Warning: Aggressive self-promotion ahead.
I design my in-house marketing writing workshops around practical exercises completed by participants on the spot, rather than on elaborate presentations before a passive audience. Why? Because it’s the most effective way to transfer useful skills students can apply immediately.
So you can imagine my delight when I found the following paragraph in an 8-page memo written by Walt Disney to an art teacher:
I have found that men respond much more readily to classes dealing with practical problems than to more theoretic treatment. Therefore I think it would be a very good idea to appeal to these men by conducting these classes with the practical approach in mind. In other words, try to show in these classes that the men can make immediate practical application of what they are being taught.
Right on, Walt! (Or should I say, “Write on!”?) If you’re going to train your in-house talent, don’t expect long-winded slide shows to do the trick. Instead, you need a curriculum based on a series of progressive, hands-on exercises (each building on the lessons of previous activities) with clear explanations and concrete examples BEFORE the exercises, and precise, personalized feedback AFTER each one.
Accept nothing less. Walt wouldn’t.