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ASK, NOT TELL

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‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ – Build Personal Rapport with Participants

Updated: Mar 5


7 Habits of Highly Effective People‘. They all speak quite highly about it. You may have heard of a book of the same name by Stephen R. Covey. In fact, I bought the book at least 5 years ago. But I never finished it despite several trials. The theories and technical terms in the first few chapters stopped me already.


Yet, the course told me the habits very clearly. I attended the course this week. The course design is good and the trainers are experienced. (To respect the IP, I will avoid talking about specific contents here.)


Among all the courses I have experienced, I found this 7-Habit course and the SPIN course being the best in course design. In simple term, by 'well-designed', I mean the course to be interactive, fun, and being able to lead to concrete and applicable learning points. For the 7-Habit course, it would be better if it lasts for 3 instead of 2 days. There are quite a number of areas which demand more time in order to yield strong (enough) impact.


In addition, the TTT process and post-TTT-support of both are robust. For example, the facilitator guide for SPIN is very well-written. And I heard the same about the 7-Habit class. It does help the facilitators to deliver. It adds creditability to the facilitators. On the other hand, I experienced some other facilitator guides containing largely content copied from the PPT used in the class!! If you are a serious facilitator, you would be struggling in delivering loosely-developed course.


(It is somehow interesting and sad to observe that external courses are generally better designed than internal corporate courses. … Of course, there are many lousy external courses as well.)


There are quite a few things I learnt about facilitation in the 7-Habit class. Let me share one observation first. On Day 1, the trainer greeted most in person. More than that, he managed to tell a bit about the company which the participants work in. I subsequently learnt that he visited each company's website before the class. He also studied the pre-course survey submitted by the participants. He also went through a brief summary on the survey result and related it to the course content. This is on top of the welcoming act (hand shaking + smiling + name remembering) which I have been practicing.


So, 3 quick pieces of learning here:

  1. Use pre-course work to collect participants’ information. A short one e.g. 3 MC questions will be good enough;

  2. Study other sources about the participants e.g. website;

  3. Show that you did it help to build rapport very effectively. Everyone loves to get attention.

The gives a good start to the class atmosphere since participants are feeling good.

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