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16 Apr 2014

Hard and Soft in Training and the Best Training Structure

People often asked me how a good training program be structured. To me it should be 70/30: 70% hard, 30% soft. 

Hard means the tactics and detailed how-to while soft means the motivational and inspirational aspects. For we know that without the motivational aspect, the trainees would not want to take action.  Without the detailed 'How-to', they too cannot take action, that's why you need both.  For example, our typical sales training (like How to Close Every Sale) will include 89 tactics to overcome objections and close sales.  However, it also covers the inspirational aspect, the 'why' and purpose of sales closing.  Experience shows that this approach will satisfy 80% of the attendees, while the remaining 20% people need different structure.  No matter what, a good training program should cover the following structure:
  1. Current challenges faced and the root cause of the challenges
  2. Why this approach can help to resolve the challenges
  3. Definition of this approach, what it means and what it does not mean
  4. The way to this approach, e.g. 5-Ways to Leadership success
  5. The strategies, tactics and stratagems using the above 5-ways
  6. Further ways to go about this issue, including the best practices of the best companies
  7. Exercises, case studies, games and role plays to illustrate the above concepts
  8. The Ultimate in this concept: what is the highest level to achieve
  9. What to do if this approach does not work?
A typical training program would use the following 5-ways to teach the trainees:
  1. Dynamic talk, with interesting examples, stories, and appropriate humour
  2. Question and Answer, where the participants will be provoked to answer questions
  3. Playing of video clips and music to add life to the content
  4. Use of colourful and picture-rich slides to add impact to the visual experience
  5. Games, exercises, role plays and demonstrations to understand and apply the concepts.
Of course the most important aspect of any training program is the delivery: how the trainer can do the following 3 things:
  1. Teach people something new or something that they may not know
  2. Get into the trainees' challenges and provide instant solutions
  3. Inspire the trainees that they can do more to achieve results they never think possible.
Finally, the trainer must touch the trainees' hearts and get them to change.  That is the one and only purpose of training.

Note that a good training program SHOULD NOT be the following:

  1. Showing off of the trainer's expertise
  2. Imparting lots of ideas but without practical application
  3. Boring
  4. Unstructured
  5. Too relaxed
  6. Too tense
  7. Bombastic with complex charts, diagrams and pictures
  8. One-way flow, that is, there is less than 10% interaction between the trainer and trainees
  9. Too long, as humans can at best absorb no more than 2 hours without taking a break
by Andy Ng, Chief Trainer Coach of Asia Trainers, to view the full synopsis of our programs, click here. Other articles related to learning and development:

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