How To Run A Live Training Workshop With Dave Benson

Hi guys this Ryan from  And today I sit down with Dave Benson who is the National Sales Trainer for Mitsubishi Motors here in Australia.  His job is to create trainings all the time and then to help work those trainings and do training workshops.  So he spends his entire year traveling around Australia training the staff of Mitsubishi how to improve their sales skills; how to improve management; how to be better and how to grow their career and things like that. So today I get to sit down with him and I get to pick his brain about creating sales trainings. I get to pick his brain about how we can do effective introductions; how we can do icebreakers or creative openings as Dave likes to call them and how we can keep people engaged in our trainings which anyone can use to apply to their speech, get more info at we offer training hosted by 4 specialist engineers, whether you are speaking for 20 minutes or 40 minutes or an hour or whether you are doing a half day or full day or a few day training seminar or training workshop this will be a great podcast for you.

So let me go right over to it and then I’ll be back at the end to do a bit of a wrap-up of some of the things that I have learned from the session.  If you like this podcast and  you want more head over to  Just so that you are aware guys, the audio quality on my side of things isn’t  the best I think we are  getting some feedback through one of the mics and I didn’t know how to fix that but Dave’s side of  things is really good and it’s really worth listening to.  It shouldn’t be too bad, so don’t worry about it too much but I  just wanted to give you a quick heads up and hopefully I’ll work at how to fix this for future interviews.  So here we are, here is Dave Benson and me having a chat at the beach in Nord Head.  Hi, this is Ryan from and today I’m here with Mr. Dave Benson in the windy but very lovely Nord Head overlooking the water, in my million-dollar mansion as Jesse calls it so if you hear some wind or anything in the background or some  birds that’s because we’re on the headland at the beach overlooking the water.

Dave: Where else would you want to be?

Ryan: Where else would you want to be, absolutely right. Dave works for Mitsubishi at this point in time doing trainings for them and for the sales people at the dealerships and for managers and does all sorts of things. So I wanted to get him on the podcast today just to talk about firstly how do we create trainings; how do we organize workshops because he creates about one a week or something like that. And then secondly what do we do when we have people who really don’t necessarily want to be there.  And so thanks for coming Dave.

Dave: It’s a pleasure to be here.  It’s great to tune in to the podcast.  I have been doing it for the last few weeks and so it’s good to be on.  Ryan, you are doing a fantastic job and for those that are tuning  in this is the place to be if you want to write improve your public speaking skills so hopefully you all will enjoy the session today.

Ryan: Awesome.  Thanks Dave. This is the first listener interview, so it’s very very exciting.  I and Dave are also friends outside of business and podcasting.

Dave: Absolutely.

Ryan: So this will be a good one I think.  So Dave why don’t you tell the listeners a bit about yourself, a bit about what you do and kind of  your story and how you got into it.

Dave: Sure. I become a car salesman by trade.  Obviously I was a legend in school and growing up and went to university and studied for a PhD and this didn’t affect my PhD, not in car sales.  So I always loved cars when growing up and my father was a sales persons so I guess it was a pretty good job progression for me.  He  sold computers – Dawn of Souls thirty-five to forty years ago but he was sales person and I loved cars so it was a pretty good match.  So  I got into the car sales arena and that’s basically where I spent the last twelve years going through the ranks from starting as an initial sales person and then ending up managing dealerships and now being the national sales trainer for  Mitsubishi Motors.

Ryan: Okay, so you have gone from sales person to manager and then training which is what you have moved into now, what caused you to move into that and why are you so passionate about training people?

Dave: That’s a good question.  It’s something that I have always wanted to do because I feel like I – it’s like when you work in a small business you can only affect the just the people in front of you and I work with teams of three of up to eight people and when we saw some increases in their results and that was all good, I really wanted to impact more people and the opportunity for me to take this on a national basis and now I am training over three hundred and fifty sales consultants every month.  It is a great opportunity for me to really see them in their personal and professional lives move from good to great and it’s exciting to impact more people I guess.

Ryan: Well, I’m excited to get these tips especially if I was  staying on in my role as pharmaceutical rep, I do  lots of trainings one a week, I’ve got two lined up for this week even though  it’s my last week of work.  But I’ll be very excited to learn about creating trainings because a lot of the trainings that we do  ended  up being created. The territory that I work for kind of over achieves anything else that happens in the company so I have to kind of take things to a different level because what used to work or what works for other people we have kind of  surpassed on my territory substituting too well so creating trainings is something that I’m sure a lot of people have to do in their time or in creating meetings and/or presentations or whatever.

So how do you go about creating your trainings and what advice would you give to people?

Dave: It is something that I battle with I suppose on a daily basis – our course material every day and I am looking for I assume the new magic bullet that every salesperson wants. I don’t want the same old sales process, I want at new and exciting ways to get better results. But I broke down into the individual and how we can in essence move them along in their career and to see them to reach their potential through continuous improvement that’s the way that I personalize it for each individual that comes all on to my training sessions.

Ryan: So it really starts at an individual level and you think about who is in my audience?

Dave: Absolutely.

Ryan: Who am I speaking to?

Dave: Absolutely.

Ryan: And where do they need to go next in their career and how can I help?

Dave: Yes. I guess going to school I didn’t enjoy school.  I went to college for a short time I did one year of University and dropped out and I swore  a cookie cutter approach in regards to trying in regards to lectures and in essence this is the way to do it and you’ll need to come on board with it.  I didn’t like that ….

Ryan: Neither did I.

Dave: …..trying to do something that I don’t think it is tailored to the individual and the fact of  the matter is that I think  everybody’s on a different stage of their journey. A lot of people are better at some skills than others and so I would be able to tailor and come out with some tangible specific results for individuals I think is the most important.  It is about that the content that you deliver.  If  just to do a detailed Power Point training session where all the cookie cutter approach across the nation it’s only going to get limited benefit across the nation as opposed to tailoring it.

Ryan: Yes.  And I think one thing that we need to think about when creating trainings is the fact that you want to get your message across and that is your number one priority.

Dave: Yes.

Ryan: And s then going on to how am I going to create this, very rarely will one approach be the best way to get the message across to a whole bunch of people.

Dave: Absolutely.

Ryan: So I think you definitely need to tailor things to your audience in order to get the right approach. I don’t think we should look for the one-size-fits-all.  I think we should look for how can we create a training that allows us to be flexible and allows us to train different people in different ways. So you may have a similar sort of training depending on who’s in the room at that point in time.

Dave: Yes.

Ryan: Use that training based on their level.

Dave: Absolutely.

Ryan: So with the content how do you go about structuring your presentations? Like what do you do for introductions; you do icebreakers; how long are your trainings usually?

Dave: Typically I do half day training sessions.

Ryan: And that’s quite a long training session. It’s not something you can knock over for 20 minutes.

Dave: No, it’s not.

Ryan: It’s not a standard public speech?

Dave: Definitely not.   I try to keep group sizes fairly small and therefore you can have a lot of interaction around the actual learning outcome but the way that I settle up, the way that  start, I always start with a really punchy introduction. I call it a creative opening because I don’t like the word ice breaker so we call it something else.

Ryan: So what is the word that we replace ice breaker with?

Dave: Creative opening.

Ryan: Creative opening.

Dave: Because it’s got to be relevant. There’s no point in showing a video clip that you saw on YouTube but that you thought was extremely funny but has no relevance or benefits. So it’s got to be something that sparks an  interest about the subject that you are going to be  talking about.  I use a lot of video content in that sort of environment.

Ryan: Can you give us like an example of an introduction like maybe about the parts of Mitsubishi and all that sort of stuff.

Dave: Sure. Can I give you the bad news and the good news?

Ryan: Yes, give us the bad news and give us the good news.  The bad news is always the best that’s what people want to hear.

Dave: Absolutely.  I worked for a Japanese Motor Company and so of course I was looking for an ice breaker it would be funny to maybe play some Japanese jing or videos.

Ryan: And how did that go down?

Dave: And then I can reference to some of atrocities I watched the Mitsubishi Japanese executives sing like the guys in the video.  That’s what not to do, listeners.

Ryan: One thing not to do is to try not to offend people especially in your opening. Play it safe and go after something that’s more funny but not funny at someone’s expense.

Dave: Correct.

Ryan: Because  more often than not it will fall on your face.

Dave: Exactly and I think you learn more from you failings than you do from your success. So I definitely learned the hard way in regards to where that was concerned but in regards to the right way I think that the best example is just whatever topic it is or trying to find something that even just sparks some interest even if its motivational but I’ll give you an example. Something I did last month.  We were talking in a training session about looking for ways to continually improve our sphere of influence and opening  up our sphere of influencing  by networking and so I just attended a convention, a conference and in the automatic tried up in the Gold Coast and I have met quite a lot of high profile sales trainers and one which has a television program on Fox Talk which every car salesman knows well and true which is a show called Car Lot Rescue and a big American sales person that basically goes into dealership just like Gordon Ramsay and Tony Carlson as car dealerships around and makes them profitable again, but of course in a controversial way.  So anyway I met him at the training session and picked his brain about a lot of things and so of course I took a photo with him and then pried some of the content from his Fox Talk show and it was a really great introduction into networking and how for me as a sales trainer to meet other sales trainers to share knowledge and it’s really important.  So what better than to meet somebody who is high profile that has his own TV show and that I will get there one day.

Ryan: Yes, you are exactly right. So  taking I guess things that have happened in your life but then also other content that people have created and using that to kind of create an exciting opening and shows that you know what you are talking about.

Dave: Absolutely.

Ryan: So after we have done our creative opening, where do we go from there?  How do we keep people engaged for such a long time?

Dave: Well, I assume everybody in my training sessions has a short attention span. Why? Because I do.   So I  used to go to sales training sessions that went all day or even  half day and you’d have no breaks.  Maybe one for morning, one for lunch but it was either done by Power Point or one way presentations.

Ryan: You got to love those Power Point presentations.

Dave: Got to love them, absolutely.  There is nothing wrong with Power Point by the way I do use it, just in its small version. I have heard many people say the psychology of any public speech is that most people can only remember up to three points as an absolute maximum.  So being able to unpack three main topics that you are going to talk about and it doesn’t matter how long you have got being to package them into three main topics is really important.

Ryan: Yes, I was interviewing Jesse Melani and who is a pastor at our church and he was saying he basically religiously sticks to three points and so you’re saying the same thing whether you are doing a twenty-minute speech, whether you are doing a forty minutes or whether you are doing a half day or full day workshop still sticking to that three points structure  because even if you’ve got a day with someone they are still not going to be able to walk away and remember a great deal of what you said. So if you stick it to a main structure of three points then you hope that at least they will walk away with three points and remember.

Dave: Absolutely and I keep it all about them and their learning outcome. So for example in my sales training I will say to them that today that you’re going to actually improve your sales skills; that  you’re going to increase your closing ratios and you are going to sell more cars.  That’s what it’s about.  So it’s about your leaning outcome. So today I have got three points to share to make sure that you are improving yours sales skills, increasing your closing ratios and selling more cars.

Ryan: So it’s got nothing to do with you and what you want to say?

Dave: Nothing.

Ryan: It got everything to do with them and what we want them to get out of it.

Dave: Absolutely and you know what if we get through two points that’s fine; if we get through one point that’s fine.

Ryan: But again we’re going for their outcomes and what they want to achieve and I think that’s important for anyone doing a training.  It is taking away from.  Today I am going to be teaching you about this because that’s all about you and what you are doing and what you’re going to teach and bring it back to today you are going to walk away with this.

Dave: Perfect.

Ryan: Not only am I going to help you with this but this is what you are going to get out of it and so employing all the focus back on to them. And Throughout the day, what do you do to keep people engaged in a workshop to stop them from falling asleep?

Dave: It absolutely does happen.  Understanding that you can’t appeal to everybody but there’s probably going to be one in every crowd that is disengaged, at the same time you go for the masses and the easiest way to do that is by asking questions and getting to know people’s names especially when you’ve got a small group of up to fifteen.  It’s a really easy way to do this, to ask questions of their experiences of when you are training on networking.  Hi, what’s your experience in networking, what’s been some of the things that you’ve done that have worked and you telling me rather than me telling you.

Ryan: So you got to be a lot more fluid then.  So rather than you  standing up and presenting for half a day and just giving people lunch breaks what you are doing is turning it into basically a group activity.

Dave: Absolutely.

Ryan: Where you are there to facilitate the structure and the way, the flow I guessed you’d call it, the way things go but really the people in the audience the majority are the ones delivering the concept. Is that right?

Dave: Absolutely.  It is the easiest part of my job and it’s the hardest part of my job.

Ryan: And if it goes then it goes really well?

Dave: Yes, but also its is easy because in a sense you don’t have to prepare one hundred PowerPoint slides or in essence remember verbatim  what you are going to say or have to practice or rehearse a speech and if you get off topic or you get sidetracked or something like that then it’s a bad thing.  It can be a really good thing to unpack people’s experiences.  The hardest thing about that is that you have to know your stuff so when you get challenged and I can tell you in the car sales industry I get challenged all the time by sales people that say what do you know I’ve been doing this longer and I understand that my  going from their experiences. But being able to bring a fresh approach is really important because you’ve done your research.  So it’s not about the content that you put together for the session but it’s about the overall knowledge and the wisdom in essence that you bring to the room that’s really important.  That’s why it’s the easiest part of my job and it’s the hardest part.

Ryan: Well, it was the sort of the same thing with my training.  When I started training it was definitely by PowerPoint. It was always full of PowerPoint slides and I would avoid questions and answers because I was just too scared to get the gooey ones, the ones that I can’t handle and now we have an open question policy where we will address questions when they come up and we will either address them fully or we would partially address them and then move them towards the end but we would always let people ask questions throughout the presentation. But that comes from knowing your stuff and I know my industry so well. I know the techniques so well and I work with multi-million dollar business owners and I know all of these things and knowing that content and having I guess having the passion and the conviction to add to it give you so much strength in training.  And do you think that just comes with time or there are things people can do to improve their knowledge or to have that wisdom and that conviction so that they can roll with the punches?

Dave: It’s a really interesting and probably delicate balance that you have as far as content versus delivery because I mean I have always hated reading for example. The only reading that I would do was the back page of the Daily Telegraphing in Sydney and read the sports section and occasional now read a picture book to my children. But I worked out that the difference between where I am right now and where I want to be is information so I have to learn more so I discipline myself to read just one page of a book around the subject that I was going to teach on every day. Just one page, everybody can do that, a monkey can do that.   And on average I would read two books every year.

Ryan: I don’t know if a monkey could actually read a page of a book but they sent monkeys into space so ……..

Dave: Absolutely. (Laughing) Maybe I could take that on as another project teaching a monkey to read a page a day.  What do you think Ryan?

Ryan: Maybe they could look at a page and maybe even do something like that.

So really, it is really to committing to knowing your subject and committing to getting knowledge and experience and all that.  I think as you train more you learn from those experiences that people give and as you are saying you learn from your values more so than you learn from your successes sometimes. And even if it’s not a perfect training the good thing is that there is always tomorrow, there is always your next training and you can learn from that. And so sometimes I think the best way to learn is from the people that you train.  When things go well they can come out of it and when things go poorly take them out it and then work out how to avoid that next time.

Dave: Absolutely, I definitely take notes all the way through my sessions.  I have done so that of a silly dude.  Don’t give that example use a better story.  I mean stories are okay you can know your stuff you can have all the wisdom and knowledge and read every year sales training book  in the world but if you don’t have some tangible stories of how the stuff has worked and so on no one cares.

Ryan: No one wants to learn theory anymore, people want to hear stories and then upload that learning from stories and I think a lot of people train via I call it like text book reading so it’s like when you are in university or you are in high school sitting down and you have to read a text book in order to study.  Some people speak like that where they just are just being a text book but in verbal format. I think people don’t engage with that, our attention spans are too short than maybe what they were 50 years ago and so we need to engage people more and the way to do that is with stories.  And do you have a bank of stories that you call up on that you build over time?   Because I think that one of the experiences that I have had is the more that you speak the more stories come to you, the more you remember or this happened today and I need to work on that. How can people start to find stories in their lives and start to use them when they didn’t have them before?  It is tough one but…..

Dave: It is a tough one because you definitely do….  I mean I got my  philosophy that plagiarism is a heart full of flattery so if I like somebody’s story I will  steal it use it as mine, well I wouldn’t say it’s mine but that I heard this. And somebody from the last training session told me a story that happened and I use other people’s stories. That’s really important not just to use your own but to use other people’s, their testimonies, their stories. But at the same time I tend to take notes and a lot of notes on my iPhone or the stories that happened to me throughout my life that might have some relevance to a future topic that I might be talking about so I would just or just put them into Evernote and I categorize them.  This might be relevant for managers in the future and then I go through my management list and I pull out the relevance stories.

Ryan: So you are building up a bank every time so even if people are sitting there right now thinking that they don’t have any stories to tell just by being aware of things that happened to you during the day and maybe taking a note of that you can begin to build a bank of stories that you can draw upon.

Dave: Absolutely yes.

Ryan: And looking at the sales pitch that we represented and other ones were thrown in.

Dave: Its better you learn from any experience but you’ve got a take that snapshot, that mental picture of your experience and the best thing to do is to just write It down when you hear a funny story or where ever you might be and have a funny experience but you know what you can always come up with an experience from earlier on in the day.  We were walking along the beach and I’m wearing inappropriate footwear for going rock climbing…

Ryan: And that’s precisely what we did.

Dave: Yes.  And even the fact that if Ryan would have told me that we were going to go rock climbing this morning that I would have  put on a different pair of shoes so out that, maybe the Vessi waterproof sneakers which were perfect for this.

Ryan: You can take that and say that you need to be prepared.

Dave: Exactly.

Ryan: And take from that that be prepared is that you are going to ask people what you are going to be doing.

Dave: Exactly.

Ryan: You just thought that you were coming for coffee this morning.

Dave: I thought we were coming for coffee. So that’s really important. There’s always ways that you can grab an example from the morning breakfast run or whatever and they must be appropriate rather than this happened to 35 years ago.

Ryan: Yes, and so  for every interview I’ve done they have all talked about stories but I think it’s so important because that is what is so important to engage people and if everyone is saying that then I think people should listen to that and do that so we will move on and we  will talk about how to engage people who don’t want to be there but I might actually put that on tomorrow’s podcast so I just want to give you a couple minutes now to talk about who you and whether you have a website and where people can find you.

Dave: We don’t have a website but away from Mitsubishi Motors I am on annual leave at the moment so boss if you are listening please understand that I am on annual leave and I definitely work for Mitsubishi Motors and I am proud to be the National Sales Trainer of Mitsubishi.  If you want a job and you are not University graduated like myself but you want to earn good money and you want to do it with cars and given the fantastic level of customer service Mitsubishi dealerships – that applies to me because you get trained by me, and you can take this money and actually invest it online in trading business, which you can do using different techniques as the ichimoku kinko kyo strategy, that actually help you produce more money.

Ryan: Exactly, alright.   People you can go to the show notes to find out about some contact details there  if you want to email Dave and get a job from Dave so just go to and you can get access to today’s show notes there and you can find him there.  So there we have it guys I hope that you enjoyed that interview with Dave Benson.  We actually did about a 40-minute interview but I am cutting it into two segments because we went on to talk about a different subject which was how to overcome people who are very difficult or people who don’t want to be there in your training sessions how to   get them engage and how to still do a great presentation despite that and so I am going to save that for tomorrow and I’m going to have that uploaded to the podcast tomorrow so you guys can listen to it then.  But I just thought that chat with Dave Benson was really good.  It is great to see his passion for what he does and the inspiration that I gleaned from him was awesome.  Dave and I spent probably an hour or two hours before just talking about his plans for the future and where he wants to take his life and his career and its actually really exciting seeing what he is doing and seeing the steps that he has taken to grow himself from a standard car salesman to a manager and now to training all of Mitsubishi and you can see that this is a passion that’s on his life it’s not something that someone has said Dave you should do this, it is something that he is going after with his whole heart and he is doing great things in the training industry. So I am  really excited to see what happens with Dave moving forward from that interview.

I think the biggest thing that I got out of that was something that seems to be recurring in all of my interviews was the fact that stories are one of the best ways to engage people but when it comes to training and workshops drawing on other people’s stories. So rather than just using your own rather than just going  out there and speaking getting audience engagement.  If you are talking about  a topic get them to talk about an experience they had with that situation.  Like Dave story about networking and he took a photo with the TV celebrity, saying to the crowd what experience have you had with networking, tell me about a conference you went to.  Getting them to unpack one of their experiences and then going through that with the crowd and how we could have done a better or what they did well and so everyone is learning from everyone’s experiences and you actually engaging people as a result of that and I think that takes a lot of the pressure off when you are trying to run maybe a half day, maybe a full day training, maybe even just a couple hour training is the fact that you don’t necessarily have to have all the content yourself but you need to know your stuff really well and if you know your stuff really well you can just go out there and you can let it flow and you can let people’s experiences direct exactly how the content is present.  What I learned from Dave is you know what you are going to present, you have got three points but you’ve got the main takeaways that you want to give to the audience.

Remember when we were talking about the creative openings as Dave likes to call them we want to make it focus on the people that we are going to train and what they are going to take away from it. And I think if we keep that in mind for an entire training that we want them to take away this and as Dave said if we get through one point, if we get through two points or if we get through all three it doesn’t necessarily matter as long as they’re taking something away that’s going to improve their lives and enhance them in some way.  So knowing your content well enough to be able to flow with it and engage the audience I think is a better way of doing it than just getting up there and lecturing textbook speaking as I like to call it.

I really like Dave’s way of interacting. I really thought that he was great to interview because it wasn’t awkward  he was really good, he had a great deal of knowledge and so I’m really excited to share with you tomorrow’s interview as well where we talk about how to crack those hard nuts in our audience and how to overcome that.

So if you want the show notes for this episode head over to you can then get access to Dave’s contact details and also other information as well and if you want more interviews like this just go over to www.publicspeakingpower.comand you can get access to them all there or obviously through iTunes or Stitcher or any other podcasts network.  So thank you guys so much for tuning in.  I hope that this has been as helpful to you as it was for me.  It seems like I am getting so much out of this I just hope that the listeners are a getting something out of it as well. We will be back tomorrow with Dave Benson all over again for some fresh more inspiring training content, exciting stuff.

Contact Dave

You can get in contact with Dave by visiting his website and find out more about what he is up to and to contact him about that amazing job offer he mentions on the podcast.

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