How to Captivate Learners from the Git-Go

A good opening engages learners and entices them to move on into your Modlette.

You do this by fulfilling your first two roles as a trainer:

  • Empathize with your learner . . . tell him or her that you understand their fears and struggles, and you put your virtual arm around their shoulders.  When learners feel you understand their needs, they’re more likely to listen to your advice.
  • Point to a bright, sunny destination where clarity and understanding exist.  Tell them how their understanding of their job will improve if they follow your training.

Why Libby’s Opening Doesn’t Work

John is a management accountant who needs to make presentations to line managers.  Libby designs Modlettes for in-company training, she has decided to help John.  This is her opening statement:    There are many different ways to present financials.  Probably more than you think.

Of course, you can use just text or you can create a few quick graphs, Using Excel - But wouldn’t it be nicer to create original graphs?

There are a few problems with this paragraph:

  • The first sentence is an obvious statement.  Everyone knows there are many ways to present financials.  So, such a statement doesn’t make John curious.  Perhaps even worse, John might think that the rest of the Modlette is obvious, too, so reading it would be a waste of his time.  A good opening paragraph in READING sets the tone for your Modlette, and this opening is boring.
  • The question at the end of this opening doesn’t resonate with John either.  Creating original graphs is something Libby is interested in  . . she’s an artist as well.  But Libby’s perspective doesn’t matter as much as John’s and John doesn’t care about originality.  He just wants to stop boring his audience.
  • The big problem with Libby’s opening paragraph is that it does not engage John, there’s no reason for John to carry on.  How can Libby write a better opening . . . an opening that engages John and encourages him to move to the next step of the Modlette.

How to Captivate Learners with Opening Lines

Before you consider your opening, consider the purpose of the training and why your learner might be interested.  So, you’ll determine first:

  • The problem your training helps solve for the learner, in this case, John’s problem is that his audience gets bored when he’s presenting financials
  • The bright sunny destination that aligns with your learner’s needs; in this case Libby can promise John that he’ll learn how to engage and entertain his listeners . .. even with financial information.

We’ve all been there.

You’ve worked long and hard at your presentation.  You’ve carefully selected the highlights of the annual report.  You’ve kept your slides simple.

But when presenting, your colleagues look bored.  One is even yawning. Next week read how to transform your learner to a bright sunny destination.

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