Tips To Get Out of a Training Rut

Tips to Get Out of a Training Rut

Episode 55

It happens to all of us at one time or another. Just like writers experience the dreaded block, trainers and educators fall into a training rut. Join us as we share tips and personal experiences that have helped us get out and stay out of the rut.

Host(s): Jonathan Saar from Market Me Social and Mark Howell from Howl Creative Concepts

Show Highlights

The word rut can be defined as a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change. We are creatures of habit. While not necessarily a bad thing, a habit that turns into redundancy will quickly affect the quality of what we are trying to present or teach. 

Key Questions/Topics Covered

How can a trainer get into a rut?

It can be easy to think: your material hasn’t changed, so why should your presentation? And therein lies the rut. Picture this: You are training all over the country. You have been presenting the same topic for quite some time now, but one day you are up on stage and realize you are boring yourself. If you are bored, what about your audience?!

Does this mean you need to scrap your entire presentation and start over from scratch? No! It’s just time to freshen things up. Do additional research and look for updated statistics. Read about your topic from different authors to gain different perspectives and approaches. Ask your audience for feedback. All of these steps can help keep your presentation relevant and exciting.

How can a trainer get out of a rut?

It’s time to cozy up to the next generation. Get to know the younger ones in your audience and snoop around. What is current? What is working? What we are teaching may still be relevant, but the way we teach may need to be updated to embrace different learning styles.

Another resource is to ask the consumers about their experiences. Make it a point to touch base with the customers of your team. What did they like/dislike about their recent sales experience? These interviews can help you create an even more targeted approach to your training. For example, what are their feelings about having a long sales call via the phone? Perhaps they are like many others and would prefer messaging instead. Knowing this can help you adjust your training and target what’s needed. In this case, a focus on technology and ways to gather information via messaging or AI.

Another step to help you as a trainer get out of your rut is to be sure to take a moment to reflect on your audience. They have carved out a portion of their day to come and listen to you, and you have the privilege to teach them. Remembering this will help you stay motivated to always bring your best and do the additional work needed to stay invested in your training techniques.

What are some skills a trainer should look into?

As trainers and educators, we should be devoted to our education and growth. Investigate new learning methods and styles. We recommend taking a moment to check out https://www.liberatingstructures.com/ to see a truly unique approach to teaching. This is just one example. There are many different perspectives and approaches to training. Make it a goal to set aside regular time to do personal research so you never stop advancing as an educator.

A point of caution. We talk a lot about stepping out of comfort zones, and while this is a good practice, we need to be careful. We want to grow and try new things but never to the detriment of our audience. So be sure that whenever you are embarking on something new that you are very familiar and comfortable with it before presenting in front of an audience. Get in front of that mirror or have a colleague help you round out any rough edges.

So are you ready to grab a shovel and dig yourself out? Use these tips, seek out honest feedback from peers and be ready to educate your next audience.

Class dismissed!

Jonathan (00:15): Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 55 of the Juvohub podcast. I am your host, Jonathan Saar, and having fun with me today again is Mark Howell from Howl Creative Concepts. So thank you again for being on this show. You can subscribe to the show on YouTube. If you look search for it, Juvohub, you can become a subscriber there. And we appreciate those who are using the video version of this episode for training purposes in your own organization. But if you're a podcast person, you can subscribe in any of the podcasts, the main ones that are out there. Apple, Google, Android, Pandora, you know, you name it, we're on all of 'em. Please subscribe and follow us there, and you'll be able to keep in touch and on our socials too. Remember if you haven't followed us on Instagram, we post a lot of micro content there, short little snippets of tips and tricks related to the training industry and things that you can do to improve yourself. So follow us at Juvohub on Instagram. So today, Mark and I are gonna be talking about a rut, like what happens when you've been a trainer for whatever time period and you feel like you've got yourself into a rut. What do you do about it now? How do you know if you're in a rut? You know, I guess that's probably even a, another question. Maybe we can talk about Mark. So what are our objectives for today? Mark? What are we talking about today?

Mark (01:39): Yeah, absolutely. So first and foremost how can a trainer get into a rut? And then how can a trainer get out of that rut would be second. And then what are some skills that a trainer could look into? So interesting topics and look, I think you and I, from our world in training and speaking, we've obviously found ourselves at some time in a rut, so good, good topic.

Jonathan (02:05): Yeah. Yeah, it happens to all of us, you know, just maybe the subject I think is one of the things that first comes to my mind for that one question, Mark, like, how can a trainer get into a rut? What are you doing with your topic? So say you have a subject that you are teaching all over the country, or you are the training director for your property management company, and you're traveling from property to property and you're teaching that same class. You can bore yourself, you know, it's like you're saying the same thing over and over and over again, you are just repeating it. You're kind of just going through the motions and going from slide to slide and you can easily find that you can get into a rut just because you're teaching that same topic. What do you think of that, Mark?

Mark (03:00): Yeah, absolutely. Look, it does happen especially like let's face it. Property management has certainly changed over the, the 24 years that I've been in this industry. From the days that I started in leasing to today, me training some of the leasing consultants that are out there, look times have changed. And the same content isn't, well, let me say it like this, it's still relevant. If we're all doing the same thing that even I did 24 years ago, but some of the steps and some of the processes, or maybe some of the technology has changed and it can make the job easier or smoother or more interesting. And so yeah, you know, look you can find yourself needing to get, get out of a rut when it comes to training the same kind of content over and over and over again.

Jonathan (03:53): Yeah. Yeah. And I think too, if you're, and you and I have talked about this a few times, sometimes if you're not in touch with what's going on, you can find yourself into a rut. Like it doesn't mean you have to rewrite your, your presentation or your teaching topic and start from scratch. But what is new? Like what is happening? Like find some new stats or, you know, read a book on it from a different author or anything. Those types of things will help you. If, you know, you find yourself that you're getting into a rut when you're, you know, not freshening up your content and your material. So that kind of easily leads - we know it can happen. Like what, what are some things that you've done Mark? And I'd like to share some too, when I felt like I was getting into a training rut, what were some best practices and tips that you can share to help our help our distinguished trainers and speakers out there today.

Mark (04:53): So for me again, spending 24 years in this and as things have changed - and I love to joke about, as I've gotten older, I love to keep myself around young people. I love to make new young friends. If they'll have me, you know, like sometimes they'll look at me like, why is this old guy still lingering in the conversation? And then other young people embrace me and we become lifelong friends. So I love sort of snooping around the younger generations to find out what is current, what is working because what I do know, and what I have embraced is that times have changed. And what I once taught years ago might still be relevant, but it did need to change. And so I ask them, what is working, what isn't working, what do you guys do? How is it that you're communicating?

Mark (05:43): What style do the customers want? But it's not just asking them. I also ask the consumers. So in any time that I can, when I'm out on site, or I try to create surveys that go out to the consumers about sort of the sales process, what did you experience? What did you enjoy? But asking questions for me is the best education that I can give myself. Because honestly, they're the ones that know they're going to tell you what they're most interested in. You know, look, it's fascinating to me that we can, I'm gonna take the telephone as an example, I do more of my training for onsite employees and the basics of, you know, a telephone sort of sales pitch or process. But, you know, a lot of times people are telling me that a lot of the consumers today don't want long drawn out conversations over the telephone anymore, which is pretty true.

Mark (06:42): This younger generation would rather text you than they would rather talk to you on the phone. Right? And so now we've had to integrate all of this new technology where some of the AI are actually doing more of the selling and are gathering the information from the systems that you're using then to have a more educated conversation with your consumer. Right? So it's all about that understanding, like what's your demographic, are they more savvy? And what can we learn from the way that they're shopping today, they will tell you what they want. And so you have to be able to change your training style and even your content to adapt with the times and change with the times.

Jonathan (07:29): Yeah, no, that's spot on, man. I love all of that. And it just, it, we can never put ourselves in a framework as a trainer or as a speaker that you know, we've got the gospel on any particular topic. You know, it's always good to have different perspectives and keep things fresh, keep things well researched. And even I think our mindset, you know the times where I felt like I was kind of in a rut from a speaking perspective, I forgot about my audience. I did, I literally did. I thought, you know what, I'm bored with this. Like, how are they?

Jonathan (08:16): Who wants to hear all this nerd stuff about making web sites and tracking analytics? And like, I, what I forgot about my audience, like I wa- I was thinking it only from my perspective and it's taken me many times over, over my career just to stop. And remember that I have the privilege of dispensing a gift. The gift is knowledge. The gift is explanation. The gift is helping someone feel comfortable with something, no matter what it is, the gift is there, these are gifts that we are passing on to people, and I've had to make sure that I have kind of like that focus that perspective before going out on stage before getting on a webinar like this to taking a look at that audience and realizing they are taking, they have sectioned out time in their day to come hear me speak. And, you know, so that reminder has always, always been helpful to me to make sure or that I'm just not like, Okay, yep, this is my job going out here now talk about nerd stuff. This is gonna be great. You know I know this stuff black and white upside down. I don't, you know, get out of that that funk, I guess. Right. You know, just thinking about your audience, you know, is that you, what do you think of that? You concur with that?

Mark (10:04): You know what, yeah, I was just thinking about something you and I talked about personally, about yourself when, even about the way you wanted to sort of loosen up your style on our show. Yeah. You said to me, oh, my wife's been telling me I gotta loosen up, you know, like you call it nerd stuff. Like, you say this nerd stuff and you're, you know, you're all buttoned up and that was your perceived image, you know? Right. Like you used to intimidate me before I got to know you, cause I was like, this dude is so much smarter than me. He is not gonna wanna talk to me. Then we worked together and I realized, wow, there's so much we can learn from each other. And we are just different. Our styles are different. That doesn't mean that someone's not interested.

Mark (10:51): But what I loved about you is that you said, I need to loosen up and now look at you. You don't even have on a tie. You're all, you know, comfortable. And so I think that's what it takes. You know, when you're in a rut, you have to look at yourself and say, what can I do that takes me out of my own comfort zone to be more relatable or to say like, I'm willing to unbutton this button so I can be perceived as more approachable. But you know, it's funny. It's not just for speakers or trainers. This I think is what we can do to ourselves, just in business in general. You know, really taking a look at yourself and asking what is the one thing that I could do to change myself, either my style or my personal image that makes me more comfortable or more related. And if you can embrace that, then you're on a great path.

Jonathan (11:44): Yeah. Yeah. Very good. Yeah. Thank you. I remember that conversation. That was, that was hilarious. And yeah, it's like, that's, I guess that's part of the discovery process. Like you really have to be honest with yourself to see what what's causing the issue. And I think it's unique to every trainer, to every speaker it'll happen, be aware that it's going to happen and, you know, seek council from fellow speakers and once feel that you're comfortable with, they'll be able to help and perhaps give you some tips and help you get out of that. But yeah. Yeah. Very, very good. All right. So let's move on to something probably a little bit more deeper and what are some skills or concepts that a trainer could look into and I, and I'll kick us off Mark.

Jonathan (12:41): So a real close friend of mine who is like one of the best instructional designers I've ever met. She shared this website with me. So for our listeners, please take a moment and write this down, it will be in the show notes, of course, but I want you to look up Liberating Structures dot com, Liberating Structures dot com. I had never heard of this before. I really need to take some time to digest what's on this site, but it's amazing. And we bring this up as an example of kind of like what we just talked about. Like, what do we need to do to get out of a rut? We need to discover, like, what are some other methods of training people like we're used to maybe there's the conventional, the conventional power, the conventional here's my 30 minute session. Even our show is very conventional, right?

Jonathan (13:42): Its, title, objectives, takeaways, you know, there's nothing, nothing grandiose about it, but that's what we've been used to as educator. That's typical. So I guess that's what we want you as our audience to think about is like, what is out there? What are some other educational styles from other cultures or websites like this that, that you have used and this site liberatingstructures.com. I'll be honest with you, it gave me a headache when I read that first page, but it's something that I feel in order for me to progress as a trainer and as an educator that I need to dive into, and this applies to speakers, it applies to those who make e-learning content it's across the board, whatever genre as an educator, you are, you know, how they recommend that you take a look at this site just to understand, just to read about this concept.

Mark (14:48): Yeah. I agree with the educating yourself on new ways of doing things, you keep referring to PowerPoints, and I'll tell you, Jonathan, we might be dating ourselves by continuing to say that. I was with a client recently and had a PowerPoint that I had done. And it was for some onsite team members. And one of the younger marketing people took the presentation and threw it into Canva and sent it back to me like a day later or two days later. And it looked so different. And I was like, what do you mean you did this in Canva? She was like, yeah, like I use Canva, I don't even know what PowerPoint is. Right? And I say all that, because it was funny to me to think that here, this young person was that knew how to take my content through it, into Canva.

Mark (15:41): And I'll be honest. It looked amazing. It was beautifully done. And so I really like that, that advice you, we need to embrace looking at different solutions. I also think that's one of those things where you have to get out of your comfort zone. You know, you have to look at your style, what you've been doing and try to embrace something that you find that you like now, the tricky part about that is that do something that you are comfortable with, because for me, there's gonna be nothing more uncomfortable for your audience than for you to be fumbling with technology or this new style of presentation. And it make you look unorganized. That's tricky for me too, because I don't typically like to embrace things that I don't feel a hundred percent comfortable with.

Jonathan (16:30): Yep. No, I, that is such a awesome example, Mark. I totally love that. You know, I discovered that about Canva when I first started using it, I'm like, this is way cooler than PowerPoint, you know, like, holy cow, you can do some really, really fun things. And yeah, I mean, just technology as an option to kind of get you out of that rut, you know, learning that and being able to use some new cool graphics and imagery and things along that line is fantastic. You know, so I guess that's our point. It's like, look for those ways, you know, I have like an RSS feed. I still use Feedly and I know I'm gonna be dating myself with that tool, but I love all my RSS feeds of different authors and bloggers that keep me on my toes. So maybe you use something different, maybe you just subscribe and you get 'em by email, but the point is be out there and educate yourself and look for other ways that you can learn from other educators that are out there, look for different aisles and why does it work and listen to their, their tips and tricks. And those are some things too that can help you get out of that rut and you know, build on your own skillset. So, absolutely.

Jonathan (17:49): Yeah. So cool, cool little topic, getting in a training rut, how to get out of a training rut, and we'd love your feedback and comments, like please share 'em with us. Like, what are your tips for when you've been in a rut as a teacher, as a speaker, as an educator? Like what do you do? What's your method? Please share it with us. We'd love to be able to share that on a future episode. And definitely our community would love to hear it on our different social channels. So thank you everyone for being here, Mark Howell from Howl Creative Concepts, how can they connect with you, Our audience, my friend?

Mark (18:23): Yes, absolutely. So it's Howl Creative Concepts dot com. Howl is spelled H OW L yeah, but Howl Creative Concepts dot com.

Jonathan (18:31): Yeah. Awesome. And if you're listening to this show on the podcast, you're on YouTube for the first time, you can go to our website, Juvohub dot com, Juvohub dot com. And if you love this material, we thank you so much for being our audience. Please share it. Please give us that thumbs up on YouTube. Give us a review on your favorite podcast station. And we'd love to hear from you, if you have any discussion topics or particular things that you would like to hear talked about on our show. And we'd love to have you on the show. So reach out to us for that too. So this has been episode number 55 of the Juvohub podcast. Thank you everyone for being here until next time, class dismissed.

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