I’m scaling my training down, down, down these days—two days is too much, one full day is still too much, and a half-day still seems challenging.
I regularly get requests for a one-hour training. But what I’m realizing is that it’s not the length of the training, but how it is delivered. As I continue to tailor my TeleSmart training to meet the needs of millennials, I reference the psychologists and educators who are tailoring educational systems for maximum impact in this new generation.
Millennials are currently flooding inside sales organizations, and their numbers aren’t going to be reduced. They come in a broad range of work personality types: some are uber-professional superstars with high leadership potential, while others treat the office like a dorm, walk around with their wrecking balls, and have extremely short attention spans.
The challenge of ramping them up and doing the knowledge transfer is big. Since many of them don’t want anyone telling them what to do, any type of training that involves a talking head or an authority figure is not well received. Here are some of the issues:
Millennials approach education and professional training as a “transaction.” They won’t buy into without a clear understanding of what it’s going to give them. Further, Pew Research revealed that most millennials are less trusting of others, especially authority, than previous generations. Connect your training lessons to real life (and current culture) to communicate the timely value and relevance of what you’re delivering and be sure to clearly highlight the most valuable takeaways from the training.
The same study shows that millennials prefer a less formal learning environment that allows them to interact informally with the instructor and their peers. A recent LinkedIn internal study reported that 1 in 3 millennials have texted their boss outside of work for a non-work-related issue compared to only 10% of the boomer generation. Growing up in a more child-centered society, many millennials find hierarchical relationships to be uncomfortable or foreign. Open your training up to more direct contact in and around the learning sessions.
Millennials really respond best to learning from peers, even if their peers have no idea what they are talking about. Beware that these peers may do an incorrect knowledge transfer, so stay tuned with the leadership, professional types.
According to a Dalton State College study, millennial culture has been “inundated with multimedia,” making millennials “huge multitaskers.” Millennials won’t hold their attention on one type of instruction, much less one talking-head. The study advised introducing more variety when teaching millennials—incorporating videos, social media, television, and other sources that help them stay engaged.
As much as you want to be hip and cool with your millennials, you might not be “cool enough.” And the coolness factor is short-lived anyway. Try going to the opposite extreme to win the attention and support of the more professional millennials who are there to learn—your potential superstars—and who are as annoyed as you are with the wrecking crew. Be the cool professional, strict and smart with a take-no-prisoners attitude. Let them know that you expect great things from them, and you just might get their attention!
Josiane Feigon is the CEO of TeleSmart, a provider of inside sales training and coaching. She has trained 20-thousand-plus salespeople and still counting. Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Feigon is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent. She is also a #1 Rated Inside Sales Training Bestselling author, speaker, and sales futurist. Follow her on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, and join the conversation on Inside Sales 2.0 Trends Talk LinkedIn Group. If you want epic inside sales training for teams and managers, contact TeleSmart.
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