Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning

Trainer Insights

Giving Practice Sessions a Personalized Touch

The magic of Crucial Learning courses comes in the practical application of course concepts. So what do you do when the practice sessions outlined in the course material don’t quite fit your industry?

Although our course design provides a solid stick-to-the-script foundation, we encourage certified trainers to adapt practice scenarios for their learners as needed. In fact, for Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue, we’ve developed practice scenarios specific to healthcare, education, manufacturing, and government (the first three are available now under Learner Resources; the last will be available later this month).

Regardless of what course(s) you facilitate, there are ways to personalize the practical application for your company. Master Trainer Emily Gregory shared three ideas in a past article:

  • Change the jargon
  • Draft your own
  • Respond in the moment

Here’s a refresher on each of the ideas Emily shared, along with additional ideas and insights to help you and your learners connect with the course material. You can also watch this video in which Emily shares additional thoughts.

Change the Jargon

It can be easy to get hung up on the language in a scenario or activity. We understand that it’s most effective when the language in the course matches that of your organizational culture. When reading the scenarios out loud, revise the language so it’s a fit. When your learners go through the learner guide, encourage them to make slight edits to the terminology if it will help them. Simple word changes can keep learners focused on the concepts, not the word choices.

We also know sometimes our scenarios might not parallel some experiences of your learners. That’s ok—what is the main idea of the exercise or video? Is the meaning still relevant? Guide your learners beyond the what to focus on the why and the how of the exercise.

For instance, in our Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue course, the Start with Heart lesson has a video about the importance of focusing on what you really want. In the video, CEO Greta has spent six months searching for ways to reduce costs, and employee Luke gives Greta some hard truths about recent spending on a new building and office furniture. Greta feels attacked in the moment, but she takes a moment to focus on what she really wants. She shares her need to be more open about the project she’s managing to ensure her spending doesn’t appear hypocritical, even as she asks her team for budget cuts.

You might say your employees don’t have conversations like this, or that you’re not in an office setting. But the purpose of the video is to see Greta’s intent transform in that interaction—not that it’s in an office setting.

Draft Your Own

As mentioned early, we’ve recently added industry-specific exercises and practice supplements for Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue. But what if these don’t match your learners’ situations? Or what if you’re facilitating another Crucial Learning course? Use what we’ve provided as a springboard for creating your own!

Rather than drafting from scratch, use the ideas and examples we’ve provided as a starting point. For instance, some of the education supplement examples are geared toward K–12, so if you’re in higher education, what would be a comparable or parallel scenario in that world? If you’re in hospitality, how could you adapt an office scenario to fit your workplace? As you revise, remember to keep the why top of mind. Details can shift around to match your industry, even to the point of creating new scenarios—but the core principles and purpose of the exercises should remain in place.

Don’t feel like you need to create in a vacuum, either. Tap into the certified trainer community! You can always crowdsource ideas from our Facebook or LinkedIn groups.

Respond in the Moment

Being in the moment is always a good idea—and if it seems like changing the scenarios on the spot would help your learners, go for it! You know your learners best. If changing words like portfolio to project or employee to associate in real time is going to help your learners, do that.

You can also generate practice scenarios with your learners by asking for their input. Use index cards for in-person courses or the chat window for virtual courses. Ask learners to share their own challenging conversations that relate to the example in the material. Randomly choose one of their examples and have learners practice with that scenario instead of what’s in the learner guide. It doesn’t get much more real than that!

We’re excited to share resources that will help you customize your learning. Please reach out to us with questions or issues at our Help Center. And if you’ve customized scenarios like this, we want to hear about it! Feel free to share your experience in the Facebook or LinkedIn groups.

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