Best Practice Graduate Development Strategies
In a four part series, the team at DBL have put together a comprehensive ‘best practice’ guide to graduate development. Although by no means exhaustive, the series is a great resource and useful ‘how-to’ for graduate managers both new to the industry, and for veterans looking for new or fresh ideas to enhance their existing program, enjoy!
Part 2 – Delivering Workshops for Generation Y Graduates
If there’s one thing Gen Y grads have taught us, it’s that as facilitators we need to always be on our toes and constantly looking for new ways deliver content in an exciting and engaging manner. Gen Y grads can force you to learn some habits and skills in training that will make you an effective communicator and workshop facilitator for any generation. They will push you to be better and better at things that are important to everyone, and all this is a good thing because it won’t be long before we’re writing blogs on how best to run workshops for Gen Z/I grads…and that’s a scary prospect!
So that said, here are 5 simple best practices to consider in designing the content and delivery of graduate workshops and sessions. Use these when you need to deliver sessions or when you are reviewing sessions being run by your team or by external providers.
1. Authenticity is king
The greatest communicators on the planet are so because they’re authentic. Open up, be yourself and show your true colours. Being ‘real’ is the first step to establishing credibility, rapport and an environment conducive to learning and growth. Yes you are representing your company, but you are also representing yourself. Your grads want to know who you are, so relax and show them who you are using personal stories, experiences and your own authentic style.
2. Keep it moving
Over 100,000,000 videos are watched on Youtube every day and the average length is just 2 1⁄2 minutes! That’s a lot of short videos and your grads are watching them every day. Attention spans are shrinking because finger-tip access to multiple information and stimulus points is normal. Where possible, design your session in small blocks of time that are an average of 10-12 mins. This will help you keep their attention and keep it moving.
3. Learn from Social Media
Let’s start with Facebook as an example. People of all generations spend an enormous amount of time on the social network giant. Facebook currently has over 845 million active users, most of whom spend over 20 minutes on the site per visit. Australia (Oceania) currently ranks second in the world with 37.7% of the population regularly using Facebook (behind North America with over 50%). Why such massive penetration? Because the people behind Facebook realise that to engage people of all ages they must provide multiple delivery methods, and they do it really well ... photo’s, games, videos, live chat, profiles, links, articles, events, groups, the list goes on. Engaging grads in a workshop is similar ... music, videos, games, discussions, stories, activities, the possibilities go on. Create an environment that engages your grads by using multiple delivery methods.
With this generation’s reputation for disregarding authority, your grads may not assume that just because you are training them on a subject that it is actually important. Crazy, I know, as if you have time to be doing anything that isn’t important (!). Be deliberate about communicating the WIIFM factor (What’s In It For Me) early in your session and throughout. Directly link whatever you are delivering to what they think is important to them. Sell it up. Make it clear and make it obvious. Not only will they listen more intently, but it will increase their chances of putting it in to action.
5. Don’t disengage 75%
There is a 25% chance you will disengage 75% of your audience if you design your content and delivery through your own personality style only. It’s widely recognised in many personality tools that there are 4 broad personality groups and this impacts how people process information. So, when you have designed your session, go back through it and ensure your content and delivery will speak to all 4 broad personality styles. For example, some grads will want clear results, outcomes and actions from your session above anything else. Others will need interaction, fun and a chance to talk in order to participate. Some grads will want process, stability and predictability in order to learn. While other grads will want statistics, expertise and logic in your session in order to trust. Ensure you build your content and delivery to engage everyone.
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