character was in sales, he’d keep chin up and look for the root cause and resolve to issues as they arise. Thankfully, if you are in sales and sometimes finding it hard, what you’re facing is probably not an alien presence, but instead something that could be managed by changing your own behavior. Whatever the problem is, we can work with you to find the solution together.

Small Steps make the Process
In “The Martian,” the main character improves his destiny and stays alive by taking small steps to a better future. Process is fundamental in sales also. To be successful we must trust the process that works best. Never skip steps! If the process needs changing then change it however once it is again in place we should stick to it rigidly. Just like a spaceman wouldn’t forget to put on his space helmet before exiting the craft. Similarly, we need to ensure that we don’t miss essential process pivotal points. For example, if you try to rush the presentation phase and skip to the close because you believe that your customer is already semi ready to move forward. We must adhere to the working process without fail.

Tales of the Unexpected
Bad things happen sometimes. Usually when they do it’s not just one thing either. They usually come in waves to challenge us. The same happens in sales. The same also happened to Matt on Mars. It was an unfortunate series of events that marooned his character in space, despite his skills as an astronaut. It was out of his control. Sometimes there is nothing we can do apart from begin immediate troubleshooting. A good salesperson often finds themselves in uncontrollable circumstances. Budget shortfalls, economic downturns, maybe even lack of customers due to bad weather. Any number of factors can result in lost revenue and decreased sales. Suck it in, accept the losses and move on to grasses greener and bigger opportunities.

We Already have the Essential Tools
Whilst on Mars, Damon used his skills, knowledge and resourcefulness, single handed he A-Teamed together the NASA equipment and any other spare parts from previous space missions to build the shelter and food supply framework he needed. Even on earth, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the notion that we need the very latest cyberspace technology to get the job done well. Yes, technology does help us to connect with customers in ways that we would never have dreamed possible 10 years ago. However in the world of B2B and B2C sales, even the latest gadgets are no replacement for those crucial human contact moments. The best sales happen when both the buyer and seller connect with eachother. This is hard to achieve using an email, wechat or skype. Always remember that people buy from people and they always will. Keep it simple. Gadgets often over-complicate the sale. It is best to focus on the basic elements required first and look to the gadgets as nothing more than an aid.

Failure brings Success
Whether in space or on Mars, the best way to move forward is to learn from failures. There is no better lesson learned than one that has come from a past failure. Nobody is perfect. We all mess things up sometimes. It’s what we do following it that really makes the difference. Be like the Damon character in “Martian”. Accept that there is no perfect way to get ahead. Try try and try again. Learning and improving each time. Build those connections, plan for those great deals, nurture your long-term loyal clients. Once you have figured out the optimum steps and processes to suit your business you can replicate them when you make initial contact with new clients.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s definitely worth a look. Unlike Damon though, try and keep your feet on the ground. Good luck!

13 Apr 2016

sales calls training

Extensive research has shown that sales people never truly reach their ultimate performance potential without the use of a well defined sales call procedure. They need this in place to follow and build upon. Having the chat and “Winging it” works for some sales people some of the time. Often though it can have grim consequences, resulting in lost sales, extended sales cycles and profit margin erosion. If you continue to “wing it” then your whole sales career will be along the same lines, you will be holding onto your career by a thread.

sales training shanghai

Performance can be significantly improved by as much as 50% when salespeople follow a consistent pattern and plan for their sales.

Often salespeople repeatedly make the same mistakes over and over without realizing it. They make these mistakes as they believe that they are adaptable to the needs of the sale and change quickly. In actual fact though they are repeating the same bad processes along with some changes that they gradually realise. As they are changing so many factors they are then unsure which areas lost them the sale.
Without a logical plan to follow it is hard to recognise specific problems, let alone rectify them. The optimum sales process mirrors patterns that the customers follow when make buying decisions. Ultimahub have modeled this process into nine specific acts. The “9 Essential Sales Call Rules” which effectively splits up the sales call into its most important elements, we have placed them in order of importance following the sequence of the top five buying decisions that many customers commonly make. Once we analyze each segment of a call and compare it to the buyers buying decisions we gradually see a picture emerging whereby the salespeople can quickly establish the issues within their sales process and adjust their behavior accordingly.

Without a system like this in place, the only option salespeople have is to look at whether they achieved or lost the sale. Without being fully aware of where we go wrong in the sale we are unable to correct and improve our performance.

Out In The Field

We implemented our structure with a leading architectural services company who were facing a common issue. They were finding it difficult to sell one of their intangible services as it was seen less of a necessity and as more of a luxury. Due to this their company was losing growth along with incoming clients and new business.

The HR department of their company instructed Ultimahub to deliver a 2-day onsite sales training workshop for their staff members. They wanted us to teach them our process and integrate it into their current process. We carried out the training followed by a few weekly afternoons of workshops.

Three months later we requested feedback. We were delighted with the results. Within just three months the CEO and General managers reported to us that they had seen a 20% growth in business. The HR and sales managers also commented on the huge benefits of the training with regard to the professionalism and confidence within the sales teams. These were all as a direct result of our 9 Step Sales Action program. Due to our continual reporting on each individual team member also, the sales manager now has a clear picture and understanding of each of the members strengths and weaknesses. This too has increased their focused approach and effectiveness.

04 Aug 2015

You’ve just sat down to watch your finance manager Carol deliver her annual report. She cracks a joke about how there are some worried faces in the audience. You laugh and think that was funny. She shows a slide with her agenda for the day. Your mind takes in the slide whilst you can just about make out sounds coming from her mouth. She moves to the next slide and it’s a table with lots of numbers. You start to think about what you’re going to have for lunch. Just as you are picturing the shopping mall beneath your office and the restaurants you haven’t tried yet, your colleague nudges you to get your attention. You refocus on Carol and she’s now talking about…You’re not quite sure what she’s talking about. You go back to thinking about lunch. Suddenly your attention is caught by Carol as she says the words “Actually, I’ll tell you a funny story about why these numbers are so high…”. You listen to that story with interest. Then she goes back to the numbers and you start looking at your watch.

In fact, that person in the audience may not have been you, but it was definitely me. Some people are quite good at listening, but I am not. I am atrocious. I cannot force myself to listen to something boring. At University that was a big weakness of mine, but as a trainer it’s actually a strength. When I train, I always imagine everyone in the audience is just like me. They can’t force themselves to pay attention to something boring. This has forced me to fine tune everything I say to make sure it’s interesting. And over time I have developed a strong sense of what I call The Brain Filter.

It’s actually very simple. There are many different types of information and presentation methods. Some things go directly into our heads. Whereas other things go directly over our heads, or smack us in the face and then bounce back. Let me give you an example…

Did you know the iPhone 6 has an improved polariser? No, I bet you didn’t. In fact, I bet you don’t have a clue what a polariser is or what it’s used for. No, neither did I. However, if you look at the iPhone 6 page on Apple’s website, you’ll learn very quickly what it is.

It’s obviously something that has something to do with the sun and helps give you a clearer view when wearing your sunglasses. OK, maybe that doesn’t seem very clear, but it’s enough. As an average user you don’t need to know anymore than this. And as an average user, this gives you a clear picture of what it’s for. And this is exactly my first point. Let me explain this a bit.

Think about where you are right now. How do you know what’s around you? Right now, I know I’m sitting on a leather seat because it feels…Well…It feels like a leather seat. I know I’m drinking a Frappuccino because I can taste it. I know I’m in a cafe because I can see people around me, sitting down drinking coffee. I can hear music and people chatting, and I can smell the coffee. Thanks to my 5 senses I know exactly where I am. My 5 senses have processed all of this information to give me a clear understanding of my environment. And this is pretty much how we take in most of the information we’ll ever encounter, through our 5 senses.

So what Apple has done in that polariser example is translate it into sensory language. Apple has described things using the 5 senses so that we can easily picture it. And when we can picture something, we can understand it.

Let’s imagine you are trying to rent out your spare room. It’s 25 square meters. Great…Well, no, not great. What does 25 square meters mean? Try translating it into sensory language. It’s got a double bed, a desk, a wardrobe and enough floor space to do yoga! Perfect.

Sensory language will almost always be granted entry into the mind. Although it very much depends on that person’s understanding of the language you use. At the beginning of some of my communication skills trainings, I like to ask this question: What picture comes to your mind when I say “Red Flag?”. Some people think of the red flag on a beach at high tide. Others think of the red flag in their email inbox. Some people think of the Vietnamese flag. Some people think of danger. And I think of the Chinese flag.

Everyone understands words differently. For example, think of what comes to mind when I say the word “Dog”. When I think of “Dog”, I think of the Alsatian that lived up the top of my lane when I was a young child. I remember learning this word when I walked past it with my mother. She would point at it and say “Look at the dog!”. Over time I came to associate that animal and the sounds it made with the word “Dog”. Later on, I came to associate other animals with the word “Dog”, but that Alsatian always had the strongest association. Probably because it was through that Alsatian that I learnt the meaning of this word. When you think of “Dog” you might think of a labrador, or a poodle, or maybe even a wolf. It all depends on your experiences.

If your audience share a similar background or experience, then they are likely to interpret words similarly. If I say “Red Flag” to a Chinese audience, most of them will think of the Chinese Flag. If I say “Difficult Customer” to people who work in the same company, most of them will probably have the same customer in mind. If I say “Sport” to British people, most of them will think of football. And if I say “Football” to Americans, most of them will think of a sport that ironically does not involve the use of a foot!

Which brings me to my next point. Use analogies. Analogies are powerful learning tools. They use things the trainee knows very well, to describe something they don’t know at all. Imagine you are sitting on the sofa and your foot goes numb. You shuffle around, and your 3 year old daughter looks at you funny. You say to her “My foot’s gone numb!”. She says “What does numb mean?”. You use an analogy to explain it to her. “It’s when your foot goes to sleep and feels like there are lots of stars shooting at it”.

Analogies are things the audience can relate to. They already have the neural pathways formed to comprehend the analogy. The more of those existing neural pathways your message can connect to, the more you will be relating to the audience.

On the subject of relating to your audience, you also need to think about how you use your language. I deal with a lot mixed audiences, with varying levels of English. Obviously I am not going to talk to them like I do with my old friends from England. I need to downgrade my language a lot. The first thing I do is use short sentences. In fact, whilst I write this I am trying to keep each sentence to a word limit of around 20 words. When I exceed 20 words, there is a greater chance of including too much information for you to process. And so in training and presentations I keep my sentences short. I speak slow (but not so slow that they get annoyed). And I pause. I manage the amount of information I feed them so that they can easily digest it.

The second thing I do is tailor down the level of vocabulary I use. I could use lots of big adult words like Russell Brand does. But that would also confuse the audience. Why use words they are not likely to understand? Instead of “Major catastrophe” it may be more effective to say “Very big problem”. To be honest, this is not a problem I have as my English level has progressively declined. I blame living abroad for too long…

Anyway. I was talking about analogies. Analogies, combined with sensory information will guarantee your message makes an impact. But there are a few more things we can use as well. For example.

Last night, I let my pet parrot drink a sip of Red Bull…

Oh boy, I left you on a cliff hanger there! I bet you are dying to know what happened next? Did the parrot go crazy? Did it fly around the room in circles for 4 hours straight? Did it start repeating every single sound it heard? Did it suddenly become fully conversational in Swahili? Actually, I would never do that to my beloved Snuggles. But come to think of it, I wonder what would happen if I did do that?

I’m pretty sure you are thinking exactly the same thing as well. What would happen if you fed a parrot Red Bull? Now there are several reasons you are likely to think that. Firstly, that’s a lot of sensory data there. Pictures of Red Bull and parrots. You’ve also got vivid memories of parrots talking, flying, singing and doing crazy stuff, as well as your experience of drinking Red Bull. So it’s very easy for you to relate to. But you are also feeling very curious. What on Earth does happen when a parrot drinks Red Bull?

I’ve given you half of a picture, and the other half is a mystery. This mystery gives you a sense of curiosity. For some of you, the curiosity of wanting to know what happens when a parrot drinks red bull will drive you crazy. For most of you it will give you just a little itch that’s a bit hard to ignore. But this itch is enough to grab your attention and keep it. And it was this itch that drove the cavemen a bit crazy all those years ago…

What is that strange looking mushroom? I wonder if I can eat it? Hmm…

From the beginning of time humans have learnt to do experiments to satisfy curiosity. For some humans eating that mushroom caused an upset stomach. But for other humans, it raised their awareness of an alternative food source when the numbers of wooly mammoths were in decline. Christopher Columbus was driven by curiosity when he crossed the Atlantic Ocean. And Neil Armstrong was driven by curiosity when he travelled to the moon. To be fair I was also driven by curiosity when I was 4 years old and stapled my thumb. So curiosity is not always a good thing. But it is a trait that helps us discover and expand our potential as a species. Hence why we have it.

There are many ways of creating curiosity in our audience. One of the best is to tell them stories. There’s just something magical about stories. I notice that as soon as I say “So let me tell you a story”, heads shoot up. Stories generate a lot of curiosity. From start to end there is tension that gradually leads to resolution. Shelly sat down in her office. Suddenly the ground started shaking! She ran out of the office to find safety! Only to discover the shaking was from the construction work next door.

When combined with sensory data, a story upgrades your message from a simple sensory example, to a full out experience. Your audience are not just picturing your story, they are living it in their minds.?

There’s something else about stories as well. They tend to follow the same structure.?It generally goes around the theme of Problem > Solution > Outcome, although obviously there are countless variations. But because these structures are so familiar, stories are actually easy to remember. All you need to do is remember the context, then the existing structures in your mind will recall the rest.

Now going back to curiosity. What else do you think creates that itch?

Questions. Questions are extremely powerful. In fact, I would go so far as to call them mind control tools. Because that is what they do. When I asked you “What else do you think creates that itch?”, your mind probably started thinking about possible answers to that question. The simple use of a question sets your mind off on a journey of discovery. Sometimes it even does so without your permission!

Questions are especially powerful as learning tools, simply because they make your audience think. And the more your audience are thinking, the more likely they are to be learning. The best use of them is for creating new connections that didn’t exist before. Let me give you an example.

What must your audience do when you ask them questions? They must answer. To answer, what must they first do? They must think. How long does it take them to think? Anytime, probably up to 10 seconds. And during that time, what will you hear? Nothing, there will only be silence!

This is a string of questions I use in my training to help people deal with silence. Most inexperienced trainers and presenters’ natural reaction is to kill the silence by answering their question themselves, because they hate silence. But this string of questions helps them connect the fact that silence means the audience is thinking. Previously they hadn’t thought of silence as a good thing, only a bad thing. So this new connection helps them feel more comfortable with asking questions.

Another value of questions is that it puts the audience on the spot. They stop relaxing because they feel something is expected of them. That added pressure is enough for them to refocus their attention. Not only is it a form of information that goes straight into their minds, it’s also a tool for opening and activating their minds.

So to go back to the central idea of this post; our brain has a filter. Whenever you stand up and present, present only what will be granted entry into their minds. Completely remove anything that will not make its way in there. Only this way can you be delivering 100% value in everything you say. So let me just summarise with a list of the types of information I recommend you use:

  • Vivid (sensory) descriptions
  • Analogies
  • Simple language
  • Stories
  • Questions

01 Jun 2015

Does this sound familiar? Slide 1, a quote by some famous person. Slide 2, some persuasive statistics. Slide 3, a long list of tips. Slide 4, instructions for an activity. Slide 5, some debrief questions. Slide 6, another long list of tips. Slide 7, another long list of tips. Slide 8, another long list of tips.?And one final list of tips on Slide 9.

What I am describing here is a lack of organisation. With so many tips to condense into one topic, the best thing to do is to just write lists. It’s the trawler approach of casting the net wide and seeing what gets caught. It is assumed that trainees will be able to comprehend the mass of information presented to them. It is also assumed that giving them everything they could possibly need is helpful. But I strongly disagree with this approach.

In my opinion, anything presented to trainees should be as organised as possible. Now I do agree that every trainee is going to come away with something different. But I don’t think this means we shouldn’t make an effort to at least give them similar takeaways. Presenting a list of 20 tips will result in every trainee remembering a few different tips each. But presenting 3 key takeaways is far more likely to result in every trainee remembering exactly the same thing.

This does not mean that we need to cut down on the tips. It simply means we need to chunk them. Read through your list of tips, and group them into similar categories. Think about when each tip should be used, how they should be used, why they should be used and so on. This will help you identify any similarities between the tips you have. With similarities identified, now you can group them.

Similarities can be grouped into acronyms, processes or even simple categories. And these are what I call Triggers. Before I explain, first take a look at the video below:




This video introduces a process for CPR. The trigger in this mini training is “AB-CABS”. All you need to do after watching this video is remember “AB-CABS” and the list of tips presented should come back to you. As you bring “AB-CABS” to mind, you will recall A stands for Airways. This will remind you to first check the person’s airways. Are they open? Is anything blocking them? B will then help you recall Breathing. Are they breathing normally? And so on. By recalling 1 word, you have actually been able to recall a long list of tips. And all of this without any strain on your short-term memory.

Let me talk about memory for a minute here. Our memory is a bit like a special automated closet. In this closet we have our short-term memory shelf. Every time we make a decision, we will store on this shelf any information that can help us make this decision. What shall I wear today? Well, let me check the temperature first. Oh and where am I going? And is it going to rain today? Oh and am I going for a meeting with a client or just sitting in the office all day?

But there are limitations to this shelf. It can only store a certain amount of information at once. The general consensus is that most people can store a maximum of 7 items. Once the limit of 7 is reached, a special robot that I will call the Gatekeeper, is called to analyse the shelf for any irrelevant information. The Gatekeeper comes along and says “Hmm…Temperature. Yep, don’t need that anymore”. Then once a new item wants to appear on the shelf, the temperature item is wiped away by the Gatekeeper to make space for this new item.

Perhaps you can see why a list of tips is not a very effective way of presenting information. Anything over 7 means less relevant items get removed by this Gatekeeper. For every trainee, their own Gatekeeper is making judgements about each tip on the list. Is this relevant to me? Perhaps I’m already good at this one so don’t need to remember it. Oh, I rarely encounter that situation, so I’ll just forget that tip. Yeah, that tip will definitely help with my current situation.

These tips are evaluated based on their relevance to the trainee. Each trainee’s Gatekeeper can only make judgements based on what’s important at that moment. For example, you are giving a training on presentation skills. You have just presented a long list of 20 tips on how to improve body language when giving a presentation. One of the tips was “stand still and don’t sway”. Another tip was “Always make eye-contact with the audience”. One trainee, Bob, is sitting in your training. He thinks to himself “Hmm…Well I always give my presentations sitting down, so that tip about standing still and not swaying isn’t relevant to me”. His Gatekeeper then wipes that tip clean to make way for the new tip about eye contact. When he finishes the training, he remembers the tip about eye contact, and works on it. Every time he sits down to give a presentation he starts making eye contact. His presentation skills start to improve. Then one day, two years later, Bob changes jobs. In his new job he has to give presentations standing up. This feels unnatural to Bob. Something feels wrong. But he can’t quite figure it out. He has a feeling there was something in that presentations training that he attended a long time ago that might be relevant now. But he can’t remember. Then one day, just after a presentation to his new boss, his colleague speaks to him in private after everyone has left the room. “Did you know you sway a lot when you give presentations?”.

Just because something is not relevant now, does not mean it won’t be relevant in the future. Had Bob been presented with something far less taxing on his short-term memory, then he might have remembered everything he needed to, when he needed to. He might have been able to catch himself swaying as soon as he started presenting standing up. The training he attended 2 years ago would not have just been relevant at that time. It would have started to unravel new meaning and value for him in his new set of circumstances.

So let me come back to this automated closet for a minute. The short-term memory shelf and Gatekeeper robot are just a small part of this complex machine. Once used up, information from this short-term shelf can be passed through into our long-term memory. And in our long-term memory there are many, many drawers.

Our long-term memory has an unbelievable amount of drawers for any category you can imagine. Music I listened to when I broke up with my first girlfriend. Things I smelt when I first travelled to Beijing. Colours. Animals. Animals I have seen in the zoo. Animals I have seen in the wild. All the types of cups that I have ever drank from. Chinese cities I have visited. Japanese words I have used in context. Things my wife complains about. And so on.

Now this closet is not just an automated sorting system with lots of drawers. It’s also kind of magical. Because every item in this closet can be simultaneously stored in multiple drawers. For example the TV show Game of Thrones appears in a number of my drawers. TV shows my wife doesn’t like. TV shows I like. Things that motivate me to read fantasy novels. Videos I would like to watch on the plane but can’t due to adult content. TV shows that make me feel good. TV shows that make me feel bad. Cool characters I admire. Evil characters I for some strange reason quite like.

Because Game of Thrones appears in so many of my drawers, it’s extremely easy for me to remember. And this is the way our magical closet works. The more drawers something appears in (in other words, the more categories something is related to) the easier it is to remember. But there’s also another thing about these drawers that makes information easier to remember.

Not only is our closet a magical automated one, it’s also a kind of biological one with drawers that are like muscles. The more they get used, the stronger they become. Saturday nights with my wife mean my ‘TV shows my wife doesn’t like’ draw gets opened A LOT. The fact that I’ve been watching Game of Thrones on a weekly basis for the last month also means the ‘TV Shows I like’ draw gets opened a lot too. So for the time being, my memory of Game of Thrones is pretty strong.

So let’s go back to Bob’s presentation skills training. We want him to remember to stay grounded and not to sway. What drawers?could we put that in? Well for a start he doesn’t have a ‘Tips for presenting when standing up’ drawer. We could create a new one for him, and then open it and close it a lot during the training to make it strong. But, if he isn’t going to give lots of presentations standing up after the training, then that drawer is going to get pretty weak. However, he might have a “Bad habits I’d like to change” drawer. He might also have a “Strange things I do that I don’t notice but that other people have pointed out” drawer. He may even have a “Things I should do to appear more confident” drawer. If we want Bob to remember, we should find as many drawers for him as possible to store this tip in. If I were training Bob I would point out this swaying habit to him when giving him feedback. I’d let him watch a video of himself doing it too. I’d get him to stand still for 1 minute and let him know every time he starts swaying. I’d ask him to think about whether or not he does this when he is just chatting casually with his colleagues or customers. I’d ask him what his perception of someone else would be if they always swayed when talking to him. I’d ask him if that matched the perception he wanted to give to other people. All of these questions will help Bob find various drawers that he can store this information in.

I’d give him, and every other trainee a new drawer too. I’ve give them a “Acronyms and models I remember from the presentations training”. Throughout the training I’d get the trainees to chant “Grounded-Descriptive-Connected!”. Every time I introduced a new model or acronym I’d write it on big paper, and then stick it on the wall. At the end of the training I’d get them all to take a photo of everything stuck on the wall and share it on social media. Hopefully they’d then get questions from their friends asking “What’s that?” and “What does Grounded-Descriptive-Connected mean?”. I’d get them to write an email to their boss saying which models they learnt from the training that they intend to use in their work. I’d ask them to describe how they are going to use them, why they are going to use them and when they are going to use them. I’d give them an A4 sheet of paper with all of these models and acronyms on, and tell them to hang it on their notice board in their office. I’d tell them to set a reminder on their phones to read through their training materials the next time they are about to give a presentation. I’d send them an email a month later with a list of questions about the various models. I’d do everything in my power as a trainer to create those drawers and then open them as often as possible.

So following in the spirit of this post, let me break everything down into 3 simple steps.

  1. Treat your trainees’ memories like a magical automated closet.
  2. Create new drawers and find existing drawers to put things in.
  3. Open and close those drawers as much as you possibly can.
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