Six Steps to Becoming a Better Communicator with Vicki Halsey on Brilliance by Design

Vicki Halsey on Six Steps to Becoming a Better Commuicator - Brilliance by Desgn

In this episode, Vicki Halsey, author of Brilliance by Design, shares a case study of a team putting the ENGAGE model into practice. For years, both in the school environment and in corporate education, Vicki Halsey observed what was happening in classrooms—a teacher standing in front of a group of people, talking at them. The people in the audience were not engaged; only the speaker. This was very different from Vicki’s classrooms, where people were active, inspired, and even noisy.

“It occurred to me that the person who is energized and all fired up is the one doing the teaching—not the one doing the learning. It should be the other way around,” explains Halsey. “It happens every day in companies around the world. We hire people because they have fabulous transferable skills, but we don’t spend the time it takes to teach them what they need to know in their new position to help them be successful. We don’t engage them in learning. So, to help the learning process, I designed a simple six-step process that brings out the brilliance in learners: the ENGAGE model.”

Energize and Focus Learners—Get people involved before the session starts by sending emails to explain the importance of the experience. Then give them exposure to the materials that will be used. Send books, articles, podcasts, or video to help them start to learn before they get there. When they arrive at the meeting or classroom, get them involved immediately with an interactive exercise.

Navigate the Content—Present the content through interactive lectures, demonstrations, stories, handouts, exercises with card sorts, or case studies. The key is to understand that people learn in different ways. You need to present the content in enough ways to give everyone a chance to learn.

Generate Meaning—Once the attendees have learned the content, move the learning from short-term memory to long-term memory and help participants sell themselves on why the learning is important in their world by having them create flip charts about the value, benefits, and meaning of this learning in their lives. This will rally commitment for the next part of the ENGAGE model so that they will apply what they have learned.

Apply to the Real World—Have people apply what they have learned through practicing or rehearsing. Give them all the tools they need—checklists, scripts, video examples—then have them practice, practice, practice.

Gauge and Celebrate—It is critical to assess how much learning has occurred—and then celebrate. This can be as simple as a quiz show-style game or crossword puzzle, a group mind map, or a “stump the panel” game. The idea is to create a fun way to deepen the learning and help transfer the learning to doing.

Extend Learning to Action—Keep the learning top of mind after the meeting or class. Send reminders with a tip of the week, share success stories of people using their new skills, or have award ceremonies to honor people’s commitment to the learning. Continuous reminders or refreshers will help extend the learning.

“Research indicates that designs for learning sessions focus about 70 percent of the time on the content to be learned and only about 30 percent on having learners practice what they are learning,” says Halsey. “If you want to unleash the brilliance of your people, you must flip that equation, so they are practicing the new skills 70 percent of the time. Don’t just talk at them. Let them process, learn, and get to work.”

About The Ken Blanchard Companies
The Ken Blanchard Companies is the global leader in management training. For nearly 40 years, Blanchard has been creating the best managers in the world, training over 150,000 people each year. From the award-winning First-time Manager program—based on the best-selling business book, The New One Minute Manager®—to SLII®, the most widely taught leadership model in the world, Blanchard is the provider of choice of Fortune 500 companies as well as small to medium businesses, government agencies, and educational and nonprofit organizations.

About Vicki Halsey
For more information on Vicki Halsey, go to


About the Author

Chad Gordon

Chad Gordon is the host of the LeaderChat podcast and one of Blanchard's top client partners dedicated to helping global organizations lead at a higher level.

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