Using TAPE to Improve Learning

Published on 2010-12-21

Source: maureen lunn @ Flickr
WE HAVE AN EXPRESSION AT CLARKMORGAN, “It’s not what you say as a presenter, but what your audience (or trainees) remember which is most important.” I was reminded of this motto this week, as I sat in on my colleague, Morry Morgan’s ‘Executive Public Speaking Skills’ demonstration in Beijing. At the end of the two and a half hour demonstration, I was impressed at how the audience, of 60 or so HR professionals, was able to recount the three ClarkMorgan techniques – 5 Step Introduction, Referring to the Audience, and Handling Difficult Questions. I can quite confidently say that everyone remembered. And not only did they remember, but they were also able to use these new skills. That’s because Morry used the ClarkMorgan TAPE method of training.
[quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]TAPE stands for ‘Theory’, ‘Application’, ‘Practice’, and ‘Evaluation’.[/quote]
TAPE stands for ‘Theory’, ‘Application’, ‘Practice’, and ‘Evaluation’, and I’ll introduce the four components by describing one of the modules that Morry taught, namely ‘Referring to the Audience’. Firstly, what is ‘Referring to the Audience’? It’s quite simple in principle, and involves the presenter using the names of his or her audience during a presentation. The theory behind ‘Referring to the Audience’ is split three ways. When a leader uses his audience’s name, most commonly the names of his or her subordinates, he or she builds respect, involvement, and a level of comfort with the audience.

“As Wangwei knows, this graph represents his team’s efforts in building sales in the north-east region.”

Wangwei feels a touch of respect at being named.
The second advantage of using ‘Referring to the Audience’ is that it helps the trainer maintain control of his or her audience. For example, if Wangwei, in the above example, happened to be day dreaming, or playing on his mobile phone, the quick mention of this name will draw his attention. Interestingly, Wangwei’s name is sensitive to his ears alone. Imagine that you were in, say, Sanlitun bar street on a Friday evening, and someone you knew called your name. How many people would turn around. Chances are, only you. That’s because our ears are tuned to specific words. Morry highlighted this fact when he mentioned one of our past employees, an Australian trainer called Wade. On arriving to Beijing, Wade had difficulty adjusting to public environments, because, as you can guess, the telephone greeting of ‘Wei?’ kept drawing his attention. He found himself turning left and right in search of his buddy. That is why using Wangwei’s name, to replace the noun ‘you’ get’s Wangwei’s attention, but doesn’t draw the attention of the other audience members. “As you know…” becomes “As Wangwei knows…” and nobody is the wiser.
The final, and more fascinating theory behind ‘Referring to the Audience’, is that it can be used to remember names. A number of years ago, both Morry and I were working with a group of Maersk Shipping high-potential staff; 49 to be exact. I remember that number because both Morry and I were able to remember everyone’s names, by the end of day. I left the room, and Morry preceded to conduct a roll-call on the 49. When I heard the applause through the door, I knew he had succeeded, and better still, when I matched his achievement, the audience realized that it wasn’t a natural born ability, but a skill that can be learned!
The examples I have given above were those given by Morry on the day of his demonstration. Examples and case studies represent the application of the training, and allow the trainer to paint a more vivid picture for trainees. It is the bridge between the theory and third stage, which is practice.
During the practice section, Morry controlled the 60 plus trainees, putting them into groups of four or five, and asking them to conduct a short ‘5-Step Introduction’ and also including the names of their small group within their presentation. Trainees had removed their name badges, so each participant had to first get to know his group before using the technique. Evaluations were carried out on-the-fly, and Morry also selected five trainees, who had shown to excel at the technique, to demonstrate in front of the whole group. From start to finish, it was an excellent demonstration of ClarkMorgan’s TAPE method of learning, and I am sure 60 trainees would agree with me.