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Effective methods

By on July 6, 2012


I mentioned in my last article (2011 November-December edition), that a great event, one that creates a lasting impression, must include three key factors: learning, an emotional impact and it must inspire those involved. Logic dictates that if, as a participant, I learn something, I witness emotions and I am inspired, I will come out a better person.  And if all my participants become better people, I will make my business better by facilitating the development and success of my own organization.

A key issue in learning is the rate of knowledge transfer. The most recent statistics show that participants generally retain less than 20% of the information received; therefore, if you want to create an impact, you need to develop tools that will etch into the imagination and create long-term memories.

If we take movies as a model, we could say that it’s like having a good catchphrase. The stronger and more a propos the catchphrase, the more it will remain vivid in our minds. The famous reply in the movie Terminator, “I’ll be back”, demonstrates this best.

I would like to propose effective methods that, in my experience, can help to impart knowledge more effectively.

 #1- Tell a story:

Imagine that your boss wants to convey a strong message about the need for teamwork. Suggest that he think outside the box, stop using PowerPoint presentations and use storytelling.

In every company there are examples of situations where people have chosen to unite and accomplish something for the good of the organization. There are many examples and they are easy to find. Explain it to your boss and offer to put it into images with personal photographs.

Create a friendly environment to tell this story. Low lighting and a hushed atmosphere, simple furniture, a cozy, unpretentious presentation. Find or do something unusual that will be remembered for a long time.

One of my customers once told his employees a story in which he had been offered a piece of sugar pie as a thank you for the work done by his company during a field visit.  He used this story to demonstrate the power of relationships between the organization and its customers; a bond and familiarity that no one in the market is able to duplicate. This story entered into the collective memory, the link between employee contributions and the impact of their actions to the community. It was a powerful moment during the event.

 #2- Enjoy a unique experience:

Consider another example. Your manager asks you to create an activity to boost self-esteem and ensure that people see themselves at their true value. Offer them something to be proud of. An experience that will get people to feel they are skilled, valuable and appreciated. Go beyond the traditional gala.

One of my clients chose to create an extraordinary celebration. Putting the team front and center, he chose to recreate the experience of winning the Stanley Cup to the employees: an official ceremony with white gloves, coach’s speech, champagne in the cup. This experience not only reinforced the value of the team but also brought an experience of pride.

An unforgettable emotional experience leaves a permanent impact. Looking for ideas? Use the world of cinema and television and you will see that there is an experience for any message from your leaders.

#3- Find a theme:

Imagine that one of your mandates is to create an event on the need to take risks to advance. Offer a theme that takes us into a world where one must take risks to succeed.

Climbing is a classic, but there are many other choices. All human achievements are examples (great achievements theme): the courage of past explorers (discovery theme), the audacity of scientists who took the risk of reinventing our worldview (science theme), the entrepreneurship of young students during the recession of the 90s have created innovative businesses (entrepreneurship theme).  No need for lavish decor or elaborate staging. The key remains in the power of the theme and underlying message. One of my clients has used cuisine to illustrate the important role each plays through a quality dining experience.  This allowed him to understand the importance of service by using an analogy of cuisine and service. He even re-used this theme for over three years with great success.

#4- Immerse people in a universe:

Your employees must feel they are part of a team. Why not dive into a parallel universe that forces them out of their routine? Losing their bearings and getting them out of their comfort zone immediately causes the need to come together, to unite, form a team. The proof is that when we travel abroad and we meet a person from our own country, we become almost instantaneously friendly and confident. It is only in a full loss of reference, trust and security that we become truly excited and open ourselves to the world. That’s when we absorb the most information.

In one of my productions, I took my client to a ‘lunar world’ to relive the adventure of the first steps on the moon. Consequences: the worries of the employees stayed at the door. People began to talk and take the time to learn. The three key messages of management have been fully understood and integrated. Several weeks after the event, they spoke of the event highlights. Immersion is a very powerful tool.

#5- Use the play:

Humor and play are excellent tools for conveying knowledge. I suggest you consult the Internet about it. There are many scientific experiments that prove the power of games and play in knowledge transfer. There is almost always a perfect game for every learning situation. Whether it’s the theme of team building, mutual support or free thought, you can find in-store games or even create your own for participants to use and continue their learning. A few years ago I had a mandate to develop passionate and enthusiastic communication skills among managers.

To teach this, we created a role play in which managers were coaches of a sports team conducting a press conference. During the year, they designed, wrote and performed roles that led them to making exciting and inspirational speeches to an audience of employees. Several of them shared the fact that this game allowed them to become more confident and learn more quickly in this playful context. Games are an extremely effective tool.

In conclusion, transferred learning is, above all, an idea that becomes permanently ingrained into memory. To accomplish goals, we must use the power of suggestion and emotional stories, experiences, themes, immersion and games that will leave a lasting impression in your attendees.



Marc-André Routhier: Consultant, coach –Videos and Events Producer at IMASUN Studios, (514) 933-0869


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