What Practitioners Should Learn From Donald Trump

What Practitioners Should Learn From Donald Trump
Summary: Trump's rhetoric is becoming more and more incredible as the days go by. You need to look past the rhetoric and to the underlying psychology of the message. There are three fundamental behaviors that drive Trump's misinformation that are highly transferrable to making your training more robust.

Make Training Effective: Commitment, Belief, And Passion

The political rhetoric is thick and most of it is false. But what's impressive is how many people buy into the falsehoods. Much of Donald Trump's rhetoric is becoming more and more incredible as the days go by. This is why you must look past the lies and rhetoric to recognize how the underlying psychology of the message fuels his following. It doesn't matter whether you rant or rave about how Donald Trump is either evil or good, there are several learning opportunities in how he conveys his falsehoods and misleading claims. Even though there is much rhetoric and hatred for Trump's position, I see an opportunity for you to capitalize and leverage the underlying knowledge.

Allow me to qualify that I'm not a psychologist and in no way is this article a study into his behavior...that's best left to the real experts. What I'm sharing is anecdotal and observational, but I do encourage you to observe it as an armchair anthropologist and come to your own conclusions. There appear to be three fundamental behaviors within Trump rallies that are highly transferrable for making your training efforts more effective and robust.

3 Fundamental Behaviors To Make Training More Effective

1. Commitment

Commitment is the first and most observable trait on the list. Watch Trump's commitment to the message he's conveying and his followers' commitment to believing every word he claims is true. While you don't want your learning to spew lies and misdirected guidance, fundamentally, learning is about ensuring commitment. Consider how committed Trump is to his message and how his message commands commitment from participants.

Commitment is one behavior every learning practitioner strives to achieve from participants, but they often fail to commit to the content themselves, to make the training effective. If you want people to commit, then lead by example. You may say, "Of course I do", but trust me, I've seen many practitioners not care or have any interest in what they expect others to learn. It always begins with your commitment to the content, whether you're an Instructional Designer or an instructor. Your participants look to you as their subject-expert and depend on you to show compassion and commitment, not simply to get them through a "to-do" list. Your message will fall on to deaf ears if you don't learn, appreciate, and respect the content you're responsible for sharing.

2. Belief

Belief is another related outcome of commitment. Trump isn't the most eloquent public speaker, but next time, watch carefully when he speaks; he looks as if he actually believes the misinformation he's saying. His ad libs, warts and all, add to his conviction in the misinformation, further reinforcing his perceived authenticity and making it more credible to his followers.

Belief is something every learning practitioner must bake into their efforts. Belief is highly subjective. You should, at the very least, care about what you expect others to learn. With care comes compassion. Having compassion, especially when learning new things, is fundamental to getting participants to be more willing to openly accept what you're sharing with them and so make your training effective. Right or wrong, Trump does care about his followers believing in what he's saying; I'm just not sure there's much compassion behind it.

3. Passion

Passion is a trait resulting from authentic commitment and belief. You'd have to be living under a rock not to notice the passion oozing from Trump's followers and party. Rarely, if ever, is seen such passion for politics and from those following politics, but hey, here it is. This passion comes from the entrenched and unwavering desire of followers to commit and believe in Trump's misinformation.

Naturally when used this way, it's dangerous, but the point for practitioners is clearly evident. Getting learning participants passionate may be extreme, but you can get them excited about what they're learning. However, commitment and belief will get you only so far if your participants can't see the relevance and practicality of the training. This is on full display when Trump says things like, "taking our country back", for example. Make your participant's learning real for them by using the newly learned content within their context and reality.

Be The Change

We're certainly living in strange times. But even in the worst of times, there's always an opportunity to learn and grow. For practitioners willing to carefully observe and think critically, the opportunities are boundless. Granted, some events, people, and circumstances are difficult to watch, but by taking a scientific approach you can extract lessons to improve the performance and robustness of your learning efforts.

There probably isn't a need for you to constantly watch Trump's speeches, once is probably more than sufficient. The point is that, as a learning practitioner, you must lead by example and be a constant learner yourself, no matter the context. Commit to your personal learning journey; believe only when you've objectively assessed the content; and then be passionate about sharing it with others. Your participants are counting on it.

Please share your thoughts and feedback with us. We would enjoy hearing about your efforts. And who knows, it may be the topic of our next eLearning Industry article. Also, please check out our LinkedIn Learning courses to learn more about developing business credibility for your learning efforts. Please share your thoughts and remember #alwaysbelearning!

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Editor's Note: This is a guest-contributed post and the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of this publishing platform.