Oh, the Vegas Rule. What a simple little phrase: “What happens here, stays here!”
Being raised in Nevada, I always enjoy a solid reference to the state of my heart (feel free to join me in the first verse of “Home Means Nevada” if you’re a Nevadan at heart, or take a short Google field trip to enjoy someone else singing it in case you’re not familiar).
Now that you’re back from your mini parenthetical field trip, what, if anything, does this have to do with training? Well it’s only one of the most commonly invoked ground rules by trainers to insure confidentiality in a class. And I’ve noticed an upswing in the number of trainers who include this rule during the expectations—setting portion of their classes.
I think it provides participants some comfort to know that anything discussed with their learning partner won’t leave that room. And unfortunately, all too often it never does. Participants work on tough messages, practice useful skills, and then, “what happened there, stays there.” They treat their application case-related discussions as a guilty pleasure only to be indulged in the secret, dark corners of a training room. And since they miss the opportunity to further grow and develop their skills with a real world application, they are left with vague, but positive recollections of a safer place where all skills were good, and all conversations productive—if only they could transport back to the safety of the classroom experience.
So as much as it pains me to even allow the words to escape my mouth, you need to be actively working on ways to counteract the long-term affects of the Vegas Rule. And make sure you’re approaching it in a balanced manner. Be very clear that while participants won’t be required to “go public” with all of the details of their learning partner discussions during the class, the whole point of the training is to make sure that “what happens here, transfers to there,” wherever their “there” happens to be.