Can You Communicate With Outdated Leaders in Their Speech?


You’ve heard it, as well as an L&D professional you’ve used it when speaking to older leaders. Something like this:

“Based on the terminal aims we will produce seven microlearning chunks and set them in context of the LxP so that we could incorporate with LRS to quantify the Kirkpatrick’s level 2. By incorporating some examinations on the Bloom’s appraise level we will ensure on-the-job transfer.”

This is the kind of language we often pitch and this is not cared for by them. They care about performance, productivity, business results, and results. So although we’re tempted to utilize our familiar language, it is of extreme importance that we try to talk their language.

Change your vocabulary

Instead of using L&D language, she spoke about implementation, fulfillment, accomplishment, growth, increase, progress. The latter phrases are the senior leaders’ “terminal objectives.” I suggest that instead of speaking about terminal objectives and enabling objectives, you talk about skills and supporting knowledge or knowledge required to achieve business results and the respective performance goals.
Eliminate the acronyms

Let’s touch a facet that both L&D professionals and experts are prone to. Acronyms are the easiest way to ensure to lose your C-suite audience! I suggest you eliminate them from your dialog. Why would not you simply say “the learning stage” instead of LMS, LCMS, LxP, LRS? Or, spell it out and if necessary, mention the acronym and add some descriptive phrases to it. Even such a frequent term as LMS is easier to understand when you hear”learning management system”, maybe along with:”… the stage that hosts your digital learning content also makes it possible to administer and track all your students” (so that people who don’t understand what LMS means get a hint). Going further, the compliance acronyms like AICC/SCORM/xAPI can easily be replaced with (outlining Wikipedia) something similar to:”… criteria that permit content to be flashed between learning systems and that allow information exchange so that we can track the student activities.”

Be ready if an executive evaluations you

However, keep your L&D “arsenal” ready if someone decides to confirm your knowledge, as occurred with one of my customers. When speaking to the woman responsible for a line of business I had been using a small-business language. She invited her training supervisor to the assembly. To my surprise that he began with a blast of questions; all fully packaged with acronyms and terminology out of adult education concept, principles, and instructional design, and cognitive aspects. He left the area once he realized I appreciated the conversation. I handed my “background check” and immediately switched back to “normal” company language.
Reference the outcome

Allow me to take another example from my business (IT). Instead of talking about the transition out of brownfield to greenfield technology skills, discuss existing skills (that sooner or later will be outdated), future skills, and about upskilling the workforce. Instead of talking about skills because of your training, talk about enhancing operational efficiency and its impact. When it’s challenging to present the amounts, it is possible to refer to that capable employees will have on organizational standing.

Eliminate some industry Provisions

Instead of (training) needs analysis (it will result in training, right?) Discuss business results, and human performance, productivity. Then propose the way to the outcomes–it may include other, non-training “interventions” (yes, this phrase could be ambiguous). Discuss the requirements; assess the ones which are already fulfilled and determine the ones that aren’t. Discuss what and projects is required there.

Use language which reflects the reality

Let’s take parallels. If more sales are closed using easy small business language with nominal “expert babble,” L&D individuals can also benefit from simplifying their language when speaking to senior leaders and supervisors. About adjusting the L&D language to that of executives an extra hint is knowing how the C-suite is measured and paid. The executives aren’t measured by the number of acronyms in it, the number of objectives, or by how big your training design record. The number of pages of your training manual nor by a few good eLearning not measures them –, and certainly not by the number. Executives are measured by the company effects. So they wish to minimize the risk that your training won’t improve the work performance of the students. They want your training to bring about a better client Net Promoter Score (NPS), and thus to greater earnings. They want to be certain their expenditures will pay off by making a more capable workforce. And on the side, they want to improve employee retention by increasing involvement –where your solutions can help significantly.

Conversational competence Is Vital to L&D success

As David Kelly said at DevLearn 2018, the L&D supervisor ought to have “conversational competence”. So–if you wish to know as far as possible to prepare the learning solution that is most suitable, talk to the executives, and ask them for their expected business results. Ask them concerning the way that leads them. Document their answers. And when describing your “training intervention,” discuss building skills, empowering the employees to increase their performance, and contributing to the company effects. Discuss competency, performance about growth, breakthrough, and expansion.

Talk as experts to SMEs but talk to executives in their terms

To outline, keep your specialist terminology for specialist circles but adapt it when discussing, presenting, and promoting your learning solutions. They will feel rested, your willingness to assist results improve will be understood by them, and the next appointment will be bought — or at least schedule — by them.


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