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Home  /  Podcast   /  March Quick Tips with Cordell Riley and Evan Hackel – Episode #30

Hosts Cordell Riley and Evan Hackel sit down with Megan Sweeney, learning strategy manager at Tortal Training, to discuss top training tips shared from March podcast guests.






Announcer: Welcome to “Training Unleashed.” The show that will help you design and deliver training that’s off the chain and will make a difference. Now, here are your hosts, Cordell Riley and Evan Hackel.

Megan: Welcome to “Training Unleashed.” Today is going to be a very special podcast. We are going to review some of the top training tips Evan and Cordell have learned from some solo coworkers in our field. I would like to start off today by introducing Evan and Cordell, before we dive into some of the best tips we can share with you. Evan, how are you doing today?

Evan: I am doing fantastic today, Megan. I’m really looking forward to this episode.

Megan: Me too. Thank you. And how are you doing today, Cordell?

Cordell: Megan, I am doing awesome. Delighted to be here. And this is gonna be a lot of fun.

Megan: Well, cool. Let’s get started. Evan, we’d like to kick off with you. Can you share with us one of the cool training tips we learned from Jeffrey Gitomer?

Evan: I would be delighted to. His tip, simply stated, is to be a successful trainer, you need to view your presentation as a performance. This really hits home for me, because I am naturally an introvert. So, if I was doing a presentation and not thinking of it as a performance, I’d be quiet, and I’d be into myself. And to be a successful presenter, you’ve gotta be animated. You have to change your inflection in your voice. You can sometimes talk softly to make really key points. But you need to think of it as a performance, because you need to have that energy, and you need to have people that are listening excited to listen to you. So, if I was my normal self, it would be pretty darn boring to listen to me talk, because I’m an introvert and I’m a little bit in my own head when I talk. But if I talk like a performer, and I have that energy, and I have that excitement, and I have that enthusiasm, I’m stepping out of myself to be that performer, I can make an amazing presentation. And I think this is a great tip because you should always think of yourself as a performer when you’re doing a presentation.

Megan: And I have a question for you, Evan. With the idea of it being a performance, would you change your performance depending on your learner audience, like compared to a group of sales team, compared to maybe some technology experts that were in training?

Evan: Always. You always wanna change how you perform, what you’re doing, how you’re talking about, to who you’re talking about. And I’ll add this tip to Jeffrey’s tip, which is be careful of jargon. We know things, and depending…so, if we’re talking to somebody at a very high level, so they know terms. So, that’s okay to talk to them in jargon. But if you’re talking to a bunch of beginners, you absolutely want to explain everything, and not assume that they know it. So what you’re presenting changes. And your level of enthusiasm, how you act may change based on the age and maturity of the audience, because you wanna custom craft your performance to your audience.

Megan: Well, thank you, Evan. Cordell, I’d like to tap into your brain for a few minutes. Can you share with us the great tip we learned from Debra Benton?

Cordell: The one that Debra shared that’s really resonated with me, and her tip was, “Confidence with a smile is my secret to success, whether in life or training.” And if you just think about that for a second, you know, this is really relevant to me right now because there’s actually a training session that I’m going through, and one of the individuals that’s in this session with me had this statement. He said, “Smile at the world, and the world smiles back.” Smile at the world, and the world smiles back. Just think about that for a second. So if you’re walking down the street, if you’re at a conference, convention, or a meeting, and if you greet individuals that you’re passing with a smile, what are they gonna do? They’re typically gonna smile back at you. And just think of how open, how fun that is. How engaging that is. So, a smile can get you so far versus a frown.

And, I’ll also go back to one other story. When I first started in the training world some time ago, one of my first jobs was to be a trainee training organization for a national automotive company. And the telephone was really important to us, you know, because, typically, people would call before they came in to get their cars repaired. And we always had a saying that says, “Smile over the telephone. They can hear your smile over the phone.” And if you just think about that for a second, if somebody is smiling, you’re gonna tell it in their tone, their inflection, and all of those things. So, a smile can get you a long way. Be it walking down the street, be it on the telephone. Also in a training class. If you greet your trainees with a great smile, that’s just gonna warm that room up and get you so far. So I absolutely loved that tip, Megan.

Megan: And another great thing to do, I think, in any field, is to help cheer that other person up. You know, if you kinda see that they’re not smiling, kind of give them a reason to smile. Kind of like passing on the streets like you said, because it can be contagious.

Evan: On a side note, but I think an important note to the smiling thing, I make a deliberate point every day to try to make a couple of people especially happy. So, I give an uber conversation, and at the end, I just make a point, and I compliment that person. Or I’ll compliment somebody, a waiter. I’ll compliment a…I just like to make someone’s day. And that gives me a smile. And I think when you deliberately try to be a positive person, it just makes a big difference in your life. You naturally smile. You’re naturally happy. Because when you watch someone, feel the impact of you saying something and making them feel special, it makes a big difference. It really does.

Announcer: “Training Unleashed” is brought to you by Tortal Training, specializing in E-learning and interactive online training solutions, for corporate, government, non-profit, and franchise organizations. Tortal makes effective training easier. Just go to to gain access to real-world tools that can make a difference. That’s T-O-R-T-A-L,

Megan: So, Evan, let’s go on to our next tip. It’s from a gentleman, Kevin Farrell. And one thing that I find neat about all of these tips, just FYI to our listeners, doesn’t matter what industry you are from, this particular person is from the insurance industry, that we can all get training and coaching tips from everyone. So, what did Kevin share with us, Evan?

Evan: Well, he said the most critical ingredient to successful training is engagement. And I was really happy to get this one because I wrote a book on engaging leadership, and my entire business model was around engagement. So I could not agree more. The reality is, that when people…and there are all kinds of statistics. And you’ll hear this. That people remember 8% of what they hear, or they’ll remember this percent of what they read, or all that. And, by the way, I have looked, and you can’t find the statistics anywhere. I think someone made it up and people just keep repeating them. But I think we all instinctively know that when you just listen to something, you forget a large amount of it. It’s the use. It’s the thinking of it, and then having to use it, that makes people remember.

That’s why in all of our e-learning, when we do e-learning, we always have interactive activities. We always have people that learn to prove that they have known it to, and actually, you know, taking an e-learning course, creating engagement. And, that’s also true in live training, is you don’t wanna just be talking to people. I was at a session yesterday where a person literally went one hour presenting high-quality information, without a single person asking a question, and without a single piece of engagement. And, you know, that just doesn’t work. I mean, people sat there and thought, as I did, “This guy is really smart.” Now, if you ask me to think of three things the guy said, I would be hard-pressed to do it.

So, when you do training of any kind, if it’s live training, you wanna have interactive parts where people use it. And if you’re doing e-learning, you need to have interactivity. If you’re doing a webinar, you need interactivity. You constantly have to think of whatever you do training, that you’re gonna have interactivity. And I’ll take this a step further. I love games. So, when I make presentations, I like to play games. And I like to play games where people have to think. And that thinking causes them to really remember the learning. It takes a lot of work, by the way, to think of great games that make the point that you wanna make. But, you know, interactivity causes people to remember what it is you’re trying to train. That is the purpose. In addition to that, we all know that interactivity is more fun, it’s easier, it’s hard to listen, but when they’re participating, their energy builds up and they’re more receptive. So, Kevin is dead on right. This is an excellent tip.

Megan: I couldn’t agree more, Evan. I actually had the benefit, today, to go to a meeting with Crystalle Ramey, our Vice President of Learning and Development. We were with a client, and she was educating the clients how to build more effective instructor-led training. And his eyes lit up when she said it’s like 80-20. It needs to be 20% you, the facilitator, 80% of your audience, so they really feel like they are part of the entire learning experience. Instead of just standing up there like that gentleman you mentioned from yesterday, Evan, just speaking and speaking, because it’s kind of like the Charlie Brown’s Snoopy, like, “Wah-wah. Wah-wah.” And I think she gave that gentleman today more education, and we haven’t even started to rebuild their guides yet. So, it was really great to hear her talk about that today. Cordell, can you share with us the great tip that we learned from Patricia Fripp?

Cordell: This tip really resonated with me as well. And I’ll read it for you again. It is just awesome. “If you want your presentation to stick with your audience, you have to be genuine, real, and sincere.” So when I think about that, you know, what that’s saying is just keep things really, really, real. You know, don’t try to be somebody that you’re not. Don’t try to make up airs. Don’t try to do things that’s not who you are. You know, when I think about presentations, and workshops, and things of that nature that we’re obviously talking to this audience about, you know, one thing that I know a lot of people use, and I try to use them as much as I can, is stories. You know, telling a story is a great way for people to learn.

But, you know, many times, a lot of people like myself, trainers, presenters, we go to workshops and we hear other people talk about things and they tell stories. Now, for me to try to come back and share a story that’s not true, that’s not who I am, that’s not gonna be sincere. It’s not my story. But if I look through my background and my history and come up with things that are relevant to my audience and share stories that are true and authentic to me, I’m gonna deliver that message with much more passion and much more charisma and much more enthusiasm with words that’s going to land with my audience. So it has to be something that’s true to that person.

The other way I’ll say it too, if you try to be a fake, it’s gonna show. Your audience will know it. But, conversely, if you’re being your true, authentic, sincere self, that’s going to resonate as well. She had one other word that I’m gonna pick up on. That’s being sincere. That’s being sincere. You know, a lot of people, when they think about presentations, and if you look back at, you know, studies, and say, you know, “What do people fear the most?” Most people fear public speaking. People are afraid of public speaking. And, let me go on the record and say that I do a lot of keynotes at franchise conferences, conventions. Love doing them. I wanna do a lot more of them. So absolutely love them. But I still get nervous before I go on stage to speak. And one thing that’s helped me overcome that is to really kind of change my mindset. If I’m focused on being nervous, then I’m too inwardly focused. I’m focused on Cordell. When I really need to be focused on my audience.

So how do I sincerely get myself in their place to think about what they’re dealing? So, the framework of mind that I get into is that I have this message that I wanna share. And if I share it in such a manner that it lands with my audience, they can go out and do something differently with their business. They can grow their business. They can get into the next level. They can take care of their customers better. So, just really changing that, and sincerely being more focused on your audience, it’s not about you, it’s really about them getting your message so they can actually go back and take action with the thing that you’re having to share. So, that just really resonated with me as well. Genuine, keeping it real, and being true and sincere with what you’re trying to do there as well.

Announcer: We’re so glad you’re listening to this episode of “Training Unleashed,” brought to you by Tortal Training. The difference between Tortal Training and other online training companies is we are primarily a training company with technology rather than a technology company that does training. Wanna find out more? Just go to That’s T-O-R-T-A-L,

Megan: I think those are great points, Cordell. And, you know, like you said, with your keynote presentations, I mean, I, of course, got nervous before today started. But once we really get involved with what we’re talking about, you tend to relax. Also, because we’ve got a passion about what we are talking about, you know. And if I were to stand here and talk about window panes and to train how to install a window, I don’t know that I would rock that out.

Evan: Yeah. Yeah.

Megan: Right?

Cordell: You’re not being your authentic self when you’re talking about window panes. And other people can get on board and do a great job with that, but you’re not being your true, authentic self when you’re doing that. And that shows.

Evan: You know, it’s interesting, Cordell, because this last one from Patricia, who, by the way, is probably one of the leading experts in skills-based, you know, how to be an excellent keynote speaker, presenter, etc., really touches on all these tips. Right? Because…and your answer touches on it. Like, you know, thinking of your presentation as a performance is really thinking about your audience and what they need, not what you need, right, because you’re making that extra effort. And the smile is that being genuine part, right? And then, you know, thinking about your audience in a way that they want to learn would be engagement, right? So, it kind of wraps them all up. You know, Megan, we’re at the end, and this is our first tips podcast, which is excellent, but certainly not our last. But we always end with the host, Megan, getting to share one of her tips. So, Megan, we would love to hear your tip.

Megan: Thank you very much. A tip that I’d like to share today, kind of a best practice, is really about us, the trainers, or all the trainers out there. It says this, “Don’t get too busy focusing on training others that you lose sight of your own development. Take the time to evaluate yourself and grow as a professional.” Just listening to you, Evan and Cordell, today, both of you have already mentioned some of the professional development that you’re going through. Cordell, you’re going through a leadership program. Evan, I know that you’ve gone through one, and you also spoke of that speaker that you heard yesterday. I think it’s totally important to continue to look inside ourselves and challenge. To keep up with the Joneses, but just to learn about something we’re passionate about. And I like that one of our interviewees we spoke with before, that learning is like a natural curiosity. And I think that if it’s not within you, that maybe you’re not thinking in the right passion. So I think that the space that we’re all in, Cordell, Evan, myself, and others out there, since we’re so hungry to continue to grow and learn, I think it’ll be easy to continue to seek self and professional development.

Evan: Obviously the people that take time to listen to our podcast, which, by the way, I wanna thank the audience because we have an amazing audience, and actually a large audience. We actually have people all over the world that listen to this podcast now, which is really kind of cool. We are all taking the time to do what Megan just suggested, is to become better at what you’re doing. And I think that all is a great tip, Megan. Because sometimes you forget or assume that because, “I do this for a living, I don’t need to get better.” But I am constantly reading books. I just went to a conference for professional speakers and spent the weekend learning at how to be better at my profession. And it’s an incredibly important point to constantly work on yourself. What is that adage? You’re either green and growing or ripe or rotting. So, good, good, good point.

Cordell: Can I add one more piece to that? And this will be a short, sweet one. A sharp saw chops more wood. So just think about that for a second. A sharp saw chops more wood. And with that, I’m sure the minds are rolling. Everybody got where I’m going with that. But a sharp saw chops more wood.

Megan: I actually can envision it already. Yes.

Evan: But isn’t it…doesn’t a sharp saw saw more wood?

Megan: No, I think it’s chopping, Evan.

Cordell: I think it’s chopping. Or is it the ax? Or it’s a sharp knife.

Evan: It’s a sharp ax chops more wood.

Cordell: A sharp ax. There you go. A sharp ax chops more wood.

Megan: Well, Evan and Cordell, can’t appreciate your time more today. It’s been a pleasure. I look forward to joining up with you, Evan and Cordell, again, and also to join up with all of our great listeners.

Evan: Have a great day, everyone.

Cordell: Take care, all.

Announcer: This has been “Training Unleashed.” But, it doesn’t stop here. Just go to to subscribe to the show. That way, you’ll never miss an episode. And you’ll be well on your way to delivering training programs that are off the chain. We’ll talk to you next time on “Training Unleashed.”

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