Unblock your “training brain” with ideas from marketing #book Friday

I’ve been starting a few new projects while still wrapping up some old ones so I felt the need to clear my head.

The booster for getting fresh ideas on the table came from my own bookshelf, and more specifically the marketing section. Made to stick by Chip and Dan Heath is a classic I keep coming back to and here’s why: The book shows what I as a learning professional need to steal from marketing – and not just once for an especially exciting project, but all the time, in every training. The book shows with concrete examples why some ideas survive and others die, and what you can do to make your ideas – or in my case training – stick.

The book is based on six key principles, and as the writers prove over and over, people are more likely to absorb and remember content that was created using one or several of these. The principles are Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions and Stories.

Of these, I use the S’s and C’s regularly. As regards Simplicity, I think that if I can’t explain something in a simple way, then it is likely I haven’t understood it properly yet. Stories are also great, and perhaps I could use them even more. What’s good about stories is that they don’t have to be dramatic – the fact that they are in story format make people more likely to remember them. As goes for Concreteness and Credibility – I guess that’s also mostly about doing your background work properly to discover authentic contexts and good examples for your interactions and so forth.

What about the U and E? I definitelyhave some good experiences of adding Unexpectedness and Emotions in my own projects, and I should definitely do this more: Add more unexpected questions and surprising facts, create more examples that awake emotions and remember to appreciate the person in the other end with words that awake positive emotions. Marketers want people to do something, and that’s what we as learning professionals want too.

I’ll be starting Gamification course offered by University of Pennsylvania through coursera.org so my next post will be about an entirely different topic, gamification.



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