Lets Turn Training Into A Game Show

Who doesn’t love a great Game Show? They always involve a bit of excitement, energy, competition, and not to forget, learning. Although I might struggle to admit I learn much from an episode of Wipeout!

Our American team hit the road this Summer of 2014, and we delivered nationwide training for a new wireless company, Cricket. Who is Cricket? And why do they exist? Well they declared it simply: “Everything we do is in service of a smile”.

“Allright,” we thought, “if that’s the case, why not deliver a fun, game show themed training for area managers, store representatives, and corporate employees of Cricket?”

We did. The attendees scored us highly on learning, interaction, fun, and training delivery. Which in turn made a lasting impression of the Lumia 630 smartphone capabilities, and of the new 8.1 Windows Operating System.
Reverse Thinking: the Why and the How
Thinking in Reverse, one of our core beliefs at Performance Solutions, we explained Why we were delivering the training. Simply put, as Sales Readiness Trainers, we were there to help support and prepare the Cricket team to sell more Lumia 630s and Lumia smartphone products. As my colleague Sean introduced that simple statement during the opening of each session, I could see the notion hit home with the crowd.

Our trainings involved key demonstrations of a Lumia device, or of a feature within the software. This is in essence How we convey the majority of knowledge. Fortunately, we were able to provide each attendee with a live Lumia 630 smartphone. Participants were able to have it in their hands, duplicate our demos, and use the phone to answer our game show challenges and questions.

The game show theme permeated throughout each session. It was all about the experience. We had show quality up lights for decoration, each team had a buzzer to score each challenge, our trainers had ‘cue cards’ just like a TV host, MixRadio music took us in and out of commercial breaks, and don’t forget the ‘Buzzer’ app downloaded for light hearted special effect sounds.
A Fun and Memorable Learning Experience
Adult learning principles usually revolve around the need for practicality, relevance, or incorporating their life experiences into the training plan, and I do not disagree with these notions. But rarely do I ever hear that it can be fun. Who is to say that content which is new and relevant cannot be fun as well?

What we do as trainers is in hope that each attendee is sparked in one way or another. Although our final surveys showed that that our questions were answered in the 90th percentile, it is ambitious to think that all attendees will remember every singular point made during the session. But what I do expect is that each ‘Cricketeer’ will have a handful of key points that were meaningful for them, and WOW demos to return to their store to spark sales of the Lumia 630. Not to mention an increased awareness of the Windows Phone brand, and genuinely want to join another training again in the future.

No one won a new car, but all the attendees did win, and took home a brand new Lumia 630!!

“The price was right.”

Matthew Harrington is a Performance Solutions Sales Readiness Trainer for Microsoft in the US.

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