Grab 'Em By Their Hearts

Greatness comes from inspiring others to act. When you inspire ONE officer, the ripple effect, perhaps unseen by you, touches countless others ...and so you go on working forever.


Why should you care whether your training inspires officers? Because information without inspiration is wasted time. A lot of training is based on the myth that: Information + Information = Something of Value. It doesn't. Information + Information = Zilch, unless officers or recruits are inspired to respond, change, or do something with the information.

In traditional training, the trainer usually prepares by:

  1. Selecting (or being assigned) a topic.
  2. Gathering information about the topic.
  3. Presenting the information.

How do we train so officers and recruits change or do something in response? A lot of experts agree such change occurs on an emotional level. Corporate America certainly thinks so--look at advertising and marketing. They've even boiled the experts' agreement down to a slogan: Facts Tell, Feelings Sell. Companies get us to buy their services or products by connecting with our emotions. We need to do the same to get officers and recruits to buy into training. We can't just provide information to recruits and officers. We must also grab their hearts and inspire them. Inspirational trainers:

  1. Decide what they want recruits or officers to do.
  2. Gather the information they need to do it.
  3. Present the information so they are inspired to do it.

Step 1 puts the learner at the center of the training content. Step 2 is self-explanatory. But without Step 3, our training is just information of no value. The preceding three-step training formulas were adapted from Taking Center Stage--Masterful Public Speaking Using Acting Skills You Never Knew You Had, by Debbie Gottesman and Buzz Mauro.

The Science of Inspiration

About 25 years ago, Dr. Albert Morabian conducted a famous and oft-cited study at UCLA. He and his researchers concluded that communication is made up of:

  • 7% WHAT we say
  • 38% HOW we say it--tone of voice, pitch, modulation, etc., and
  • 55% NON-VERBAL STUFF--body language, gestures, demeanor.

93% of the communication in your training is not what you say--the information -- but how you say it: your voice and body language. This has incredible implications for trainers.

How do you prepare to train? Do you spend nearly all your time on what you're going to say? Get it perfect and you're 7% on the way to anything of value. That's why some of the most genius experts can make terrible trainers. How much time do you spend on how you're going to say what you're going to say? How much time do you spend preparing your body language, gestures and demeanor? And, what do you think impacts how you speak and use your body the most--your mind or your heart?

Find Your Passion

Inspirational trainers aren't necessarily the best spoken, the highest educated, the smartest or smoothest. But they all have one thing in common--heart, a passion for their officers and the training. You can have plenty of purpose for your training--measurable goals and objectives. And you can have mastered principles of your training--adult learning theory and instructional methodologies. But if you haven't found your passion, your training will remain pedestrian. It will lack the heart necessary to inspire others.

When you find your passion, express it. A recruit recently told me,

They won't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

Inspiration Takes Perspiration

Once the decision of what to say has been made, many trainers simply review their outline, PowerPoint, or other instructional materials. Plenty of trainers never even say the words out loud until they are in front of officers or recruits. But having something in your head and being able to do it in real life under real pressures are very different things. Isn't that the big push behind scenario-based training? Most of us have come to understand the critical importance of scenario-based training. But how many of us practice what we preach and scenario train for training itself?

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