• bring a variety of experiences to your session.
Participants will be more inclined to listen and participate if you align your material with their experiences.
• require a comfortable learning environment.
Be responsible for room set-up, creature comforts, and fixing logistical bumps in the road quickly.
• want to be treated with respect.
Participants need to be emotionally comfortable and secure in knowing that they won’t be singled out,
belittled, or intimidated in any way.
• have something real to lose when they are learning with their peers.
Self-esteem and ego, not to mention their jobs, can be on the line when they are asked to try a new behavior in
front of professional colleagues.
for more information on adult learners, read “ 30 Things we know for Sure about adult learning,” an article by
ron and Susan zemke.
Translation: You tell me your story
with its point attached. It reminds me
of my reality, and I leave feeling good
about something I already know
and do. Attendees leave your session
feeling confident and inspired that
they’re on the right track.
It reminds them of their previous
behavior. This kind of learning
gets head nods with sheepish looks
around the room. Oops, you can
almost hear people wondering why
they stopped doing that. Attach
a review of a basic skill to your
topic with a reminder that all high-
performance teams should revisit
the basics periodically. This allows
adults to recognize, with minimal
guilt, that knowing something isn’t
the same as doing it. They leave
your session reinvigorated to be
accountable for applying what they
know to be the right behaviors.
They can learn something new
(refresh). This kind of learning,
although highly desirable on the
surface, runs the risk of producing
the least impressive outcome.
It requires adults to change
“Even when your life depends
on it, change is hard,” according to
speaker and author Dick
Axelrod of The Axelrod Group,
Inc., a consulting firm that
pioneered the use of employee-
involvement to effect large-scale