Training Tips

Learning Methods

  Words & Phrases to Use In Training 
Design & Facilitation and HR Consulting


Instead Of


Write/say the verb section of the sentence first (ex. "Fill out the form, since this happened") "Since this happened, fill out the form"

This is an active sentence and therefore creates action.

Describe what to do or what they or you can do "shouldn't", "didn't", "don't", "can't", "won't" The brain only holds positives. If you use a negative when giving directions, the brain will drop it and actually think the opposite of what you said (example: "Don't use that key." The brain drops the don't and the adult is left with the picture "use that key." They then have to unconsciously reattach the "don't" and erase the "use the key". In addition, there's no description of what to use instead of the key.) If it's important to emphasize what NOT to do, tell them what TO do first.
"help learn"


"training session"



These words come from the Facilitator's point of view. People care only that they learn not that you're going to train or present to them.
Say the Introduction as written in the Facilitator's Guide "Let's move on"

"Now, the next thing we're going to do..."

The intro in the Facilitator's Guide relates directly to the learning objective, so makes it easier for people to see what they're to achieve. It's also designed to get their attention off the last thing on which you were working. If you do the Facilitator's Guide intro plus these fillers, you'll add extra time to the training.
"are", "have" "may"," maybe", "possibly", "possible These tentative words imply that you're unsure whether something will or won't happen. We use these words to protect ourselves because we're not in total control (example: "You may find this helpful"). The person unconsciously feels less than confident that it will work for them. Stating what will happen as a given creates confidence in the person. Another reason why we use these words is to keep from sounding pushy, demanding (example: "You will do..."). You can prevent them from feeling this way by using assertive body posture and tone when talking.
State what will happen "hopefully", "hope",


"will" "could", "perhaps"
"Please"...and then state the simple action (for example: turn to page 5) "I'm going to have you..."

"I need you to..."

"I want you to..."

"I'd like you to..."

The person is more motivated to do things when they hear "You..." than "I...". They act faster, too (it's unconscious). In addition, you'll save words, which over the course of group training, volumes of self-study or a report adds up!
"In order to achieve your goal, you need to..."

"It's important that you..."

"You need to..." Many adults will respond to "you need to.." by thinking or saying "I don't need to do anything". Telling them why it's important for them to do something increases the likelihood that they will want to do it.
"You'll be able to..."

"You'll learn to..."

"I'm going to train you to..." Always use words from the Learner's point of view.
Use language specific to the client industry *generic business language Increases the ease of understanding for the person and, of course, makes them feel we understand.
Pause to begin new sentence


"but" Using "but" to tie together two thoughts negates the first part of the thought. Instead, start a new statement. ("That is an interesting thought. What other things do we need to consider?") If it's inappropriate to begin a new sentence, use "however".
"do" "try to do..." Using "try" as a verb sounds tentative. Get people to make a commitment and "do". It is okay though to use "try" as a noun ("give it a try").
"person", "participant", "employee" *"student"

These words have traditionally been used in off the shelf and public seminar training. It's hard to help people understand what customized training is, as most people know the other 2 and therefore have that picture when we're talking with them. Using these words keeps the customized picture we give the client during the sales process consistent throughout their work with us.


* "class"

* "teacher"," instructor", "trainer", "presenter"

"planned learning", "outline" *"curriculum"
"the learning",

"training session"

*"seminar", "workshop", "module"
"Yes, and what else"

"Yes, and another thing"



Responding to a person's comment or input with "yes, and what else" acknowledges the input and encourages others to speak. Using the words "right or wrong" can cause persons to be more reluctant to provide input if they're not sure they're right.
Simply repeat question so everyone can hear "that's a good question" Ensures all people heard the question and prevents them from thinking their question wasn't a good one if you don't say "that's a good question" after they ask theirs.
"What's the purpose...?" "why" Use of the word "why" tends to put people on the defensive.
Say the intro to the learning method, then the instructions or content Any naming of the learning method:

"Now we're going to do a role play"

"this is a game",

"let's process"

Learner's need to be able to do the skill or have the knowledge instead of be able to name the learning method at the end of the training. Many Learner's think they can't learn in a certain way and when it's named it holds them back.
"Participated in"

"gone through"

Sounds like sitting instead of interactive learning
"review copy" "draft" Final looking/sounding materials for review cause the client to see the big picture and not get caught in details. You want them to look really carefully, and review implies final and they can focus on what you want them to, not wonder/ask questions about what's still to come, typos, etc.

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