I recently visited my 90-year-old grandmother in Florida, and in the course of our conversation I told her that I was going out on my own. Naturally, she asked me what I was "going out on my own" to do. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, so the idea of owning one's own business is not at all foreign to our clan. However, as I opened my mouth to give her my well practiced elevator pitch, I realized that 90% of the words that were about to spill out had absolutely no meaning to her. "Virtual", "Webinar", "Online Training", "VoIP", "Blog", "vILT"... The list goes on.
I paused to ponder how to break it down for her in a way that she would understand. As a trainer, I knew that it was important to build on what the learner, or in this case, my grandmother already knew. So it went something like this:
Lori: Grandma, can you imagine how much money and time is spent these days on travel for business meetings? How much money companies spend on training their employees on how to do business or their customers on how to use their products?
Grandma: Quite a bit of money I imagine.
Lori: And think of the time they spend sitting in airports, sleeping in hotels, suffering from jet lag and stuck in traffic.
Grandma: Yes, that would definitely add up.
Lori: Well, that is where my business comes in. I specialize in helping organizations transition from doing business strictly in conference rooms and classrooms to doing it on the computer.
Grandma: And so you travel around the country to help everyone? That sounds very expensive and exhausting.
Lori: Actually, I do it by using the same technology that I am teaching people to use for their businesses.
[I pulled out my laptop to show her what I meant. As we spoke, I could see the light go on as she began to ponder the power of this technology. I knew she understood when she summed it up for me in one simple sentence.]
Grandma: So... you keep people off of airplanes and out of hotels.
I don't think I could have said it any better myself.