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The Influential Trainer Part 4 – Get small commitments, publicly and often


In his book "Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion", Dr Robiert Cialdini tells of a study conducted at a racetrack with people who were placing bets. The study found that people are much more confident of their horse’s chances of success immediately after placing the bet than the few moments before they placed it. What does this tell us? The Rule of Commitment and Consistency states that because we have a real need to be, and appear to be, consistent with what we believe or do, we behave in a way that is consistent with our actions, to justify our earlier commitment. So once committing to placing the bet, the bettors behave in a way that justifies their action - and speak and behave as if they have no doubt their horse will win!


How can we use this concept of commitment and consistency in our training rooms? I would be surprised if most of us are not doing it unknowingly! When we ask learners at the beginning of a workshop to outline their objectives for their own learning we are actually asking them to commit to learning and commit to it publicly. If we ask them to then write down their learning goals, and display them on the ‘brag wall’ we are cementing the commitment they are making. They will then naturally act in ways that will align their behaviour with the commitment they have made.


Other ways we can use the learnings about consistency and commitment in our training programs might be:

·       Ask participants to write down the specific actions they will take as a result of the new learnings. Take a copy and promise to mail it to them in an agreed time in the future.

·       Suggest to learners that they ‘buddy up’ with another learner in the room, to become each other’s accountability coach.

·       Organise a “Review and Reward” session at a time in the future where all participants will attend to report on the progress they’ve made, identify challenges still to be overcome and celebrate their successes.


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