Storytelling in Training

Stories have a way of sticking with us. Whether it’s the book on your bedside table, an anecdote shared over coffee, or the latest drama on a favorite TV series, there’s something about a well-told story that captivates.

Entertainment is just a secondary perk, though. The art of storytelling is centuries old, used initially to pass on information from person to person. When we employ the technique in training, we’re looking to capitalize both benefits: spreading knowledge to learners while holding their attention and engaging their interest.

 

Why Use Storytelling

Storytelling is just one of the many tools in our training arsenal. It’s one of our favorites as it allows us to draw on our creativity, however, there are three other core reasons we gravitate toward the solution.

1. Storytelling creates an emotional connection between learners and lessons. As stories draw us in, we continually react, both emotionally and physically as they unfold. Scientists have seen this come alive in brain scans of learners. When presented with narratives and sensory-heavy language, larger portions of the brain are activated than just the language processing areas.

2. Storytelling allows us as content experts to injects creativity and levity into complex, dry topics. From systems to security, we tackle topics that are critical for organizations and learners but may skew a bit boring on the boring side. By transforming facts, processes, and procedures into a narrative, we’re able to hold learner attention longer and boost the likelihood that they’ll actually enjoy their training experience.

3. Storytelling makes content memorable. We want our training to stick. When a learner completes one of our training programs, our intention is that they can take what they’ve learned and immediately apply those skills. Beyond that, we want them to retain that information and be able to carry it through their work for a long period of time, sharing it with other team members as appropriate.

How to Use Storytelling

 Now that you know the value behind the technique, let’s pull the curtain back on some simple best practices for incorporating storytelling into your training:

• Follow the classic story arc. Start with a clear beginning to set the stage for what is to come, introducing concepts and characters on which to build the rest of the story. Create tension or conflict in the middle of the story, resolving it and reinforcing the lesson in the end.

• Be creative. Use relatable characters and probable scenarios to help illustrate the concepts and/or processes that a learner needs to understand. Imagine the learner’s on-the-job experience and look for ways to create an engaging, parallel experience with your content.

• Use descriptive language. Choose phrasing that connects with the senses, describing experiences in terms of the way they look, feel, smell, sound, or taste.

• Incorporate supporting images. Nothing makes stories come alive like compelling imagery. Whenever possible, incorporate graphics, animation, or live-action visuals to better illustrate concepts and provide some visual support for what is happening in your narrative.

Regardless of the modality your training employs, consider ways you might incorporate these concepts into its construction. That’s the approach we take, looking for opportunities to inject our signature creativity into our content to engage learners and drive results.

 

Storytelling in Practice

When it comes to using storytelling in training, we’ve found that simulations lend themselves particularly well to the approach. These choose-your-own-adventure style trainings allow learners to explore different pathways and their results with no actual risk.

We recently built a pair of simulation videos for a real estate leasing company as part of a multi-modality curriculum focused on their new sales method. The videos followed the actions of a leasing agent as she worked to fill a unit in her community.

Throughout each, we created opportunities for learners to choose how to approach various points of conflict within the process. A play off of ‘Million Dollar Listing,’ the project allowed us to pull cultural references and humor into the story, making it particularly relevant to the company’s audience of leasing agents.

Want to see how we can help you take your training to the next level with creative storytelling? Connect with us today.

Share This Article

Featured Resource

Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

More Articles Like This One

Change Management Training for Employees – Embracing the Change

Picture this – you’re ready to make a big change in your company. Maybe it’s a change to your benefits or compensation structure, or a big shift in management. But you look around at all of your employees comfortably working and hesitate to upend what is familiar to them.

That hesitancy is understandable. McKinsey estimates that “70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support.” The good news is there’s a way to reduce the likelihood of your change program failing. That’s where change management training for employees comes in.

 

Preparing Employees for Change

When a big shift happens, wouldn’t it be great to not just prepare employees for change but to create advocates for change. With effective change management training, you’ll be able to ensure your employees understand and are invested in the change at your company. 

You might be wondering how this works. The best change management training contains three main elements:

1.   A Communication Plan – How are you going to communicate an upcoming change to your employees? For big changes, a simple email isn’t going to do the trick. It’s important to think through the change and how best to convey it to employees. This might mean a phased approach, plans for team meetings, and bringing in executives for support. Take time to really evaluate the impact of the change and how to best minimize surprise and difficulties for your employees.

2.   A Leadership Toolkit – Leaders set the mood for your change. Everyone is going to look to them to gauge how to feel. An effective change management training program provides a toolkit for leaders to guide their teams through change. It gives them the resources they need to field questions from their teams, address any pushback from team members, build empathy, and set a positive example for the rest of the organization.

3.   A Strategy to Maintain Productivity – Change can be disruptive, but it doesn’t have to bring everything to a grinding halt. Training should include how to deal with potential distractions and roadblocks as you implement change, that way you don’t lose profits while you work toward change. Maintaining stability in this way can also help your employees feel more secure amidst all of the change.

 

Making Change Management Stick

Training shouldn’t end once the change has been implemented. We all know sustainment training can help training stick by reinforcing lessons learned. But change management sustainment training can look a little different. Here are a few ideas to try to make sure your change works long term.

Use micro-learnings: Once employees have completed their change management training, reinforce what they learned with quick quizzes or mini-eLearning modules that cover key concepts.

Create a support network: Set up a network and encourage team members to meet, discuss the change and any challenges they’ve faced, and work through problems with their leaders.

Check-in with teams: Following the completion of their training, encourage team members to set goals for how they will effectively deal with change. Check-in at 30, 60, and 90 days after the program to ensure they’re working toward their goals.

 

Moving Forward

Instead of fearing change, embrace it with a great plan in place. As John Assaraf once said, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” Grow your company’s potential by making changes that move you in the right direction.

Ready to make a big change but need some support? Check out our change management training for employee options for more details.

Share This Article

Featured Resource

Assess Your Program With This Free Leadership Training Topics Checklist

More Articles Like This One

State of the Modern Learner

Welcome to 2019 – a time when people expect to be entertained. Why should their training be any different? Think about it, according to The Game Agency, on average we consume nearly 11 hours of media each day and shift our attention between our smartphones, tablets, and computers 21 times every hour. With that in mind, it makes sense that your training should grab your learners’ attention quickly, hold it long enough to make an impact, and above all else, be so entertaining that they want and enjoy it – even with seemingly infinite media options at their fingertips.

Distracted… but Want to Learn

Who are these modern learners that are overwhelmed with entertainment choices all throughout the day? They’re consuming information in shorter, more personalized, more engaging ways. When seeking new information, they’re likely to Google something or check out a video on YouTube, but that’s typically done with the intention of using that information right away. What if the knowledge needs to be retained for an extended period of time? Consider, 50% of information is forgotten within one hour without some type of reinforcement training.

 

State of the Modern Learner graph

They also have short attention spans, crave instant gratification, and are distracted – but not too distracted to want to learn. According to Learnkit, 53% of employees feel they could do their job better if they had better training and per Intercall 47% want the freedom to complete that training at their own pace. It follows that in order for training to make sense for the naturally distracted lifestyle of the modern learner, it has to be:

  • High quality
  • Efficient
  • Personalized
  • Available on demand

Competing for Attention

So, when it seems everyone is fighting for the modern learner’s attention, how do we train? With so much time already spent looking at screens, what if you could reach your learners through any and all of their devices? Better yet, what if you could use those devices to teach them while simultaneously entertaining and delighting them? Good news: you can – and you should.

Fun and Games!

For the greatest impact, ensure that your training includes gamification and games that:

  • Transmit information simply
  • Grab your learner’s attention
  • Keeps them engaged
  • And perhaps above all else, helps them reinforce and retain what they’ve learned

Games not only provide an engaging learning experience that can change behaviors and improves comprehension, but thanks to the fun they provide, learners often want to continue learning and thereby reinforce their training.

Secondly, games provide a competitive element that drives action, sustains focus, and heightens attention. Consider these statistics:

  • The average learner will play a game three times during training.
  • On average, they will experience a 64% increase in knowledge from the beginning to the end of a game.
  • Each gameplay session lasts an average of six minutes.

Lastly, training with games provides you with robust reporting and analytics capabilities. Each game can be used to collect player data to help you identify knowledge gaps – thereby enabling you to rework training content to maximize effectiveness.

In short

Modern learners have minimal time to devote to training. They’re working from several locations and expect to access information on-demand. Luckily for them, games are a form of micro-learning that provide quick, compelling training that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. This form of training is ideal for the modern learner’s short attention span as the information taught is bite-sized and easy-to-digest. And when people are entertained, they focus and retain information more easily.

Additionally, if an experience is enjoyable, people naturally return for more. Training so good that it compels a return visit increases the odds of retention (and the amount of information that can be retained) – and that’s exactly what the distracted, modern learner needs in 2019.

Share This Article

Featured Resource

Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

More Articles Like This One

What is an LMS?

If content is King, then the Queen is your Learning Management System (LMS). Without a robust Queen, your King is essentially inaccessible and powerless. An LMS is the gatekeeper to all that good content your team has built or wants to build. So what is an LMS, and what can it do for your company?

An LMS is a technological platform to aid in the training and development of a business team. With features like anytime, anywhere training access, LMSs have become the standard in good training and development for sales teams the world over.

They allow companies to track and manage key aspects of training, such as identifying areas of weakness and funneling just-in-time information to those in the field.

Though every LMS has different features, they universally have a space where business teams can access course content, take quizzes, and track a team member’s educational journey. So with the ubiquity of LMSs, how do you determine what you need?

 

Determining What You Need from an LMS

The biggest decision you can make in training is determining how that training will be delivered. LMSs offer you the option of anytime, anywhere course access, which is critical for on-the-go sales teams. Figuring this out is simple. What’s not simple is being confronted with all the bells and whistles of various LMSs and not knowing what you really need. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you determine what will be most useful to your team:

1. Look at your business goals. That’s right, every aspect of your training should roll up to your business goals, and that includes what features you have in your LMS. If your LMS isn’t collecting the data you need to track whether your team is meeting goals, then it’s not fulfilling your mission. In fact, it’ll feel like your LMS is consistently coming up short because it is.

2. Look at your training needs. Who will you be training? How many people will be training? What departments? Will you be primarily focusing on in-person training, and using the LMS platform for testing and sustainment? Will all learning go through the LMS? Are there webinar components to be tracked? Will you track attendance, quiz grades, and pass/fail rates? There’s a lot to consider. If you answer these questions up front, your search will be laser focused.

3. Examine the features of various LMSs. That’s right, take a good, long look at the different features of various LMSs like Spoke. You will find nuances in how quizzes can be scored, reporting features, and in pricing. Align your training needs with the features of the LMS you ultimately choose, so you can maximize your company’s training efforts.

4. Consider customer service. If you’re looking for a platform that will be managed outside your company, you need to strongly consider customer service. There is nothing more frustrating than when you need help meeting a reporting deadline, and the hosting service is unavailable or slow to respond. We recommend being diligent and reading service reviews for each LMS service you are considering.

 

Meet Spoke®, the social LMS that makes training easy.

Everything you need, nothing you don’t.

Key Features

Using your business needs to guide you is important. There are some key features that we here at Unboxed feel are non-negotiables. Look for these features to set your team up for success:

1. Easy interface. If your team can’t quickly and easily find training, they will get discouraged. It’s often a challenge to find the time in our busy lives to take training, so make sure the LMS you choose makes sense, has a clean and simple user interface, and has clear instructions just in case a team member gets stuck.

2. Opportunities for social learning. Our brains are built for social interaction, hence why Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram permeate our lives. An LMS that doesn’t have social learning may not be able to meet the emotional needs of your learners and therefore could be less effective than an LMS like Spoke that builds in social learning.

3. We know you take your work seriously, and so do we. That’s why gamification can be important. Allowing learning to function more like a game, means that you have higher rates of engagement among your team members, and they learn the material better.

4. Robust data reporting. Data should be collected at the individual, the class, and the company level to get a snapshot of whether you are meeting your goals. For this reason, you should thoughtfully consider what you want from your data reporting allowing your company goals to drive what data you ask for from the LMS.

We know choosing an LMS is a big deal, that’s why we are here to help you discuss options. Finding the sweet spot for your team is a challenge, but we believe we can help you meet that challenge. Finding the right balance for your team is what it’s all about, and the right LMS can be the keys to your company’s learning kingdom.

Contact us now to learn more about Spoke and how Unboxed Training & Technology can help you meet your business goals for 2019 and beyond.

Share This Article

Featured Resource

Free Step-by-Step LMS Buyers Guide

More Articles Like This One

Spoke LMS: The 9-Time Winner

We’re proud to announce The Craig Weiss Group has named Unboxed’s Spoke LMS as the #1 LMS for Consumer Goods for 2019, #5 in their Top Nine LMSs for the United States. And the #11 LMS in 2019. The Craig Weiss Group continuously monitors the training marketplace for the best providers and services, and we are pleased to receive such an honor.

read more

What is an LMS?

An LMS is a technological platform to aid in the training and development of a business team. With features like anytime, anywhere training access, LMSs have become the standard in good training and development for sales teams the world over.

read more

Training New Employees – 3 Essential Elements for Every Onboarding Program

So you’ve scoured the applicant pool and found the perfect person for the job, the hard part is done, right? Really, you’re only about half-way up the hill. The training the new employee receives is just as important as who you’ve hired.

Don’t believe us? ADP says that 91% of managers, 81% of HR administrators, and 75% of employees say onboarding is not done right. It’s also been reported that it costs an organization 1.5x the employee’s salary to replace and get a new employee up to speed. It’s safe to say, getting onboarding right is crucial.

Here are the three essentials to keep in mind so your training will hit the mark.

 

1. The Warm Welcome: Ease Their First Day Nerves

New employees have a lot to get the jitters about—a new job, an unfamiliar commute, a new office space, possibly a new city, and all new co-workers (not to mention new responsibilities). It’s important to start to build trust and confidence the moment they walk in the door. Let’s face it, first impressions are important, and a team member’s first day is also their first peek behind the curtain.

On day 1 new team members will start to make judgments on what makes you tick as a company, how the organization is run, and your culture. Are managers hiding behind locked doors? Are their new co-workers friendly? Do the leaders really care?

You only get one chance to set the tone for their first experience. Alleviate their fears and establish a culture of caring by showing them that they’re more than just a number.

If you’re a small company, have each new employee sit down with someone from the C-Suite to get the story of the company. It helps them feel like they’re more than just a number—the leaders care about them and take the time to get to know them.

For larger organizations, a good option is an Introductory Video – a short and sweet message from leadership that all new hires can watch. It tells them a bit about the company, the role employees play in their continued success, and how excited leadership is that they’re joining the team.

Why does this make such a difference? The Gallup organization reports that 71% of employees today are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. Establishing a culture where every person matters and is valued is a great way to help build a new employee’s trust that they joined the right organization—and that buy-in is an important factor in keeping employees engaged.

 

2. The Coaching Mindset: Establish Check Points and Expectations

87% of Millennials recently surveyed stated that professional development and career growth are very important to them. Your employees are hungry, and they want success – they just don’t always know how to get there. That’s where you come in.

Outline clear expectations and milestones using a BARS (Behavior Anchored Rating Scale) Chart. The BARS Chart serves as the foundation for the new employee. It outlines what not acceptable, good, and GREAT looks like in their role.

Peer mentor check-ins are a great way to reinforce these GREAT behaviors in a less intimidating setting. New employees can watch a tenured employee perform the GREAT behaviors, talk through their best practices, and openly discuss challenges with someone in their same role.

Then use a 30/60/90-day Plan to build off that framework. These plans allow managers to work with an employee to gauge where they fall at each milestone (according to the BARS Chart) and plan for next steps.

At each of these milestones, the manager should meet with the new hire to discuss their progress and goals for the coming days using the 30/60/90-day Plan as a framework. 

 

3. The Wow Factor: Cater to the Modern Learner

We all know that there are certain things that simply have to be covered when it comes to training new hires: your company’s mission, vision, values, the tools/software they’ll use, and the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to do their job well. Check out this Onboarding Checklist to see if your program covers the basics.

But it’s not enough to just check all the boxes, you have to make it memorable. The average employee checks his or her phone more than 150 times per day, so it’s not surprising that the modern learner has a shorter attention span and will tire of the “required” content quickly if you don’t make it exciting.

Reading a manual, sitting through a presentation, or taking a compliance course isn’t going to cut it for the modern learner. Instead, weave in as much interactivity as possible.

You can do things like a VR scavenger hunt for office essentials, add mobile-friendly self-paced foundational courses, or include Simulated or Animated Videos in to your onboarding program. We promise your learners will notice the difference and their knowledge and retention will improve.

Remember, finding and hiring the right people is only part of the battle—how you train them, starting at day 1, is a big factor. For more info on onboarding, check out our article on Onboarding Best Practices. And if you’re interested in learning about Introductory Videos, BARS Charts, 30/60/90-day Plans, Animated or Simulated Videos, incorporating Virtual Reality and more, let us know. We’d love to talk to you and help assess which onboarding training elements are right for your company! 

Share This Article

Featured Resource

Does your onboarding checklist get the job done?

Find out with this free Employee Onboarding Checklist.

More Articles Like This One

Introducing ReadySet: Turn-Key Training Solution from Unboxed

With 10 years of experience creating custom employee training programs under our belt and a name like Unboxed, it’s taken us quite a while to come around to boxed content. Though we’ve always acknowledged that there is a place for boxed content in the industry (i.e. compliance training; no need to reinvent that wheel), we’ve stayed away from creating turn-key training programs ourselves—until now.

Let us explain.

Over the past few years, we’ve received an increasing number of requests from clients who need to train their teams fast. Sales organizations especially are desperate for a quick solution, and for good reason. 71% of sales representatives take over six months to ramp, and that means the organization is bleeding money every day, especially if their turnover rate is high. A major contributor to lengthy ramp time is the skill gap: 47% of sales representatives lack fundamental selling skills (and that’s only the fundamentals!).

So, we asked ourselves, what if we could help? What if we could use our sales training expertise to make it easier and more cost effective for reps to learn foundational selling skills?

 

Introducing ReadySet

 

 

ReadySet is our answer to that question. ReadySet is affordable, high-quality, off-the-shelf e-learning that delivers action-oriented content with the same high-levels of engagement and effectiveness as custom-built training. 

So, how is ReadySet different than other turn-key training courses? We stay true to the traditional Unboxed approach.

1. ReadySet is modern and engaging. Each course is so design-forward that the user experience feels more like a website than a traditional eLearning module. We pushed our team to make the content as intuitive and engaging as possible.

2. ReadySet courses are bite-sized. We believe micro-learning principles should apply to off-the-shelf training as well as custom-built. With multiple micro-learning courses that focus on one key skill per course, ReadySet keeps the active seat time short enough to support comprehension and retention.

3. ReadySet emphasizes application and sustainment. If you’ve shopped around for off-the-shelf training programs, you know much of it consists of talking-head videos without assessment or follow-up. Effective training requires more than that; we need to help learners transfer and apply new skills to real situations. That’s why ReadySet includes a workbook full of practical on-the-job activities to sustain learning past the learning event. On top of that, learners get a baseline and final assessment to accurately measure knowledge acquisition and growth.

 

ReadySet > Sell

 

ReadySet-Module-Device2_transparent

The first curriculum we’re launching under the ReadySet name is ReadySet > Sell. This action-oriented, foundational selling skills content is based on proven best practices we’ve gathered from over a decade of creating custom sales training programs for Fortune 500 companies.

The 8-week training course includes an introductory video, interactive eLearnings, baseline and final assessments, and a participant workbook with follow-up activities. The content covers key topics like prospecting, analyzing needs, positioning, handling objections, asking for the sale, and more.

Learn more about ReadySet > Sell

Not convinced yet? That’s okay, we were skeptical, too.

Set up a consultation with our team today to see a demo and learn more about how ReadySet > Sell can help you decrease ramp time and up-skill your sales team. And stay tuned for future ReadySet curriculums.

 

Share This Article

Featured Resource

Ready. Set. Train!
Download free product sheet.

More Articles Like This One