News 9 of 11

Video Tape Yourself to Create Quick, Easy & Effective Training

(News Item #0269, Published: 06/02/95, IBBA.org)

So you've done some recruiting. You've found some good people. Some good veterans. Some good rookies. And even a few Immigrants (experienced business people from other industries).

And now you need to train them. Fast. And competently. Maybe you spend time role playing, or going on calls with them. You show them how to do write-ups and even send them to IBBA classes. You may have thought about writing a training manual. But keeping one up to date is a lot of work.

What's more. How much time do you have to spend training people knowing that a certain percentage of your recruits won't work out? And almost none of them will stay with your firm until they retire.

Stonemark University

My first attempt to keep everyone up to date, including clerks and secretarial staff as well as intermediaries was simply to conduct a training session once a week. We have been doing that, somewhat consistently, for years.

From a list of topics I simply pick one and then cover it in detail for about 2 hours. I don't have time to write a full book. But, if you know your stuff, its easy to blanket a topic.

The biggest challenge is to commit time every week. We do ours at night - currently Mondays when we are a bit fresh for the week. We buy a pizza, start promptly at 5pm and try to be out by 7pm.

Everyone seems to enjoy it and, if they don't, you have to question professionals who won't spend an extra 2 hours per week to master their craft. Would you want to see a professional sports team who didn't bother to practice? How would you feel getting operated on by a Doctor didn’t rehearse the procedure in advance many, many times?

Are you aware that Dental students spend hundreds of hours carving chalk to replicate carving teeth?

Odd how business people expect to be great without practice.

The College Problem

The only problem with Stonemark University is that it soon became time to repeat subjects. There were always new folks who needed to hear the basics. And long-time folks who needed refreshers.

Even on the most basic, mundane topics like mail processing, phone procedures and how to turn in an expense voucher for reimbursement takes lots of time when staff members don't know or follow the procedures.

But after so many performances I felt like a broken record often repeating the same stuff. I admire teachers greatly. Everyone loves Michael Jordan. But teachers are the real heroes in this world. You know that for sure when you have to teach the same stuff ... over ...and over again.

Put It On Tape

So, all of a sudden, one day it came to me. How about I bring in the home video camera, put it on a tripod and shoot the class.

Easy. Cheap. And if it looks bad, what the hell, you can always erase the tape. Nixon did.

But surprise, it looked pretty good. (Except it reminds me to diet) And as the months roll on we are putting together a long list of tapes that really show how we do things. Video is, without a doubt, the most persuasive medium every devised.

The average person can write by hand at about 30 words a minute. You can type at maybe 80 words a minute if you are a whiz.

But most of us (I a bit faster unfortunately) can talk at 300 to 400 words per minute. Scientists have proved that attentive people can maintain 80% retention of about 600 words a minute. That's flying.

The Frosting

So now when someone starts at the firm. We sit them down and make them watch tapes until they are blue in the face. They we make them watch the most important ones over again. If they make mistakes later their sentence is to watch tapes again.

(My brother once proposed that all crime in the world could be eliminated if we just forced people to sit through simultaneous sessions of “Its a small world” at Disneyland. One trip for misdemeanors. Two for felonies. Five for capital crimes. Then, in no time - no more crime).

Within just days the new comers really know the drill. They feel comfortable. They have spent time getting to know you. And see that what you do is sophisticated. That they had better buckle down if they expect to shine. They like the fact you have taken the time to prepare training. Just like real companies. (Usually bigger ones)

Busy Person's Training Shortcut

Best of all, as that new person sits in the conference reviewing tape ... you can be spending your time doing something far more crucial. Like getting projects. Servicing clients and closing deals.

And you can do it yourself. You can start tomorrow.

Bring in your home video camera. Schedule the sessions, film the training and accelerate your practice.