Delivering Your Training ROI

As a facilitator, I am always interested in ‘what is out there’ – whether this is research, new ideas, compliance (GDPR springs to mind!) and more. One of the things that always interests me is helping clients to see their training ROI – to drive out a return on training investment.

As I search for research on the issue of hand-drawn graphics in workshops, Emer O’Leary at Collected Works in the UK made me aware of a 2014 article by Professor Zakary Tormala at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Professor Tormala teaches courses in the areas of attitudes, persuasion, and consumer behavior. In 2014, his research “Whiteboard-Imagery Found More Effective Than Traditional PowerPoint Approaches” found that “whiteboarding works best for engagement, enjoyment, credibility, recall and persuasive impact versus polished PowerPoint decks.”

Tormala’s Study

[pullquote]Both studies found a statistically significant difference in favor of the whiteboard approach in all categories outlined – engagement, enjoyment, credibility, recall and persuasive impact, outperforming the PowerPoint and Zen presentations approaches.[/pullquote]
Professor Tormala’s online study was conducted with participants who were randomly selected to watch a two-minute video description of a concept called ‘the hammock’ accompanied by one of three possible visuals:

  • Whiteboard-style visuals
  • Traditional PowerPoint with bullets and photography
  • Large metaphorical image with a few words (sometimes referred to as a “Zen” presentation technique)

In a second study conducted a few weeks later, participants were run through the same experiment. This time, however, new measures were included to directly tap into the persuasive impact of whiteboards as compared to PowerPoint and Zen presentations.

 

Don't bring in trainers unless you know that you will see a value and an ROI from Eskil on Vimeo.

Building your training ROI

In the first study, despite the fact that all participants received the exact same information and message content, the whiteboard presentation outperformed the PowerPoint and Zen presentations on a wide range of messaging impact metrics. More specifically, the whiteboard presentation statistically outperformed the two other approaches in engagement, credibility, presentation quality, and information recall.

In the second study, 401 new participants took part in the same experiment (assessing engagement, credibility, presentation quality, and recall) but were also asked:

• How convincing was the presentation to you personally?
• How important is it to remember the idea of “the hammock” when giving presentations?
• To what extent will the presentation about “the hammock” change the way you deliver your messages to others?
• How likely are you to follow the advice from the presentation the next time you have to speak?
• How likely are you to share the information from the presentation with someone else?
• Do you intend to tell anyone you know about “the hammock?”

On average, the whiteboard presentation enhanced the persuasive impact of the message by approximately 8 percent.

Realising the Training ROI

A follow-up survey was sent to the same participants two days later to evaluate recall and sustained engagement and impact. None of the original presentation was shared in the follow-up survey, and participants needed to rely on their memory to respond to the following three key questions:

• How often have you thought about the content of the presentation since you viewed it?
• How likely is it that you will use or apply the insights from the presentation in the future?
• Has the presentation changed, in any way, the way you interact or communicate with others?

In this follow-up test, the whiteboard presentation again produced a statistically significant boost in recall relative to the PowerPoint and Zen presentations. On average, two days after its viewing, the whiteboard presentation outperformed the other presentations by 14 percent and 17 percent on recall and engagement/impact, respectively.

 

When it comes to looking for your Training ROI, consider the immediate, short-term and long-term impact of learning & development. Does technology work as well as you would hope? As humans, are more inclined to recall and use a more physical medium than the technology-driven screen-based content? Does your current Learning & Development create conversations in the business?


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Facilitating Opening & Closing

As a facilitator, I spend a lot of time preparing the flow of a workshop or speech, the currency of the content (and, in these days of fake news, checking & rechecking) – add to this, the development of the flipcharts, the exercises, the key learning points… it’s a big task. But the trap is forgetting the importance of facilitating opening and closing.

I’ve attended lots of workshops as a delegate where I have felt that I’d been rushed into the session or, at times, that it’s all felt very inconclusive at the end when the facilitator wraps up.

I’ve even been in a session where the facilitator has started to take any notes down off the wall and putting them in the bin – it’s almost as if there was no respect for the information we’d spend 2 days exploring.

Sometimes, being rushed into or out of a session just feels rude.

 

Opening & Closing facilitated sessions from Eskil on Vimeo.

An effective opening should give time for both parties to size each other up – for the facilitator to gauge the room and to start to look at the individual personalities.

For the audience, a well constructed opening can set expectations, help them to ‘connect’ to the facilitator, become familiar with the surroundings and also begin to feel that this is a safe environment to work in.

I already ‘pre-wire’ the audience with introductory emails, small videos, etc. as a way to get them into the frame of mind for the session. Similarly, in terms of closing, I have been developing pre-wired closes that lead into the end of the event a few hours earlier – preparing people for the end.

 

You need to set up the room (including the people) for meaningful dialog and you need to respect how you finish the discussion a facilitator. Facilitating opening & closing is as important as the content in between!


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Getting To Yes

Neil Fogarty is a mentor, coach, speaker, advisor and facilitator. He works in Middle East, Europe, UK, Africa and the Americas on such topics as leadership, collaboration, communications, and the power of a positive mindset.

As a facilitator, I often talk about the importance of ‘Getting To No’ in terms of innovation & intrapreneurship (if people aren’t pushing back, then you aren’t at their boundary yet). Similarly, I talk about getting yes – embracing a positive mindset in order to open doors to new opportunities.

Whilst there is a fantastic book about principled negotiation called ‘Getting To Yes’, I am focusing more on being willing to say yes to pretty much anything (legal) before saying no.

If we say ‘no’ to something to early, you will never really have a chance to revisit it in the future. By saying ‘yes’ to an idea, you can always say ‘no’ later on.

Saying ‘yes’ has taken me to different parts of the world, meeting new people, writing books, blogging for Virgin and 101 other things that may, in the future, take me down roads that I haven’t even considered.

 

Get yourself to yes – opening your mindset up to new opportunities from Eskil on Vimeo.

 

Don’t be frightened to open your mindset up to new possibilities.


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Coaching As Part Of Your Learning & Development

Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve suggests that the majority of information transmitted to you in a workshop / lecture is forgotten within less than a week. Now, as a facilitator, it can be a little demoralising to think that so much time is spent on crafting a workshop, developing key learning points, building exercises to embed the learning – and for it all to be gone within such a short space of time. This is where coaching learning & development comes in.

Ebbinghaus identified that, by intervening and reminding at key points over the next few days, we have a greater opportunity for retaining information.

Having a coach or mentor to work within you over the next few weeks following a workshop means that you have a greater chance to understand and apply your new skills.

 

Support your #facilitated #training with #coaching & #mentoring from Eskil on Vimeo.

 

A workshop is the kick-off to something else: it isn’t the end point.


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Facilitating Accountability & Responsibility

Facilitating accountability & responsibility : by refusing to accept that you are at least 51% responsible for something happens to you (accepting culture, faith, etc.), you are abdicating responsibility and putting yourself into the position of ‘victim’.

 

As the Facilitator, I refer to 51% in pretty much every workshop – if you are determined to be reactive rather than proactive, then you are at a disadvantage.

 

Accountability, Responsibility, 51%… facilitating your team evolution from Eskil on Vimeo.

 

If you are willing to be held responsible and accountable, then you will have a greater control over your destiny.


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Managing The Croatian Silence

A reflection on the strength of an accomplished facilitator : the ones who can handle difficult situations – for example, having a skill in managing the Croatian Silence. Facilitation is about making it easy for the people in the room to go on a journey – but, like any journey, there are bumps in the road, diversions and jams.

As a speaker, critical friend and Facilitator, I am keen that the people in the room understand what I am trying to communicate and, if I am failing at that, what can I do to improve my skills? Difficult situations arise for all kinds of reasons and it is our job to make sure that we roll with the punches, see any deviation as an opportunity, and succeed in taking people in that journey of discovery.

 

Day two of the great British heatwave (2018) – faciliator thoughts from Eskil on Vimeo.

 

Every deviation from the ‘script’ is an opportunity to tune your message to the audience in front of you.


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

email: enquiry@eskil.co
tel: +44.(0)1926.497.211
URL: eskil.co

 

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Facilitating Problem Solving Workshops

Working on facilitating problem solving workshops for a client in Croatia – focusing on the flow to make it easy to understand, follow & apply.

 

As the Facilitator, I will be ensuring that an ROI goes back into the business with people who are self-determining; they have a process for mapping a problem; identify potential solutions; prioritise them; map stakeholders and then set out an implementation plan.

 

Back for the (1-day) UK Summer from Eskil on Vimeo.

 

Every activity should have an outcome.


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Reflecting On Facilitation In Croatia

The final day of delivering ‘presentation & business writing’ to a cohort in Zagreb, reflecting on facilitation – learning points on a long journey!

 

Croatian coffee and sunshine and the slow building of a dictionary of words. Use the opening of the workshop to understand the dynamics of the room. There is a constant need for the facilitator to make things easy for people – not to be the smartest guy in the room.

 

Returning to Zagreb in May to facilitate sessions with an IT company and a credit card business.

 

Last day of April Croatian facilitation from Eskil on Vimeo.

 

It’s not important that I teach; it’s important that they learn.


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Facilitating a Corporate Workshop in Croatia

Reflecting on the delivery of facilitating a corporate workshop in Croatia.

 

As a Facilitator, I was commissioned to work with 35 people identified for talent development in a Bank. This particular cohort was in place to explore Presentation & Business Writing : what stops people from being comfortable when presenting reports,  speaking in front of an audience? How do we connect, engage, and motivate to action?

 

Getting ready for the next cohort!

 

Early morning Croatian chatter! from Eskil on Vimeo.

 

Not everybody in the audience is gonna like you.


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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The Case For The Corporate Facilitator

Neil Fogarty is a corporate facilitator, trainer, business writer and speaker - he works with clients in Middle East, Europe, Africa, Caribbean and The Americas

Engaging a Corporate Facilitator

As we all know, a business meeting can be pretty prescriptive (be honest, we usually know why we’re in the room; we all know what will be agreed / signed off; we are just going through the motions).  In such instances, a corporate facilitator is probably not really needed.

The issue is that there are more instances where there is ambiguity and uncertainty and ‘having a meeting’ just doesn’t cut it.  And this is where the corporate facilitator comes in.

The word “facilitator” is derived from the Latin word for “easy” : facilitation means “the act of making things easier”.

And this is true: a great facilitator can make things easier for you – but the difficulty is in the complexity of the engagement: who to retain, how to craft the session, and how to motivate your people to fully participate.

A facilitated session can run from a few hours through to a full day but rarely more than that.  Imagine a well-crafted 2-3 hour facilitated session drawing out an outcome, achieving consensus, solving a problem, reaching a decision and much more.

Facilitation is more than merely training

Unlike a classically delivered training session (Keynote / Powerpoint slides, printouts, lecture-style delivery, quiz at the end to demonstrate understanding), if you use a facilitator to deliver their version of training, you will see how it takes your learning & development to a whole new level.

Whilst the majority of facilitated workshops run up to a day in length, if it goes beyond that, the workshop becomes a supercharged training event that incorporates mini-lectures and tutorials as well as output-driven activities.

From a Learning & Development perspective my own development company, Eskil, tends to plug-and-play a series of interactive workshop sessions intercut with quick-hit tutorials to form a longer training course (from 1-5 days).

Focusing on facilitated workshops with a specific outcome / output, this article is the first of two parts as we look at the power of facilitation and how it can be applied in your organization.

Facilitation is more than a good meeting

I have sat in on client sessions where the person at the top of the table has decided to facilitate. It’s great that there is a willingness to do it – the best meeting chairs are, effectively, facilitators – but there are traps to easily fall into:

  • An opportunity to impose an agenda on the session
  • Using the title as a way to suggest collegiate thinking whereas the decision is already made
  • The facilitator wants to get involved in the discussions
  • Depending upon your usual leadership style, people may not feel ‘safe’ in your facilitated environment
  • Sometimes the issue being discussed is ‘blocked’ by the feeling that the head of the table is part of the issue

Facilitation loves ambiguity

If you want something prescriptive where you probably already know the answer… have a meeting.  In a survey of Eskil’s network of facilitators, the top 9 reasons for a facilitated workshop were:

  • achieving consensus
  • generating ideas
  • solving problems
  • improving working relationships
  • developing & agreeing strategy
  • improve team results
  • increase motivation / employee engagement
  • influence / engage with stakeholders
  • resolve conflict

The case for a Corporate Facilitator

To be fair, there are many reasons why you would consider bringing in an external facilitator and here’s a quick list for you:

  • You haven’t got the time : an external facilitator is specifically tasked to ‘do the job’ – if you consider a single-day workshop, for example, it takes a further day to prepare the workshop and a follow-on day to document and report back the findings;
  • You can’t build a flowing agenda :  experienced facilitators build agendas that flow and have a complete focus on your desired outcomes, that each session builds on the last, and that the overall structure will result in you achieving your objectives;
  • You want contemporary thinking : many professional facilitators have a commitment to their own personal and professional development : constantly looking to develop new thinking and better-practice to help guide conversations;
  • You cant guarantee objectivity : facilitation is based upon objectivity – encouraging the exploration of alternative viewpoints whilst keeping meetings on track;
  • You want new ways to develop your people : access a variety of discussion templates to help develop new thinking through activities as well as conversation;
  • You can’t get the balance right between big picture and the finer detail : whilst we are all mindful of the overarching goal of the session, the facilitator also ensures an attention to detail (materials, technology, discussion templates, etc.);
  • You can’t capture all the outputs : the facilitator focuses on guiding discussions and capturing the thinking in the room  – recording key points and documenting actions;
  • There are tricky personalities in the room : an independent facilitator has more chance of not just reigning in the dominant personalities in the room but also encouraging the more reflective and introverted thinkers – no single view-point should dominate a discussion;
  • Too many meetings fail to reach a conclusion : facilitators don’t let meetings or workshops drift – every session should have a summary of discussion points as well as outcomes and agreed next steps;
  • You think you’re saving money through DIY : there is no denying that there is a cost attached to bringing an experienced external facilitator into the room but the cost of an biased and unfocused internal facilitator is a huge cost when you consider the collective salaries of everyone in the room, the cost of missed opportunity and the cost of having to do it all again; and
  • You want to engagement better with your employees : having a well run workshop has various oblique benefits ranging from unlocking new thinking in a collaborative environment through to the feel-good factor of people who feel that they have taken part in a productive and energetic event

 

The key learning is this: a facilitated session is a way to engage with your staff as you build collaborative and emotional intelligence in your enterprise in the solving of problems, creating of strategies and the generation of new ideas.

 


 

To book Neil as a facilitator:
Email: enquiry@eskil.co
Telephone: +44.1926.497.211

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