Friday, July 30, 2021

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Tip #3 to Avoid Becoming an Avatar: Sustain the Conversation Without Hijacking It

In your recent conversations, you've been asking the second question, which has shown that you care, given the other person permission to open up, and expressed your own bravery and willingness to go against the avatar grain.


We are assuming that asking the second question has opened up more and richer dialogue with those around you. They are likely surprised that you've shown an interest beyond the norm and are pleased to tell you more.

Now, how do you sustain these fruitful conversations? The trick is to encourage more from them while avoiding the temptation to hijack the conversation. Here are some ways to guide the dialogue:

  • Ask very brief clarifying questions.
  • Briefly summarize what they have told you. This shows that you were listening and gives them a chance to clarify if you misunderstood anything.
  • If appropriate, conclude the conversation with a suggested action plan or task.
  • Thank them for the information they have entrusted you with.
So what does this have to do with learning and development? These human conversations can provide you with quantitative and qualitative data for all four Kirkpatrick levels. For example, you may learn:
  • Level 1: how to improve the delivery or content of a training event 
  • Level 2: what barriers to learning the person has experienced
  • Level 3: reasons for a person's success or failure with on-the-job application, beyond what a survey can provide
  • Level 4: early signs of impact that have come from Level 3 efforts
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