ALM Properties, Inc.
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6 Ways to Improve In-House Compliance Training
If your company’s compliance training has been falling flat, you can quickly improve things by thinking like a trial lawyer. Trial lawyers like people. We like talking to people, listening to them, and sharing ideas. Trial lawyers also take difficult concepts and boil them into key pieces of information to keep the jury focused on what is essential for our case. If we don't watch, listen to, and engage with our audience, we have no way of knowing whether they understand our position and what is important for them to reach a decision. If we cannot communicate our point of view effectively, we lose our case and our clients.
1. Engage People
It is easier to learn through a conversation as opposed to a lecture. Think back to law school: The best law school classes stimulated discussion among students and posed tough questions from both sides. The worst involved students hiding behind their computers for the entire class and surfing the web.
2. Explain Your Concepts In Simple Terms
This is sometimes difficult for lawyers to do. We understand complicated legal concepts and are used to talking to our colleagues who speak the same language. When trial lawyers present a case to a jury through witnesses and argument, they have to remember the jury has no knowledge of the case of the facts. To effectively present a case at trial, the lawyer—who has months or years in working up the case and knows every fact—has to step back and look at it from the perspective of an outsider.
3. Provide A Hypothetical
Trial lawyers love analogies—sometimes they can backfire, but in general analogies provide the jury with a comparison. The same holds true with compliance training. Hypotheticals get the audience thinking about a problem in a realistic situation. If you are teaching a class about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and discuss facilitation payments, you will get a lot more nodding heads if you first try to understand the context in which these types of payments come up and apply the training in the context of a hypothetical the audience understands.
4. Use Humor Effectively
Many of us are not that funny. (We think we are funny . . .) Humor can lighten the mood and keep the audience engaged in training presentations, but it is not a substitute for effective communication. If you open with a good joke but then have a dry presentation, the audience is not going to retain the information you have presented.
5. PowerPoint May Not Be Your Friend
PowerPoint can be effective for audiences that are used to absorbing information by both seeing and hearing. These presentations are routinely used in trials during closing argument to put complex cases together. But they are never a substitute for strong argument or a clear presentation of the facts.
6. Get Rid of the Bad Eggs
Some people do not like talking to other people. You know who they are. It does not mean they are not effective lawyers, but they should not do your training. Computer-based training always gets a bad rap, but the effectiveness of live training depends on your presenters. If you have a dud in your organization who can't talk to people, computer training may be the answer. Many of the computer-based training models are quite good. And a number of companies have incorporated interactive scenarios using employee actors in computer-based models with detailed questions. The feedback has been impressive. Employees enjoy seeing fellow employees act out scenarios, and it keeps them interested in the training. Given the choice between a live presenter that cannot hold the audience's attention, most would prefer humorous, live scenarios every time.