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It’s here now, and it’s here to stay. Why not take this time to refine your online training skills?

Do you need to go online with your presentations and courses’?  In real estate, we’re not doing any ‘live’ teaching. So, this is a great time, to adjust your communication and training strategy to reach out.

I’ve been doing webinars for years, and, I learned so much working with pros like Amy Chorew while I presented through National Association of Realtors doing business planning webinars. I really worked on my technique, and was always rated in the top three presenters.

Unfortunately, many of the Zoom training and presentations have been–shall I say it–boring! Here is what I learned from the best, the mistakes I’ve made as I’ve learned, and the strategies that will help you create effective online communications and training as we go forward.    

Today, you need to take your training courses online if you’re a

  • Trainer
  • Coach
  • Manager
  • Team leader
  • Salesperson

and in today’s world, we HAVE to communicate digitally–at least for awhile. The good news is that it forces us to get really good at this type of communication so we can reach more people more effectively. I hate it when I ask people what they think of webinars and they say that last PowerPoint presentation was

boring/dull/repetitive/ill-organized/no fun……..

But, if you’re skilled at presenting online, you can

  • Inform
  • Introduce
  • Sell
  • Increase your image

Webinars: An Easy Solution to Training

What can a webinar do? First, what it can’t do. Don’t expect it to  

Change people’s behavior (it’s not training. It’s education). Webinars are not the magic training bullet we’ve wished for. There are limited objectives you can accomplish by doing a webinar. But, I’ve discovered some methods to help ‘attendees’ internalize and apply what they’re learning (see my Train the Trainer sneak preview below).

Of course, the upside of a online training/webinar is that

  • People don’t have to travel to get to the an event
  • It’s very cost-effective
  • It puts you in front of new audiences
  • You can make it evergreen (record it and share it)

Some Basic Choices to Make Before You Start

  1. Your vehicle

Which company will you use to deliver your webinar? There are over 100 companies today offering some type of screen sharing. They range from free to $100+ a month. The free versions companies tout are for a limited number of viewers (usually 5-10). After that, figure on paying for the services. Among the most popular services are Zoom, GoTo Meeting, WebEx, and BrightTalk. Whatever you choose, pick a service that will be easy for you! Getting caught in the technicalities while you are trying to be a sparkling presenter is death by webinar.

  1. What’s your message?

Boy, this one seems so easy, and yet, it’s where most of us go way off the rails. Why? We try to do too much in too little time with too little organization! (Just like we do in ‘live’ classes). But, it’s more fatal digitally, because it is more challenging to hold people’s attention. So, the next few tips are critical to the success  of your training.

Decide on your topic. Is it something that would lend itself to a webinar? To find out, study webinars you’ve attended. Do some seem too wishy-washy to have been worth your time? Are some so full of facts and figures you snooze off?

Decide on your objectives. In other words, start with the end in mind.  What do you see, hear, and feel the attendees doing at the end of your presentation?

To write your objectives, start with this sentence,

As a result of this webinar, attendees will____________________________. Examples of objectives for a business planning webinar could be:

  • Understand the flow of the strategic business planning process
  • Be able to differentiate between a vision and a mission statement
  • Be able to pinpoint 3 areas of concern about their business from the previous year

After I’ve written my objectives, I know the basic structure of my webinar. I can prioritize those objectives and start arranging my webinar in the right presentation order.

Your Topic: Overview or Detailed?

Is your topic an overview, or is it more detailed? Decide on the scope of your topic, and your objectives, before going further.

Common webinar mistake: Either being so global there is little information, or being so detailed you lose the audience in facts and figures.

Sound Familiar?

If you’ve taken my Instructor Development Workshop or my online learning version, Train the Trainer, you’ve learned what objectives are and how to write and apply them in creating your training/presentation/digital class. 

After deciding on your desired delivery company, and drafting your topic and objectives, you’re ready for the next step. In the next blog, we’ll discuss best presentation methods–and common presentation mistakes.

See What a Digital Course Looks Like and How it’s Organized

Necessity is the mother of invention!!!! Oh, boy, have I learned that. I decided to put my distance learning program in new course software. In doing so, I’ve found out how to help people internalize important concepts and apply them to great, concrete, immediately-usable results. Here’s a sneak preview of my Train the Trainer program. It fulfills the requirement for attendees to teach clock hour approved courses in Washington state, and is accredited for 15 clock hours.

Train the Trainer Sneak Preview

In later posts, I’ll share some strategies I’ve found work really well in creating online presentations and courses that involve, inform, and entertain.

Mar
10

What’s Wrong with This Training?

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Here’s a ‘story problem’ (case study) from my train the trainer programs. See how you do….

What’s wrong with this training?

Most of us managers train……along with the other 100 things we have to do each day. Too often, we tend to ‘grab and go’……our training is not too well thought out–with good reason!

In my Instructor Development Workshop (live) and my online distance learning version of the course, Train the Trainer, I show attendees how to deliver their courses without droning through them.

case study

In case study, we create a situation that reflects real life. This case study can be rather long and complex. We use it to help students grapple with the ‘gray areas’ –just like we have to do in real life. 

What is a ‘case study’?

First, it isn’t what the attorneys tell us. It’s not a case that you, the instructor, talk through and give the answers. Instead, it’s a written situation that asks the students to come to several conclusions.

When is the case study used? It’s used toward the end of your course or module. 

What is the case study for?  To test the students’ judgment, understanding, and application of what you’ve taught.  

Who can (and should) use the delivery method (teaching method) of case study? Anyone who wants to ‘test’ students’ understanding, judgment, and ability to draw conclusions from the course. It’s great for mortgage lenders, title and escrow, attorneys, and home inspectors to use. in my classes, I ask students to create an appropraite case study for their course. 

What does a case study accomplish? It throws the accountability to the student. It lets the students interact, to team build, and to learn from each other. It shows you, the instructor, how well you’ve taught and what you need to review.

Here’s that case study for you. Take a look at the case study I use in my train the trainer courses to see how well students have internalized the concepts taught in my classes. I assign the case study at the end of one class, and we debrief in small groups and then generalize in the large group.  (And it  helps attendees see an example of a case study and how it is used–so they can create their own case studies easily and quickly).

How did you do? Could you name 10 things ‘Sally’ did wrong? 

Grab Great Teaching Methods

Get some new training strategies and step your training up to the next level. See my online program, Train the Trainer, in new course software. It’s fun to do and you learn great methods (plus I give you 8 ready-to-use teaching strategies).  

Take a Sneak Preview here.

When you look out at your audience, what do ou see? Not this, I hope!

Managers: Do they fall asleep when you start your meetings?

Are your sales meetings knocking their socks off? If not, help is here! Start your meeting with the tips here, and watch your agent count go way up for your sales meetings and training presentations.

Who Is a Presenter?

We’re all presenters: Any time we are in front of two or two thousand, our goal is to persuade the audience to our point of view. However, most of the time, we just get in front of people and say whatever we think of first. That lack of attention to presentation organization leads to some big presentation mistakes, and costs us sales. Instead of stumbling through a presentation, why not organize it to grab their attention, persuade them to your way of thinking, and motivate them to action?

Grab Their Attention in the Opening

Have you thought about your opening? Are you hiding in your office because you dread doing that sales meeting?

, like:

I won’t take much of your time, but

We have a lot to cover today

We won’t get through the outline

I know you don’t want to listen, but

I’m not really prepared

Attributes of Great Openings

Great openings, yes? Yet, we’ve heard them dozens of times. You don’t have to settle for whatever comes “naturally”. Instead, make your openings

Provocative

Interesting

Different

Engaging

Here are some ideas:

  1. come in a costume that gets their attention
  2. Start with a musical group
  3. Ask a provocative question
  4. Have 2-3 people do a little playlet at the beginning
  5. Have a drawing and then use the results to springboard into a discussion

Recently, I was in Napa, California teaching a large home inspection sales company how to create persuasive presentations. I first taught them the process and gave them ideas. Then, we broke into practice groups. Finally, we all meet again and debriefed. They had some great ideas and their practice created team building and sparked creativity.

You don’t have to settle for boring old meetings. Use your creativity and shake things up! You’ll get better attendance AND you’ll involve more people.

Let me know what you come up with!

Face it! Most office meetings are not well attended. In fact, they may be thought of as boring to the office’s agents! Here’s a method to put zip in that meeting and ‘up’ your attendance!

Here’s one easy way to add pizzazz to your next office meeting.

As owners and managers, you’re a meeting planner when it comes to your sales meetings. Interestingly, you have dozens of experts right in your midst that you can spotlight to bring insights and excitement to your next event. Yes, those are the great agents and leaders you work with. So, how can you use that expertise right? Hold a successful panel discussion.

But, too many panel discussions go off the tracks because of these five fatal mistakes. I’ve seen these mistakes and have developed a system and the experience as a facilitator to assure that your panel discussion goes spectacularly well.

(Note: At the end of this blog, be sure to grab my one-page panel discussion rules of the road, too. Use these to prepare your participants and create an event they’ll rave about).

The Five Fatal Mistakes–And How to avoid Them

  1. Too few or too many panelists

The Rule: No fewer than 3; no more than 6. Why? If someone doesn’t show up and you have scheduled only 3 people,   you won’t have a panel! And, if you have more than 5-6 people, you won’t have time to drill down with any of them.

  1. Too general a topic

Choose a topic that’s specific enough that you encourage real action steps and advice that the audience can take. Example: Not ‘How to sell Real Estate’ but “Best Marketing Ideas from the Experts’.

  1. Not getting the written bios/introductions from the panelists prior to the discussion

One of the facilitator’s jobs is to concisely introduce each panelist. Facilitators need a written introduction to do that properly. Don’t try to wing it! If you do, you may inadvertently make mistakes and a panelist may correct them in front of everyone!

  1. Not providing enough time for each panelist to talk.

You want a combination of panelist ‘lecturette’ (about 5-10 minutes each) and Q and A between the facilitator and panelists and the audience.

Note: The panel should last about one hour.

  1. Facilitator talks too much!

It’s not the facilitator’s show! It should shine a spotlight on the panelists.  Facilitators should prepare 5-10 questions in advance and share those questions with the panelists, so they know what to expect. You can also ask panelists what they want to be asked.

Avoiding these 5 fatal mistakes will assure you create an exceptional panel discussion, and reap accolades for your event.

Click here to grab my one-page panel discussion guide.

How can Carla help you with your presenters and instructors?  She applies the principles she learned as a performing musician to the stage to help presenters and trainers create great presentations, get enthusiastic audience participation, and reduce presentation  anxiety. See more at www.carlacross.com or contact her at carla@carlacross.com

Have you asked someone to present at your meeting, and they droned on…and on…and your attendees lost interest? Here’s a method with my planner to assure your presenters stay on point.

Do you arrange and/or lead sales meetings? If you do, you’ve probably seen this happen: 

Your presenter rambles into the presentation, wanders around in a vast wasteland of information during the presentation, and then kind of dribbles out of the presentation–no call to action, no close. After that happens a couple of times, your agents don’t want to hear from any more guests or affiliates! 

Don’t Assume the Presenter Knows How to Structure his/her Presentation! 

I’ve led or attended hundreds of real estate sales meetings. Usually, I find the guest presenter (an affiliate or vendor) is anxious to get up in front of our wonderful team and present.

He/she doesn’t know what interests or challenges the audience. He/she doesn’t know how to begin the presentation to get the audience’s attention, how to build a motivating story, and how to create a call to action.

This Presentation Planner Will Help Presenters Organize

After an especially painful group of presentations (5 all in one meeting!), I decided to create a presentation planner for affiliates/guests to use to prepare their presentations. It is based on the concepts and skills I teach in my Instructor Development Workshops and my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. 

Note: I just returned from giving my presentation Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make Your Best Presentation Ever, to a national home warranty company. I was so impressed because they wanted to learn the skill of crafting persuasive presentations AND they had set aside time to practice the skill and de-brief. Great skill building and team building session. 

Three Big Questions to Ask your Would-Be Presenters

  1. What’s the challenge agents (or your audience) are facing that your product/service will solve?
  2. Why should the agents (or your audience) listen to your presentation?
  3. What outcomes will agents (or your audience) have as a result from taking the actions you suggest?

Screen Your Presenters BEFORE You Let Them in Front of your Audience!

Here are three things you’ll want to do to screen would-be presenters:

  1. Have them complete the presentation planner here
  2. Ask for a bio from them with testimonials of those who have used their service or product
  3. If the presenter is going to do a course for you, get the course outline (and not just a PowerPoint presentation!) prior to engaging the presenter, along with at least 10 testimonials of those who have attended his/her session (I learned this the hard way after letting an affiliate teach a ‘class’ to my agents and found the course had no outline and the instructor had no real idea of what he was presenting…..)

Following these guidelines and using my presentation planner will assure your sales meetings are a ‘hit’ and your audience walks away with exceptional value.

Grab your Presentation Planner here.

 

There’s no reason to lull yuour audience into slumber! Read how to keep them on the edge of their seats!

Do you do presentations in front of people—such as in real estate offices? You may be a title rep, a home warranty specialist, a mortgage rep, a real estate manager, or a salesperson. In fact, almost all of us must get in front of people and present at some time. But, it’s not something we’re trained for. We probably don’t even realize we CAN gain a process, and get some training, to do a great job! So, we just haltingly get up, open our mouth, and hope something comes out…..

As a long-time speaker and member of the professionals’ National Speaker Association, and trainer of trainers, I’ve learned the importance of presentation—no matter what we do. Here are three big mistakes ‘amateurs’ make in presentations, and three major presentation tips that assure your sales presentations will be professional—and effective.

{See a description of my presentation to teach how to craft and give a persuasive presentation here.}

Mistake #1: Launching Right in Without a Great Opening

Recently, I was at a real estate sales meeting. I heard 5 presenters in a row all start their presentations by ‘rambling’ into them. I wasn’t sure what they wanted to say, why they were there, or why I should listen!

Solution #1: Grab a Great Start

What’s your ‘hook’? How are you going to begin your presentation? With a provocative question? With a relevant story? How does that beginning tie to your theme? Sit down and write down your beginning.

Start with a great ‘hook’—something that grabs their attention.

For example, I give a presentation (usually to affiliates) to teach people how to do a persuasive presentation. As a ‘hook’, I start at the piano. They certainly aren’t expecting that, and it gets their attention right away. Of course, then I segue to the rest of the beginning: Pose the problem, suggest your solution, and build a rosy future for following your recommendations. This works great, too, in an open house to grab the attention of the ‘looker’ who’s trying to avoid you.

Mistake #2: Not developing a cohesive solution to the problem and developing it in the middle of your presentation. Instead, these presenters I heard wandered around in a vast wasteland of incohesive facts, figures, and stores with no relationship or relevance to the ‘theme’ that should have been developed at the beginning.

Solution to #2:  Get Persuasive

You need to be selling your point of view always to your ‘audience’. That means to structure your point of view persuasively. What stories, statistics, and facts do you have to shore up your solution—the solution you promised at the beginning? How persuasive are you here?

Mistake #3: Not Crafting a Great Ending

In some of the presentations I heard, there was no ending. The presenter just ran out of time and sat down! What if you heard your favorite tune and it ended about 4 measures before the ending? It would feel and sound weird, right? Well, a presentation without a logical ending feels and sounds ‘weird’, too.

Your ending should re-state your solution that you developed throughout your presentation. It should motivate your audience to action.

Solution # 3:  Bring it Home with a Great Ending

Have you ever been at a presentation that just puttered out at the end? The speaker said, “Well, we’re out of time.” And you thought, “Good”. Remember, a persuasive presentation is just like a popular tune. Bring back the theme at the end. Close by reminding your audience of the rosy future they will have by following your recommendations. Your job during the persuasive presentation is to persuade.

Here’s my point of view: All presentations that anyone gives should be persuasive. You’re up there to persuade your audience to YOUR [oint of view, not just to regurgitate facts and figures. Otherwise, the audience could simply read a scientific report or watch a video (well, the video may be more interesting than a boring ‘live’ presenter…..)

Does your company ask their reps to do presentations? Are your reps trained, confident, and professional at them? I can help! Check out my presentation, where I teach you how to craft a great persuasive presentation. I offer this to local, regional, and national affiliates and trainers. See it here.

teacher at boardTrainers: Are you after better performance–or just giving them more knowledge?

Are you standing in front of your students to create better performance, or more knowledge?

I learned this the hard way. After graduating with a degree in piano performance, I applied to and had been awarded a scholarship to UCLA as a graduate assistant in the music department. But, after I was at UCLA a few weeks, I became disillusioned, for I found out that the UCLA music department was all about ‘knowledge’, not performance. Professors earned tenure by publishing papers about sixteenth century Elizabethan madrigals–but they didn’t have to be able to play the madrigals…My interest and experience in music had been performance.

Are You After Better Performance or More Knowledge?

I’ve never forgotten that lesson about the difference in the knowledge about something–and the performance of it. Which is more important in what you are teaching? What do you want your students to be able to do as a result of your presentation/training? Sure, just like musical performance, you must have some technique to perform. But, also like musical performance, lots of knowledge doesn’t make you a good performer.

If You Want Better Performance…

Here are five areas to look at to assure you’re creating performers, not just know-it alls.

1. What percent of your program is instructor focused? That is, the instructor performs. If it’s more than 50%, you have a knowledge-heavy program. Model your program like the piano teacher teaches piano. He talks very little, demonstrates some, and listens to the student play and gives positive reinforcement and re-direction.

The teacher knows he taught because the student can play.

2. Do you choose your instructors based on their knowledge and their ability to deliver the message attractively? Start choosing your instructors, instead, on their ability to facilitate performance. They should be able to demonstrate a role play, set up a role play, and draw conclusions. Like great piano teachers create increasingly difficult programs for their students, your instructors should be able to craft ever-increasing difficult rule plays.

Think of them as creators of ‘virtual reality’.

3. Who is held accountable for the program–the instructors or the students? In most programs, we ‘relieve’ the instructor if he doesn’t get good reviews from the students. The instructor’s the only one accountable. Turn it around. 75% of the accountability should be on the students to demonstrate they have learned the skill. Why? Because, without student accountability, managers get your ‘graduates’ who can’t perform.

4. Is your focus on curriculum? Are you attempting to create value for the program to management or owners by providing more information than the other school? Most training programs could cut 50% of their curriculum and graduate better performers. Instead of focusing on curriculum, create your program as ‘virtual reality’. Have a system that provides a series of “performance building blocks”. Don’t tell them all about playing a concerto. Just tell them enough to let them ‘get their fingers on the keys’.

5. Are the objectives of your program knowledge-based? How do the students graduate from your program? Do they pass a written exam? Managers want a graduate who can perform the activities of a real estate salesperson to reasonably high performance standards. A good training program should identify, teach, observe, and coach performance in several critical performance areas until the student can perform well enough to graduate.

The Right Performance Test

As a piano performance major, each term, I had to play a ‘mini-recital’ in the music auditorium for an audience of four–all piano professors. I couldn’t just talk about music theory, or answer a multiple choice exam. I had to play. And, to pass the ‘course’, I had to play to certain set performance standards. The more your training program resembles the ‘virtual reality’ of your specific performance, the more valuable your program to the people who hired your students –and you.

Raise Your Trainers’ Level of Performance

Carla is helping trainers everywhere become even better at what they do. Why not invite her to work with your association or company? Here are some of the areas Carla addresses:

  • How to put more participation into your courses (so you quit boring them to tears)
  • How to give students a much different experience, by using creative, effective training methods
  • How to arrange your course so it has a natural ‘flow’ and students are really competent by the end of the course
  • Invest in your faculty. They will go out and recruit more great faculty members and your training program with grow with purpose!

Contact Carla at carla@carlacross.com or 425-392-6914. She’ll find out your needs and customize a program just for you.

Recently, I was consulting to a training series. Here’s how the trainer introduced making calls to clients:

“Okay. Get out your phones and make a call.” Sure. The new agents are just going to jump right up and call someone and ask them for a lead. Not.

  1. Demonstrate: The trainer should have demonstrated how to make a call to a particular market.
  2. Provide script or process: The trainer should have provided a script or a process for agents to follow.
  3. Role play: The trainer should have put agents in pairs (or 3s) and had them practice so they can ‘hear’ the words and grasp the process.
  4. Debrief: The trainer should have de-brief the exercise.

Now, the students are confident they can successfully use a script or process and are ready to call ‘for real’.

Principle: Never ask students to do something ‘for real’ until they’ve done it as ‘leatherette’ (role play).

Watch the video below to see how to successfully facilitate a role play.

How have you been preparing your students for ‘real life’? Are you skipping some steps?

See my 2 instructor development and train the trainer (distance) workshops at Cross Institute.

Here’s a great way to teach: the case study. It’s a technique almost every trainer/presenter can use to break up that monotomous and less than effective teaching method too many of us rely on–the lecture.

This month, I’m focusing on training and trainers. Why? Because you actually have the ability to change lives!

In my last blog, I provided a video on the case study.

What’s a case study?

A small group exercise that has people working on a ‘story problem’. This ‘story problem’ can be quite intricate and long. It should have elements that you’ve taught earlier. Usually, case studies are given toward the end of the course to put judgment to work and check learning. It has the ‘story problem’. Then, it asks students to make decisions about the ‘story’ based on what they’ve learned in your course.

Click here for an example of a case study I use when I teach Instructor Development Workshop.

Why Use a Case Study?

. It also tells you if you need to spend some time in certain areas.

Get More Great Reviews, Too!

The bonus for your using the case study? You’ll get more students really enjoying the course, learning better, and giving you great reviews!

Gain My Perspective on Teaching AND New Skills!

Want more teaching skills? Join me for one of my instructor workshops. They have 15 clock hours and fulfill the qualifications to become an instructor in Washington state for clock hour courses. The next one ‘live’ is coming up Oct. 3-4 in Bellevue. See more here.

Or, if you want to get certified to teach clock hour courses and learn great new teaching skills ‘on your own time’, check out my distance learning version of the course, Train the Trainer.

Have you already taken instructor courses? If so, you’ll love my advanced course, Beyond the Basics: Training Techniques to Make that Course Come Alive. We use your course and put exciting, innovative teaching methods into it so you gain confidence AND the skills to energize your courses. I’m teaching this course ‘live’ Oct. 23-24 in Bellevue (7.5 clock hours, too).

Here’s how not to have an out-of-control classroom!

In an earlier blog, I gave you some tips to controlling audiences. There’s no reason your class attendees should feel the class is out of control. After all, it’s up to us to keep that class interested, interesting, and moving. Here are more tips to do just that.

  1. Limit the general discussion. You are behind time (You did time your class and put your time frame on your outline, didn’t you?). You see 5 hands raised and you need to move on. Here’s the phrase:

We have time for 2 more questions.

2. Stop the chatty Kathys. There are a few techniques you can use that work.

Walk away from Kathy so she can’t catch your eye and/or wave her hand in your face.

Ask each person to write it down first. (stops the hand jerking into the air!)

Ask the person to tell another person, not the whole group.

Ask for feedback this way: What did you hear {your work partner} say that you really liked?

Quit teaching only from the front of the room. Be sure you can walk down the aisle, and, if you have a mike, it allows you to do so. Making eye contact and respecting the learners in all parts of the room is graceful and effective.

Handling Really Tough Situations

Sometimes, once in a great while, someone just has a meltdown. If that happens, take a short break. Take that person out of the class (never, ever address a concern in front of others, or try to rival a stand-up comedian, the sarcastic but always funny Don Rickles. You aren’t and you’ll lose). Use this dialogue when you get that person alone:

“I’m feeling badly {be sure and use the word feeling} about what’s going on in there. What can I do to make this a good learning experience for you?” Or, “We need to move ahead and can’t seem to do so. What can I do for you so we can move ahead together?”

When all else fails, personally and privately invite that person out of the class.

Who is Important?

The learning of the majority of the class is what is important. It’s up to you as training/facilitator/presenter to gain and use the skills that assure a great course experience. In my opinion, it’s not the ‘student’s fault he/she is successful at disrupting the class (most of the time!). It’s the inability of the instructor to artfully use the strategies above to defuse the situation.

Keep honing those skills, and thank you for dedicating your experience to our industry!

P. S. Don’t forget to gain 42 Innovative Presentation Methods that increase your effectiveness, click here.

Ultimate_RE_Trainer

Tips, Tricks, and Just Plan Great Strategies for the Real Estate Trainer

It’s harder than ever to provide effective training today. So, we need all the new strategies we can get! The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide helps you through all types of situations, and provides dozens of ideas for you to use. See it here. 164 pages/4 audios. $129.95 plus shipping. Click here to find out more.