Can You Communicate With Senior Leaders in Their Speech?


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

“According to the terminal aims we’ll produce seven microlearning chunks and set them in the context of this LxP so that we can incorporate with LRS to quantify the Kirkpatrick’s level two. By incorporating some assessments on the Bloom’s evaluate level we’ll ensure on-the-job transfer.”

This is the type of language we often pitch and they do not care for it. They care about business outcomes, productivity, functionality, and outcomes. So although we are tempted to utilize our familiar vocabulary, it is of utmost importance that we attempt to talk their language.

Change your language

Rather than utilizing L&D vocabulary, she talked about implementation, satisfaction, accomplishment, growth, increase, progress. These are words that are much closer to the earnings, and profits, expenses, market share, time to market, retention, and danger — words that the C-suite knows, as Lisa Earle McLeod indicates in Forbes (see the references). I suggest that rather than speaking about terminal objectives and enabling objectives, you speak about skills that are crucial and encouraging knowledge or knowledge needed to attain business outcomes and the respective performance objectives.

Remove the acronyms

Let us touch a facet that most experts and both L&D professionals are prone to. Acronyms are the easiest way to make sure you shed your audience! I recommend you remove them. Why would not you simply say “the learning platform” rather than LMS, LCMS, LxP, LRS? Or, spell it out fully and if necessary, mention that the acronym and perhaps add some words to it. Such a common term as LMS is easier to understand when you hear”learning management system”, possibly along with:”… the platform that hosts your digital learning material also makes it possible to administer and monitor all your learners” (so that even people who do not understand what LMS means get a clue). Going further, the compliance acronyms such as AICC/SCORM/xAPI can easily be replaced with (outlining Wikipedia) something similar to:”… standards that permit content to be flashed between learning systems and that allow information exchange so that we can monitor the learner activities.”

Be prepared if an executive tests you

But, keep your L&D “arsenal” prepared in case someone decides to confirm your knowledge, as happened with one of my customers. When speaking to the woman responsible for a certain line of business I had been using a small-business language. Her training supervisor was invited by her. To my surprise he started with a blast of queries; all packaged with vocabulary and acronyms out of adult education concept, principles, and instructional design, and cognitive aspects. He left the area once he realized I really enjoyed the conversation. I passed my “background check” and immediately switched back to “normal” company language.

Reference the outcome without using jargon

Allow me to take another example in my industry (IT). Rather than talking about the transition out of brownfield to greenfield tech skills, talk about present abilities (that sooner or later will be obsolete), future abilities, and about upskilling the workforce. Rather than talking about abilities that are enhanced as a result of your training, talk about enhancing operational efficiency and its effect on financial results. It is possible to refer that employees will have on standing, when it is hard to present the amounts.

Remove some Frequent L&D industry Provisions

Rather than (training) needs analysis (it tends to result in training, right?) Talk about business outcomes, and human performance, productivity. The requirements; identify and assess. Talk about critical projects and what is required there.

Use language that reflects the reality

Let’s take parallels. If more sales are closed using easy small business vocabulary with minimal “expert babble,” L&D people can also benefit from bettering their language when speaking to senior leaders and supervisors. Concerning adjusting the L&D language an additional hint is knowing how the C-suite is measured and paid. The executives are not measured the amount of acronyms inside, the number of goals, or by how big your training design document. The number of webpages of your training manual by some professionally-created eLearning not measures them –and certainly not by the number of pupils who attend your instruction. The company results measure executives. So they want to lessen the risk that your training won’t enhance the work performance of the learners. They want your training to bring about an improved customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) and consequently to increased earnings. They want to be certain their expenditures will pay off by creating a workforce that is more capable. In which your solutions can help significantly — and on the human side, they want to enhance employee retention by increasing involvement.
Competence is essential to L&D achievement

As David Kelly said at DevLearn 2018, the L&D supervisor should have a “conversational competence”. So–if you want to learn as much as possible to prepare the most suitable learning solution, speak with the executives and ask them outcomes. Ask them about the way that leads them to victory. Document their answers. And then reevaluate the “road to success”. Discuss competency, performance about growth, breakthrough, and growth.

Talk as experts to SMEs but talk to executives in their terms
To summarize, maintain your specialist language but adjust it when discussing, presenting, and selling your learning solutions to executives. They will feel rested, your willingness to help outcomes enhance will be understood by them, and another appointment will be bought — or at least schedule — by them.


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