Recently I walked into a client’s office to say hello and confirm our agenda for the day. As our cordial stand-up meeting progressed I was really pleased to hear how genuinely pleased he seemed to be with the technical support training that was about to begin. In fact, he went so far as to say that the organization had made the right decision and was sure to benefit. Yes, I was beaming. Then he said, “Oh, and can you make it any shorter?” Sigh. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that; I’m ever hopeful, each time, it will be the last time.
At Impact, we believe learning – especially learning to communicate effectively – takes planning, consideration, practice and frequent, periodic revisiting of the key concepts. The “how”—whether you employ traditional classroom, eLearning, social learning and collaboration or a combination of all of the above—doesn’t change the fact that learning is a process not an event. Behavior change happens on the job, over time, and for the best results needs the hands-on attention and support of management.
Practical operational considerations drove my client’s desire to shorten his specific training event. While I support short learning segments, I also believe in lots of engaging activities, lots of practice, lots of collaborative opportunities, and lots of learning by doing—and that takes time. I tend to believe that when it comes to learning we’d be better off taking a lesson from the slow food movement.
Is it really inevitable that all communication as we know it, including training, will be truncated by technology? In his blog post, “Getting Shorty—The Elevator Pitch is Dead,” Jay Baer writes about what he calls the “Law of Boundless Brevity” and claims “technology has killed small talk”. He was referring to personal communication not business communication much less training but much of what he wrote struck a chord. Ultimately, he suggests we all create 120-character descriptions of what we do to replace our old elevator pitches. Even though I don’t totally buy the truncation trend I’m willing to give it a try in the spirit of respecting diversity of opinion. So here’s mine: Optimizing performance for sales, customer service, and tech support while sustaining results that make a difference. (118) Very retweetable. (My spellchecker doesn’t think that’s a word. How very 2008.)