They Hate It When I Say This

“You’ve wasted your money if you think I’m here to give you the negotiation silver bullet.”

“I have no ‘easy tricks’ you can start doing to see your results 10X.”

“If you thought that you were going to be able to come to a seminar and somehow absorb the knowledge without a significant amount of practice and effort, then I have bad news for you,….this isn’t that kind of training.”

“You see, knowledge is not power. The application of knowledge is power. I can teach you all the best negotiation. I can show you exactly how to extract more value out of every single negotiation you have. But unless you decide implement the discipline of practicing those skills so that you get better at them, then you’ve wasted your money and this is really just a nice conversation we’re having.”

Every training I deliver has some version of the above lines delivered right at the beginning of the training. And most people are totally on board with that line of thinking. But the truth is there are still many participants in my training seminars that somehow expect to magically absorb the skills without having to practice them. And they hate hearing those words! Unfortunately, this is not The Matrix. We can’t just ‘plug-in’ to a training program and download all the negotiation knowledge available and know how to use it. I wish we could do that! How amazing would that be! Nope, we still need to practice what we learn to get better at it.

Research has shown that participants in live training forget around 42 percent of what they have learned within 20 minutes. And after 30 days they lose over 80 percent of what they learned. If you’re a leader, that information should give you chills.

This means that without practice, you’re going to forget close to everything I teach you. So you need to repeat and reinforce it in order to retain the information (that’s just fancy alliteration for practice). But it also means that if you’re a leader in your organization, you need to ensure that your employees are reinforcing their training through other means than just repeating courses like mine every month.

So if you’re a leader, how are you encouraging your employees to stay sharp? How are you speeding up the on-boarding of new employees? How are you driving adoption of the most effective training? Are you making this information easily accessible and on-demand? Are you encouraging your employees to listen to podcasts? Are you encouraging the reading of bite-sized training content on blogs? Are you requiring the practice of role-playing in your organization to ensure employees have opportunity to work through the bugs in a negotiation? Training doesn’t stop at the bi-annual training session where you pay a guy like me to come in and train the team.

To get better at anything, you need to read and reinforce material on an ongoing basis. I personally dedicate and hour of my day every day to reading or listening to books on negotiation, sales, procurement, or communication. Earl Nightingale said many years ago that one hour per day of study in your chosen field was all it takes. One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do. When people read that or hear that, they often say, “B.S.!” But let’s do the math. About an hour of reading at an average reading reading speed of 200 words per minute equals about 12,000 words per day. The average book is 90,000 words. This means that you’re reading a book every 7.5 days (about every week). A book every 7.5 days for 1 year, is 48 books a year. 48 books a year for 3 years is 146 books over 3 years and 240 over 5 years. If you don’t think your skills will improve if you read and implement even some of the knowledge from 240 books over the next 5 years, we need to have a chat.

What are you doing to improve?