I have discovered that trainers consistently introduce their sessions with an objective and overview/agenda. However, they often miss the mark when highlighting the benefits, also known as WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)! It is critical that we communicate the benefits when we introduce the session. Adult learners are always asking the question, “Why do I need this and how will this help me?” As trainers, we must be prepared to address these questions as soon as possible. Addressing the benefits during the introduction of the session becomes your hook. It can potentially increase buy-in from “vacationers and prisoners,” and reinforce the relevance for “explorers,” while minimizing difficult situations.
All learning contains the seeds of opportunity. However, this needs to be communicated. We can communicate the benefits by simply stating them, or we can use any of the following four instructional techniques:
1. Personal Stories – Sharing personal experiences can influence the WIIFM factor with your learners. Using stories helps create an emotional connection with your learners.
2. Analogies – Analogies can truly breathe life into the WIIFM factor, by hooking the learners and drawing them in. I once heard that a five-minute analogy can equal sixty minutes of lecture.
3. Facts and Statistics – In our world of digital information, many learners want instant proof of effectiveness. Being armed with facts and statistics can surely substantiate your credibility and the relevance of the material. However, it is important to be clear about your source.
4. Questions – Simply asking a question can be powerful. Asking the learners to tell you how the content will benefit them, allows them to critically think and personalize their responses. It aids in reinforcing buy-in when they can articulate the benefits for themselves. It also aligns with the message, “Never tell the learners what they can tell you,” encouraging learners to take responsibility for their own learning.
As trainers, the above techniques are not new; we use them all the time. However, it’s important to know that we can also use them in this context as a “hook” to address the benefits when the course is being introduced. It is also wise to thread these techniques throughout your course content for continuous reinforcement.
I’ve listed my four favorite instructional techniques. What techniques do you use to hook your learners?