3 Tips for Marketers Developing Training Materials
Whether it is the launch of a program, campaign, product, or instructional how-to’s, as marketers we’ve most likely developed training materials and conducted training sessions for members of our organizations. Often we are immersed in our own internal jargon and may have a tendency to view training as a chore versus what it really is, an opportunity to connect in a creative way. Developing the right kind of training materials (well-done and engaging) is essential in helping others understand and connect with your messages. However, like most activities, it is always easier said than done.
Three tips to read before you write or design anything:
- DESIGN TRAINING MATERIALS WITH THE AUDIENCE IN MIND
To get started, begin with the ending. What are the key takeaways for your training audience? What will they walk away knowing? What will need to take place in order for that to happen? What materials are necessary to support the learning process? Think about the format of the training– is it self-led or guided? The materials created for a self-led training would be much more detailed and comprehensive if there isn’t an instructor to explain it. For instructor led training, the accompanying materials should support what the instructor is teaching rather than be the exact same material read out loud.
- MAKE IT AS ENGAGING AS POSSIBLE
Have fun with creating your training materials. Seriously. Put yourself in the trainees place. If you have a good time during the development process, it will translate during the training. If you think your slides are ugly or confusing, then your audience probably will too. Are your materials text-heavy? Remedy this by adding in some photos, and some strategically placed, good-natured humor to break up the monotony.
We don’t learn well by being lectured at for long periods of time. Trainees might hear what you’re saying, but it is quickly forgotten as the audience mentally checks out. Explore ways to further involve your training audience by creating exercises, such as group participation, a question and answer session or writing prompts. It doesn’t need to be complex either; sometimes it is as simple as creating space to share their reflection on what’s been presented. It supports the learning process by personally connecting them to the training material.
Think about what formats would best support your key takeaways – does your audience have a shorter than average attention span? Work with those limitations rather than against them. Try adding relevant video clips, or MP3s that further reinforce the training while engaging different parts of the brain. Keep them interested and off their smartphones.
- SIMPLIFY, SIMPLFY, SIMPLFY
There is power in simplicity. Everyday we’re exposed to an overwhelming amount of information. By making training content easier to absorb we end up saving our sanity.
When training material is written, use plain language whenever possible. If jargon is necessary, be sure to define it ahead of time. If complex slide ware is the issue, try using the build feature to break down concepts and diagrams in an easier to digest manner. Review your training materials with a trusted outsider, and pay attention to their feedback in terms of simplicity.
Next time you are tasked with creating and conducting training, step outside your comfort zone and get creative, be engaging, and simplify your materials. On behalf of trainees everywhere, we thank you.
Author: Erin Kelley @MsErinKelley is Vice President, Professional Development and Enablement for ANNUITAS