I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of that line. The relationship just wasn’t working, nothing really objectionable, but for some reason, we just didn’t click.
When training, sometimes, no matter how well prepared you are, how stunning your presentation, or sparkling your delivery, you and your audience don’t connect. Even though you have used the material before and it has never failed, this time you could be talking to statues.
The hard truth is; it is you. Somewhere along the line you may have forgotten to check in on your audience to find out not only what they need to know, but who they are, and how they like to learn.
I had a client that needed to train the same topic in two different warehouse locations, one in New England, the other in a Mid-Atlantic State. Initially, she had determined that it would be a simple rework of the content used successfully in New England. But on further review, she discovered that there were cultural and educational differences plus one warehouse was a union shop – the other wasn’t. We ended up building fresh content tailored specifically for the new audience to achieve the same goal.
The outcome tells you what needs to be trained, knowing the audience tells you how to deliver the training. Because after all, it is you that makes it happen, not them.
I am dealing with this right now with a copywriting client. They haven’t exactly been clear on what they want (because they are working it out as we go) so I haven’t felt well-equipped to deliver what they need. The bottom line is – it’s our job as great communicators to ask the right questions until we get to the core…and then to deliver until we get the message right. This is sometimes hard when our egos are feeling bruised. It’s important to remember it doesn’t mean we’re no good at our jobs – we’re simply not asking the right questions.