How do you help participants put the ideas from your learning event, into practice?

You might be surprised to find that the biggest factors that will make or break your participant’s application efforts are environmental.

The experience that they have when they leave your session and they’re back to their reality, that is, their day-to-day work. 

In this reality, what elements are supporting or blocking their ability to move forward with new behaviors and new ways of being?

Embracing the Learning Curve 

The act of putting learning into practice is hard. 

It’s hard because the people that are in your session are already good at what they do. 

And we’re asking them to break that normal process. Their normal way of showing up. 

And we’re asking them to engage in something new and unfamiliar. 

Anytime we do something new we stumble a few times. It’s not nearly as smooth or polished as the ingrained habit that we currently have. 

An excellent illustration of this is a story from a few years ago about renowned golfer, Tiger Woods. When he was at the top of his professional career he decided to learn a new grip for his putting.  He went all the way back to basics. He chose to proactively undo the thing he was already very good – arguably the best – at and learn something new. He did it to keep improving but despite his motivation, it’s still awkward to implement. 

Any new behavior is fragile at its start. It’s fragile because we have the temptation to – and particularly if there is the expectation from those around us – execute things the way we did in the past. 

When we are trying something new and it doesn’t work immediately, there can be people who don’t understand the process we’re going through and who challenge the process, thus shining a negative spotlight on it, causing us – in many cases – to revert back to our previous behavior. 

So how do you as a facilitator help your group move through these environmental factors? 

How do you help your participants set up an environment that is safe, and supportive for them as they engage in these new behaviors?

Have the conversation in the room.

Spend a substantial amount of time on this.

Help participants visualize what it will be like after the session. 

You’ve already delivered the material in a way that has landed. They’ve already realized this matters to them, they have the intention to change, and they are inspired to do something with this great intention. 

If you’ve been following Actionable for a while you may already have used our methodology to help them take that good intention and craft it into something that is more measurable and manageable from a daily practice standpoint. 

You now need to create the time and space for your participants to talk about the realities of what it will be like when they get back into their day-to-day. 

They need to know it will be uncomfortable and that there will be potential resistance from people around them. 

This is where you can then provide them with tools to help them address these “roadblocks” so to speak. Some tools we recommend:

Equip them with talking points or a “meeting in a box” for them to get together as a team and talk about the experience of going through the learning curve. 

Encourage them to set a due date with their team in which they will work on the new habit for a set period of time and, if it’s not working, they can go back to their previous way of being by that point. It sounds a bit hokey but for some, it can be just the perspective they need and takes enough of the pressure off to make the behavior change seem more manageable. 

Establish an accountability buddy system between those in the room to create a support system for those who have shared that learning experience.

Over time, you’ll come up with your own ideas and tools that work. When you do, I’d love to hear about them. 

Share in the comments below, how do you equip your participants with the tools, the mindset and the social support to embrace that learning curve?

The moments following your learning intervention are critical moments for your learners. There is nothing worse than people leaving inspired, trying their new behavior for a couple of days, deciding it didn’t work, and, with some resignation, going back to the way it was. 

It’s a waste of time for them, it’s a waste of money for the client, and you’re not having the impact that you can and should be having with your group.

This is easily avoidable with a plan around environmental factors participants are most likely to encounter. 

In your next session spend some time discussing and identifying the tools and tactics they can arm themselves with to create a more nurturing environment when they leave the session and let us know how it goes. We love to hear from you.

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If you’re serious about focusing on impact, we’d love to show you how we can help. Book a time to talk with us.

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