Let them figure it out themselves using the power of self-discovery

Today we’ll go back to a previous topic about tips and ideas for trainers, presenters and sales managers, and how to use the power of self-discovery in order to facilitate learning. First let’s re-establish what is self-discovery and why does it work? 

Whose ideas are you most convicted about, mine or your own?  You would say your own wouldn’t you?  In other words, even if I had dozens of compelling facts and accurate research, I couldn’t persuade you to change your political views or your religion by making a presentation on them, could I? So simply telling things to people is generally ineffective.

But if I can ask helpful questions that get you engaged in the discussion in a positive way, so that you want to discover the truth or what is best to do, I have a better chance of having you think differently and learn. I want you to develop your own conclusions.

Let’s use a simple classroom or meeting example. Let’s say I’m the trainer and I want to give you, a salesperson, four tips on how to prepare yourself for an on-site call with a prospect.  I’ve written down four best practices.  They could be any best practices, but for this example we’ll use:

1)       Greet your prospect with a smile, handshake and some energy

2)      Make sure you have some key fact or value proposition about you or your company that will resonate, that you can deliver in your opening

3)      Confirm the agenda for the meeting. “Are we still good for 45 minutes?”

4)      Assure the prospect you’ll provide some useful ideas at the end.

Let’s assume that I have this on a flip chart or on a Power Point slide.  There are two ways I can teach this. I could say, “Here are the four keys to opening your call successfully” and then reveal them.  Or I could ask, “What’s most important for you to do well when you open your call with a prospect?”

You can see that the second method works best.  Now I have everyone engaged in solving the problem. I could have learners discuss it in pairs and come up with answers, then debrief them, scribing all the responses. I’ll get several answers, and we can discuss which are most important.  And surely the original four from my list will be there.  But even if not all of them are, I can now reveal my four and say, “We have a great list, and I’ve narrowed it down to these four tried and true steps. Notice that you’ve come up with some other useful ideas, and many of them can be linked to these four.”

Of course now I can have the group script out a good call opening and practice it, and the learners will do very well because they feel that the content they’re working with is all their own thinking. When people believe they are practicing their own ideas, they are more likely to buy in, and that is why self-discovery is the most effective way to teach.

Next time you put a Power Point deck together, think about how you will present it.  Hide your slides and prep your audience for the next slide by asking them to solve a problem or make a list of best things to do.  Now when you reveal the “right” answers, you’ll have engagement and commitment.  Try it.

Teaching your learners is like selling to your customers, and you know you have to

 Think Like Your Customer

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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