Intro's and Questions
Your introduction, sets the entire tone for a training session.
The questions you ask make all the difference in whether or not you create intrigue and relevance.
For today, we will look at examples of introductions and questions for opportunities to up our game when delivering a dynamic, impactful training session. To kick things off, there is a link to a Ted Talk. It is a spoof on Ted Talks and quite hilarious, however, pay attention to the different attention grabbers he uses in it. Although intended as humor, they are clear examples for how we can use questions and how we can engage our audience.
Video Link: Ted Talk
When introducing a topic, we all understand the implications of short-attention spans and how difficult it can be to re-engage an audience if you’ve lost them after the first few minutes. But there are several components to keep in mind, beyond just a strong hook.
Get the audiences attention first, introduce yourself second (during a first meeting).
This is for when you are doing a one and done session, or introducing yourself to a group for the first time. We often begin by introducing ourselves, our background, and a compelling argument for where we add value. This is important, but you can elevate it by introducing yourself AFTER you have the audience hooked.
Open with your compelling story, question, or short activity.
Summarize the main point
Now, introduce yourself based on your experience with the topic. Instead of the standard intro, you can introduce your role within context of the topic and share your experiences training this topic.
This keeps the audience engaged and establishes your credibility without derailing the momentum
The introduction should be informative + captivating.
Think of the introduction like an “amuse bouche”. An amuse-bouche or amuse-gueule is a single, bite-sized hors d'œuvre, that is intended to be a small "teaser” to the appetizers and main course. This is what a good introduction should do.
Capture there attention with a thought provoking question, short story, or experiential activity. This should not last more than 2-3 minutes. Get in, get out, get moving.
One of my favorites is a good story. However, know your audience. The younger the audience the more they need to move. Below are some examples
“When should you be patient vs. when you should look to try something new?”
“Why is it that some individuals appear motivated, while others appear resistant to learning?”
Stories should be short and to the point.
As you gain experience, you’ll be able to share direct insights on a topic
Ex: When working with NCAA combine athletes, I like to share stories of the draft and what gets discussed.
Experiential exercises are a great way to capture their attention and set the tone for the day.
I enjoy attention-based exercises because they can be applied almost universally.
Ex: Focusing meditation to illustrate how our attention works. At the conclusion of the exercise I can highlight the key components of our attention that they experienced during the exercise and then discuss the intent of that session.
The audience should know the benefit to them.
This may seem straightforward, but it’s not. Our audiences really need things spelled out for them. They need to know what is it in for them. Does this mean everyone will be excited? No. But it’s good practice to get into. Below are a few ways to help us identify the W.I.F.M. (What’s in it for me) or the B.L.U.F. (Bottom Line):
Research the audience ahead of time (Surveys, Discussions with leadership, etc.)
Reflect on similar groups and how they stated what they found beneficial
Anything we can do here ahead of time is a big win.
When it comes to questions, this is what will separate you from your peers. We want to move away from the “aspirational” questions during team training and move to questions that are more immediate and relevant.
Ask questions that present immediacy and create urgency. Instead of asking questions such as:
What makes a great leader?
Why are mental skills important? What do great performers do?
We can shift our questions this way:
What do you want out of your coaches? What do you want from your captains?
When you think back on your performances, what mental skill have your relied on the most?
What does great look like for this team?
TO BE CLEAR…it is NOT that the first questions are not compelling, but I see way to many young professionals leave it there. They keep it aspirational and they lose perspective on why they are engaging in that conversation to begin with. Eventually we want to train a skill or train leadership, so let’s just get straight to it. Second, from a motivation perspective more athletes will be motivated to address an issue that is immediately pressing vs. aspiring towards something that isn’t.
Urgency is one of the top factors for behavior change. Urgency trumps aspiration. Food for thought.
Going forward, the main point here is to just be thoughtful with how you craft your questions. There are no right or wrong questions, just be sure you are reflecting on the types of responses you would be getting based on the questions you ask.
Ask questions that allow the audience to defend your strategies. When you finish training a skill, don’t ask the following:
Do you think this skill could help you? Or any variation of it. Don’t leave it up to chance. If you didn’t think this skill could help, you wouldn’t have trained it.
Ask this instead:
Where do you see this skill helping you the most?
Ask about what they learned. This question has turned into one of my favorites, because I still have no idea what to expect, which is fun.
What is one thing you learned today? Or what is one thing that you are taking away from today?
This is a great way to learn what they learned and two insights into your teaching. I’ve had plenty of individuals over the years say they were still unsure. That has led to many meaningful follow-ups where I could clarify questions they had.
THE PATH AHEAD
We packed a lot into today’s topic, but I didn’t want to leave these out. As you go forward and we look back at this month, keep the following concepts in mind:
Make question development part of the brainstorming process
Have a strong introduction
Designing can feel overwhelming, but keep the objectives in mind
If you are feeling stuck, shift gears away from theory and focus on your audience needs. From there, you can think about what approaches may address those needs. It keeps things fresh and allows us to be more creative with what skills we may teach together at any one time to provide fresh training sessions.
Lastly, I never touched on this. We will it more in a later discussion, but I’ll leave you with:
Have fun. No matter who you are speaking to, whatever you are providing them is more than what they have. Be yourself, have fun!
A Few Announcements
Slight change to our social hour time tomorrow! I’ll send a separate reminder. We are meeting at 8 CST, not 7 CST tomorrow. Hope you all can still make it!
Tomorrow!!! Social Hour and Meet-Up
This month’s social hour is going to be January 24th at 8pm CST. Catch-up, share ideas and engage with peers! I will send a separate email with this event an link for everyone next week as well.
Our Community Resource Library is Now Up!!!
This will continue to expand, but below is the link for the first crop of resources for the community. Eventually courses and other training opportunities will be available, but hopefully you find some of these resources useful: