In a recent 25 Creative Ways to Add Excitement to Your Training workshop, I enjoyed a very energetic conversation with the participants about motivational openings – cartoons, stories, facts, analogies, and even quotations – and how they can aid the learning process. For now, I'd like to focus on some key quotation sources. Whose quotations can I use anyway? I have a few ideas I'd like to share with you.
1. Famous People
You can quote presidents, entertainment celebrities, sports stars, historical figures, and even business leaders. Your participants will be drawn to what was said, and as a result, they'll be involved with your content. The use of a relevant quotation is a powerful instructional technique. Of course, the quotation doesn't need to be serious or intense. It can befunny or ironic, and that may actually grab the attention of your learners even more quickly.
One quotation I use when teaching presentation skills comes from old time radio comedian, Gracie Allen. She said, "When I was born, I was so scared, I couldn't talk for a year and a half.” Everybody has a good laugh, and we begin our delivery skills discussion.
You can quote rock bands, country bands, and even Broadway show tunes to get your point across. Your participants might have the song you quote on their MP3 player and some participants may even start singing. Use of a relevant lyric is a great memory tool. The quotation can be serious or funny, but use the "radio edit" version in class.
One lyric I like to use when talking about cost-benefit analysis comes from Kevin Cronin, lead singer of REO Speedwagon. When discussing ROI, I use the line from the song where he sings, "If you want to talk to someone, you've got to learn to speak to them in their own language.” This is very appropriate when talking about the impact of training on an organization. What does management look at to gauge success? Find out, and use those same reports to show the positive impact training has had.
3. Your Participants
Whenever I teach, I really listen to what is said in class. Some of those key moments are when participants say something so clearly or profoundly that you just want to repeat it...later.
One quotation I've used for years came from an instructional design participant who came to the realization that, "Training is not an event, it's a process.” I use this quotation in so many workshops that when I saw it as the tag line for a former participant's email, I was pleased to see just how powerful a quotation can be.
I've given you a glimpse into the use of quotations in the classroom. Feel free to explore the various quotation sites online to uncover some relevant gems for your content. Oh, did I mention that you can also quote yourself? When considering whether a quotation is appropriate, I always say, "Hey, it's a family show. Let's keep it that way.”