The topic of the February Lunch & Learn was "Delivering World Class Training to Global Audiences" but you could easily take off the "Global Audiences" and still be accurate.
Our speaker was Carlos Sanchez, President and CLO of Training Without Borders. Carlos is a professional speaker, author, and leadership development expert who has a deep breadth of experience delivering training to leaders all over the world. He understands how training is most effective when the audience has an emotional connection and being able to relate to your audience on a cultural level imparts immediate credibility, trust, and rapport to the trainer.
This is a pertinent point for every trainer because even if you aren't training people in another country you still have a "global" audience. How many of your classes have consisted of only English-speakers from Austin? Probably few. If you have even the smallest amount of experience delivering training your audience has been made up of people from all over the world, people of different ethnicities, and people whose first languages aren't English. Being able to relate to all of your learners is the first step towards delivering successful training.
This first step- knowing your audience, culturally- affects how you design your training. And "culture" doesn't just apply to race or geography, it applies to a company or enterprise culture as well. Training you deliver to Dell Financial Services is much different than training you conduct at Whole Foods. Training you give to sales staff is much different than training for engineers at the same company. Taking culture into account, be it the language your audience speaks or the business unit to which they belong, will affect most of what you say and do in your class and how well your audience responds to you. If you get it wrong you probably just wasted yours and everyone else's time.
One of the biggest reasons that training can fail is because of self-imposed constraints put in place by the trainer. A constraint occurs when the audience changes but the trainer refuses to adapt to those changes. We can be stubborn and insist that our training is just fine the way it is but in reality we have put up a roadblock to our own success.
Being able to adjust your training efforts to changes in your audience's cultural composition is so important that Carlos modifies the traditional ADDIE instructional design model to "CADDIE"- he adds "Culture" before the analysis phase of design and suggests incorporating it at the very beginning of the ID process. This adds one more way to guarantee success for yourself and your learners.
Carlos has some tips to help you gain quick credibility with any audience and I think these can apply to virtually any training, regardless of who your learners are:
1) It's all about your relate-ability
2) Maintain flexibility
3) Take total responsibility
4) Clean up your English
5) Explain acronyms or eliminate them altogether
6) Eliminate slang and jargon
7) Respect politics and religion
8) let go of political correctness
These tips and adding cultural considerations at the beginning of the instructional design process can be applied to any training program to make it more well-rounded and add trust and credibility for you, the trainer. A big thank you to Carlos for speaking at our Lunch and Learn!