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Do You Need to “Warm Up” Before Learning New Information?

Studies have shown that what you do before you learn is almost as important as the actual learning process.
Athletes warm up before doing their sport. Pilots flight-check before their airplane is ready to fly. Why wouldn’t the same concept be applied to our professional training from our company?
It’s why schools promote eating a healthy breakfast at the beginning of the day. It’s why universities provide students with a syllabus, so they can anticipate what they will be learning. The preparation for learning is essential. How does this relate to your corporate training?
Getting your employees ready to learn something new is paramount to the success of the training. In other words, teach them how to learn, so they’ll be ready when the opportunity presents itself.
The Build Up
Marketing experts know something that most business owners don’t: anticipation builds results. Movie producers understand this. They release previews, trailers, and sneak peeks weeks before a movie hits the big screen. For blockbuster movies, the anticipation can lead to hundreds of people lining up hours (or even days) before the movie opens for the chance to see it first.
The anticipation and engagement that builds up is what drives people to go across town and pay top dollar to see the movie. When it comes to staff training and development, the same principle applies. Want to improve the success of your development programs? Build anticipation.
Let your creative side shine. Use posters, emails, countdowns, videos; the sky’s the limit on how you can build anticipation around your upcoming training. Remind employees of the event and show them how excited you are to participate.
The Preparation
Most employees want training and development to help improve their skills and keep up with the changes in their industry. In fact, 87% of millennialsfeel as though professional development is very important to their career success.
Most employers offer some form of staff development. But there is a disconnect between the training and its effectiveness. What is missing? Pre-training. Pre-training allows the employee to be ready to learn. You can help get employees in a learning mindset by answering the questions they have about the training.
Is my mind open to learning this new information? How will it help in my professional life? Will this new training be able to help me with my “out-of-work” life too? What will I learn? Why is this training important?
Many times, employees feel as though trainings are a waste of their time and they won’t learn anything of value. Or they view it as a mini-vacation away from the day-to-day responsibilities of their job. If you can get their mind “warmed up” for the training, it will be far more effective.
The Questions Your Employees May Have
How will this help me? Does the training relate to their current job? Is it based on a new skill they’ll need in the future? Tie the training to company goals and inform the employees on how this will help them meet their individual goals.
How can I prepare? Are there things the employee should do in anticipation of this training? What is the baseline of understanding they should have going into the development course? Are there materials they should read or activities they should complete? How will this training help them within their role in the company? Give them the information in preparation to help them get in the right mindset for learning.
Pre-training can help increase employee engagement during training opportunities. It directs their focus, demonstrates that corporate leadership is taking the event seriously and allows them to prepare for learning.
Want to improve the results from your next staff development event, product training day or strategic planning initiative? Try adding a pre-training workshop and evaluate the difference.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea™. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.

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