Changing Behavior through Switching Beliefs

One Coin, Two Sides

A change in someone’s beliefs can lead to a change in his behavior. In order to influence and change the behavior of participants you should attempt to influence and change their beliefs. Beliefs and behavior are two sides of the same coin. If behavior of a person does not mirror a belief he claims to be holding then he is not truly holding such belief he is claiming to be holding.

The 3 Elements

Behavior or attitude is one of the 3 main elements a trainer attempts to make positive change in besides skills and knowledge of trainees. In fact, changing behavior is the most difficult of the three and has the strongest and most lasting effect. But how can the trainer influence trainees so as to change their behavior? Here I will show you a powerful method for changing participant beliefs and thus in effect changing their behavior.

Logic

Some may think that providing logical explanations and guiding trainees to logical deductions and conclusions can be the right way to influence and change their beliefs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Such method may indeed silence participants and prevent them from arguing yet it will not shake off the original belief they are holding to.

Storytelling

A much more effective method and a really powerful one is to provide real stories of actual cases that attest to the validity of the belief you want trainees to be holding.

The strongest type of story would be one that you have gone through yourself and in which you have gone through the journey of holding the wrong belief followed by going through a personal experience that made you lay down such wrong belief and hold a new one. This is the most powerful type of story that creates instant belief switching in the minds and hearts of participants.

If you do not have a personal story of such a belief change you may narrate the story of someone else who had such a belief change after going through some personal experience. If still such a change-of-belief story is not available then you can narrate a true story the events of which attest to the validity of the new belief you want participants to be holding.

Quitting Smoking

Let’s take an example to make this method clearer. Let us say there is a group of participants who are carrying out the harmful behavior of smoking. Let us assume that their subconscious minds are holding twisted beliefs that smoking might not be very harmful due to seeing many people around them who smoke yet are not greatly suffering health wise. If the trainer attempts to give hard facts about how smoking has been scientifically proven to harm the body, such numbers and logical explanations may still not effect change in the behavior of participants.

If rather than that a trainer narrates his own true story in which he had been a smoker not really believing so much in the harmful effect of smoking then going through a difficult experience of sharply deteriorated health resulting in a change in his beliefs about smoking consequently resulting in a change in his behavior then such a story can be a real influencer and would probably have a strong and powerful effect on participants making many of them change their beliefs about smoking and probably changing their behavior as well in the form of attempting to cut down on smoking or quit smoking altogether.

Conclusion

So, next time you are trying to convince someone with something do not try and argue using hard facts but use a true story to get your point through. This could lead to a change in his beliefs leading to a change in his behavior.

How else can you influence the behavior of a smoker to help him quit smoking?

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Enhanced Internal Communication in Organizations

Employee Communication Skills

Many organizations suffer tremendously in terms of wasted time, energy and resources not to mention frustration, due to poor communication skills of its employees. Exceptional communication skills among employees of a company lead to a seamless workflow and a peaceful, highly productive environment at the workplace. Good communication skills are essential for all employees and not just for those dealing directly with clients such as customer service and sales employees. Internal communication among employees can make or break an organization.

Communication at Multinational Companies

If the organization is a multinational and multicultural one having employees from two or more different cultures and countries the issue of communication could be even more sever. In such cases selecting employees who have very good communication skills from the start is essential. In addition, communication skills training should be provided to all employees in order to keep communication flowing smoothly particularly across different cultures.

Indians and Egyptians Speaking

Different accents among people from different cultures who need to communicate with each other could present a great communication challenge. Let’s say a large organization has both Indian and Egyptian employees. The difference in accent among the two nationalities when they speak English is great. It could thus be a great challenge for members of the two groups to maintain good communication through verbal means alone.

Double Channel Communication

There are many ways by which communication among employees at any organization can be improved. One very handy and highly effective way to boost communication is to use more than one communication channels simultaneously to communicate the same message. The simplest form of this is to use verbal and written communication simultaneously to communicate a message. For instance you may send an email to someone (written communication) then call him and explain the email further (verbal communication). In such case you are using more than one communication channel at the same time namely verbal as well as written communication. This will boost the understanding as well as the retention of the communicated message.

Multi-Channel Communication

Besides verbal and written communication there is body language and using drawings. Intonation also can be a further subchannel that can be used to convey a lot of meaning. Let us say you are making some simple diagrams and drawings in addition to labeling such drawings and adding text while verbally explaining something to another person. Here you would be using three communication channels simultaneously namely the verbal, the written as well as the drawings. There is very little chance your message would not be understood in such a case.

Conclusion

Superior communication skills among all employees at an organization are essential for the success of that organization in particular if it includes employees of different nationalities. Using multiple communication channels simultaneously to communicate the same message can be a simple yet highly effective technique to boost communication among employees.

Have you suffered before from a situation of bad communication that caused you a lot of frustration at work? If so, tell us about it.

Developing Training Objectives

Training needs analysis (TNA) is a formal method for gathering the training needs of employees at a company in order to design a training program for them to cater for such needs.

Identify Problems

A similar, yet less formal, approach to designing training programs for the corporate and non-corporate worlds is to start by identifying a problem that people are greatly suffering from then attempt to design a training program that would help in solving such problem. The beauty of such approach is that it guards against creating and delivering a training course that is not needed by people and does not actually have any practical benefit for them in real life save only perhaps for their enjoyment as they have fun during the time of the training program.

After identifying a strong problem that people are suffering from, on an individual level, on the company level or on the community, level the training program designer then sets about to list a number of training objectives for the training program that would help in remedying the identified problems. The set of training objectives can be listed under the following three categories: knowledge; skills and behavior.

Knowledge

Most traditional training courses have been focusing more heavily on knowledge objectives. Such programs intend to cram as much information as possible about the subject matter in the minds of attendees and aims at having them memorize such information and ultimately understand it.

Skills

More advanced training programs shift the focus from knowledge objectives to skills objectives. The main focus of the training program thus becomes to equip trainees with the necessary skills to perform various activities in the real world. Minimal focus may be given to the amount of information transferred directly in such a training program. Such highly interactive and practical training courses overcome the problems faced by knowledge focused programs which produce a trainee that has a lot of knowledge yet lacks the abilities of putting such knowledge into practice in the real world.

Behavior

A trainee who has gained specific skills may still suffer from the lack of desire to actually apply such gained skills. Here comes the role of the third and final element in the 3 groups of training objectives which is behavior. Some like to call it attitude rather than behavior. Some even go a step further and refer to the third element as beliefs. The reasoning behind this being that beliefs directly influence behavior. Behavior and beliefs can be considered as actually two sides of the same coin. Training programs that focus on shifting beliefs and influencing behavior are the most effective and long lasting. They can make enormous change in a trainee in a very short period of time.

Conclusion

No matter what the focus of a training program is be it on knowledge, skills or behavior, objectives of an effective training program should be based on the actual needs of the people and should help solve a real problem that people are actually suffering from.

Which courses do you think will benefit more form a knowledge-centered training program rather than one centered on changing attitude or developing skills?

Preserving the Traveling Trainer’s Sanity

Feeling Stressed

When I first started to deliver training to corporate clients in other cities I usually had to spend my days at a hotel in such city. At first I used to spend the day delivering the training while remaining trapped in my hotel room, perhaps watching TV or in front of the computer, during the evening and night. I used to feel a lot of stress and it was very difficult for me to remain a few days in a raw like that.

Out in the Streets

Within a few months of traveling from one city to the other I learned to get out of the hotel room and go about exploring the city I was staying in. The stress I used to feel vanished completely and I found myself able to keep going for many days in a raw. I have finally managed to get out of my cocoon and discover the pleasures of walking in the streets of various cities to explore them.

Having Company

This is best done with others. Sometimes we went out together, myself and other members of the team responsible for organizing the training. At times we even went out with trainees, since they came from the city in which the training was being held and in which we were staying. Even just sitting at some cafe together talking was a great social activity that contrasted sharply with the solitary confinement I used to enforce on myself in my hotel room in the past.

Maintain your Sanity

So next time you are delivering training in another city try to get out of your hotel room every day, mingle with people and explore the city. This will help you maintain a much better state of mental and even physical health and would make your training days much more enjoyable and fun besides giving you the strength and stamina to go on delivering training for many days in a raw at that city.