Training is a useful tool for organizational growth.  But if the new behaviours don’t last, then you will never achieve the intended results and you might as well be throwing money away.

According to the ‘Forgetting Curve’, proposed by German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus, roughly 70% of a memory is lost within the first 24 hours “if no attempt is made to retain it”.  While this principle has been known for over a century, few training programmes make any serious attempt to deal with the problem.

HardTalk™ is different.  Our programme is designed to ‘make it stick’ by interrupting the forgetting curve.  Using techniques validated by renowned neuropsychologist Art Kohn, our unique approach is implemented before, during and after training.

These activities also produce insightful, real-life, data that is used to continually improve the training’s effectiveness by better tailoring it to the specific needs of your organization.

Before Training – ‘Investigate Need’

If you want people to learn, retain, and ultimately transfer knowledge to the workplace, it is essential that you understand the ergonomics of the brain. Our brain is enormously powerful; it can remember vast amounts of information, so we need to design training that is compatible with the brains natural ways of learning.” Art Kohn, neuropsychologist

Before beginning the training, we invite participants to complete a HardTalk™ audit – either as individuals or teams.  This will reveal the gaps in current results and allow the trainers, and participants, to identify the specific areas that require behavioural change.

We also provide a selection of optional pre-reading, in the form of short, easily digestible articles and videos, that will help open participants’ minds to the areas that need work.

We can also deliver a HardTalk™ focused 360 degree report; an invaluable tool in determining training needs. This involves collecting opinions about a worker’s current HardTalk™ abilities from a range of individuals including supervisors, peers and even customers.

Finally, we work with management to carry out an organizational audit and identify any barriers, structural or otherwise, that might stop the new behaviours from being embedded successfully.

During Training – ‘Maximise Retention’

During the training we scaffold a variety of activities to ensure that the content is presented at the right time and is relevant to the lives of participants; the more relevant it is the more it will be retained.

We also make it difficult, deliberately.  Researchers who study neuroscience, psychology and education have reached the surprising conclusion that infusing training with strategic difficulties and challenges dramatically improves the learner’s long-term retention. Our participants are presented with scenarios where there are many ambiguities, and potential approaches, and asked to apply HardTalk™ principles. They are also challenged by the facilitator and their fellow participants to further apply these principles in examples from their own life.

We know bullet points can be uninspiring.  We use stories, many of which are regionally-inspired, throughout the programme to add depth, and spice, to the content.  This narrative style is much more easily retained by our brains than lists of bullet points.

We understand that some people learn differently from others.  Towards the end of the programme we ask participants to recall ways they have successfully learned new skills in the past, discuss why they worked and use that to identify their own strategies for retaining lasting HardTalk™ skills.  They are then encouraged to use these on returning to work, whether to teach others the principles and skills or to fulfill a commitment to a partner to complete and review a HardTalk™.

We also ensure that all materials, including slides, videos, handouts and takeaways, are designed so as to be easily digested and referred to, when needed.

After Training – ‘Boost Behaviour’

On completion of the HardTalk programme we administer a content quiz. Completing a knowledge based test immediately helps to interrupt the forgetting curve at its most nascent stage of decline; essentially when the memory is still entirely intact.

Participants then receive 2+2+2 Micro boosters.  These boosters are short interactions that are staggered over 2 months. They provide an extremely effective retrieval opportunity that signals the brain that the information is important and should be retained.

After 2 days: Recognition Boosters

The initial booster includes a short series of multiple-choice questions, in which the correct answer is not immediately apparent. There is also a poll that records the participant’s opinion on the topics and whose results can then be viewed and compared with answers from colleagues. This forces a deeper level of processing which will help long-term retention.

After 2 weeks: Generative Boosters

In the generative booster, the participant does not just recognize the right answer from a list. Instead, they have to think about the topic and develop a response. We use both fill-in-the-blank and “how can you imagine?” questions, where participants are asked to both retrieve the information and to think about applying it to their daily job.

After 2 months: Integrative Boosters

This question asks the participant to retrieve some information and to provide concrete examples of how they have made use of this information in their job. This feedback can facilitate the transfer of learning and provide useful data on the lasting value of the HardTalk™ training.

If required, there are also many more opportunities to follow up, ask questions and join in discussions via social media and the Members Only Area.

All alumni will also receive our newsletter, with links to articles about HardTalk™ related topics and research, so the topic remains fresh.

Finally, in order to complete the HardTalk training programme and receive their official certification, participants must complete 3 HardTalk™ Rehearsal scenarios.  Participants video themselves taking part in three scenarios, in which they will demonstrate their understanding of the skills and processes they learned in HardTalk™. Once they are confident their video reflects their level of HardTalk™ knowledge, it is submitted for feedback and certification.  At this point, participants are aiming to exhibit the behaviours they have learned that will make difficult conversations easier, strengthen relationships and achieve effective results.

Personalised HardTalk™ Coaching is also available for individuals or groups.


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