Training is hard on everyone — difficult for you to prepare and challenging for employees to endure while feeling caught in a high school time warp. (The stare-at-the-classroom-clock type high school memory, not the Senior Prom time-of-your-life kind.)

Being aware of the interest gap between presenter and student can greatly increase a teacher’s effectiveness as a communicator. Since you find all things ethics and compliance fascinating, you might mistakenly perceive that your audience shares your enthusiasm, like this:

Unfortunately, your employees probably have a training experience closer to this classic scene:

Don’t be a Bueller.


The important information you have won’t help employees flourish in their jobs if they don’t take it to heart. Studies consistently peg retention of what a person reads or hears at 10-20%. Adding something visual to the mix — photos, movie clips, live demonstrations — will increase retention to 65%. Get your audience actively participating in discussions or physically doing something, and retention shoots through the roof.

(SPOILER ALERT — Power point slides filled with text does NOT count as “visual.” That’s still verbal/reading, so people will only remember 10% of your painstaking bullet points.)

You can help people ingest your training, and even (dare I say it?) look forward to it like the students in clip from “Better Off Dead”.

Here are six suggestions for delivering your information in engaging, unexpected and visually memorable ways:



This is the easiest way to help information sink in — let your class break into pairs or trios and talk about your topic, their personal experience or how they’ve witnessed the topic play out in the real world. The beauty of group discussion is there’s no prep on your part and retention increases exponentially (unless you let them discuss too long or range too far off topic).


A short news clip of an employee or company dealing with your topic (in either the positive or negative) will make your words hit closer to home as they witness someone living through it.


These go one step beyond news stories by using Hollywood’s best and brightest to reinforce your point. Use clips you’ve seen from film and television that illustrate your teaching point, or show your team one of the clips I post every Movie Clip Monday.


You can always add photos to your deck, but why not take it up a notch by creating memes? These bold, often hilariously captioned photos filling up your social media feed are surprisingly easy to make. (Visit I also provide free compliance related memes every Friday on our blog.



No, don’t circle everyone up at your feet while you read “The Little Engine That Could.” Telling true stories that illustrate a compliance point, especially from your own life, will bring your discussion to life. Better yet, open up the floor for others to share real stories they believe highlights your topic.


I don’t mean dodgeball. (Though that might be a fun break. Definitely memorable.) Using any simple group game that can help drive home your point, like “Hot Potato” to illustrate blame shifting or “Mafia” for keeping trade secrets, will exponentially increase your audience’s retention. (I guess you could play dodgeball to exemplify verbal harassment.)

No matter which method you use, it’s important to get your class interacting with your material and each other. When you help them intellectually, emotionally or physically connect with what you’re teaching, you increase the likelihood that they will remember and act upon the important information you’re imparting in the future.

And if they unexpectedly have fun in the process, all the better.


Bryan Belknap, an award-winning screenwriter, is Creative Director at Resonate Pictures, which specializes in story-based training and branding films. He will be speaking at SCCE Compliance & Ethics Conference in Las Vegas.


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