October 3, 2019

They have come to watch me bat not you bowl (WG Grace)

The legendary cricketer, and apparently massive egotist, WG Grace on being bowled first ball in a cricket match once famously, perhaps apocryphally, said They come to watch me bat not you bowl, implying that he should get a second chance!

I am reminded of this saying because, now that The High Performance Customer Insight Professional book is gaining traction, I am finalising the training programmes based on the book that are designed to help individuals with sensemaking, storytelling and turning insights into action.

DVL Smith has been running programmes in these areas for a number of years. But, we have recognised the need to respond to the changing balance between the provision of knowledge (they have come to see me bat!) and providing interaction, engagement and involving the audience (allowing the participants to bowl at you with their questions).

So, like all good training DVL Smith’s capability building programmes are broken down into mind-sized chunks with many opportunities for engagement and interaction from the audience. Clearly the days of the long lecturette and monologue are gone.

However, there does remain the challenge of finding the sweet-spot, as a capability training expert, for providing sufficient knowledge for the subsequent discussion to be a meaningful interaction based on a fundamental understanding the relevant content.

Where I have landed on this is to apply the 21 minute rule for each chunk of content that I am attempting to convey. The first seven minutes are for explaining the key principles (some of the theories behind the idea). The next seven minutes are about converting this into actionable substance (practical things that people can do to deliver these principles). And the final seven minutes is for answering questions from participants and helping them to apply this knowledge by suggesting best next move strategies.

Proceeding through a workshop in this way – particularly when the training is online – seems to hit the sweet-spot between knowledge output, practical application and engagement with the audience. But I would be interested to hear from other trainers about their recipe for getting the balance right between knowledge output, practical applications and answering questions.


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