Some training participants really enjoy icebreakers. They can be fun, a nice way to ease into a day of learning and they can ensure participants have an opportunity to meet one another in a low stakes activity before needing to work with each other in small group activities later in the day.
On the other hand, many training participants do not like icebreakers. Some, seeing an icebreaker scheduled for the first 15-30 minutes of a training program, choose to arrive late in order to avoid the icebreaking activities all together.
If you feel an icebreaking activity is important to help create a sense of connection and get participants talking with one another before the “real work” begins, what’s a trainer to do?
Is all of your orientation and onboarding done in a classroom? Or perhaps it’s done via Elearning? How much of it is on-the-job training?
Several weeks ago at the Association for Talent Development’s annual International Conference and Expo, I had the opportunity to meet presenter, author and Head of Training at Baker Construction Enterprises, Paul Smith. Paul has literally written the book on how his organization successfully implemented a formal, structured on-the-job training program that effectively helps bring new employees up to speed while also helping them to feel supported in their new work environment.
“How do we get subject matter experts (SMEs) to be better trainers?”
It’s a question I hear often, especially in light of the recent presentations I’ve been doing on the concept of radioactive elements, which comes from my book What’s Your Formula?
Before I dive more deeply into SMEs, I want to remind everyone what “radioactive elements” are. Radioactive elements are components of training that can be very powerful, but they can also be very dangerous or even harmful if they’re not used very well. As you can see from the image below, these elements include some of the most commonly used pieces for training today: lecture, PowerPoint, SMEs, handouts, smile sheets (level 1 evaluation forms), icebreakers, elearning, augmented reality, role play, games and data.
On Thursday, I shared a short story about a recent team meeting that was nothing short of magical. One of my colleagues, Erin Clarke, had recently attended a virtual conference and shared a few of her take-aways with the rest of our team. As she shared, the team grew more curious about how the rest of us could apply some of the things Erin was sharing.
Perhaps you just returned from ATD’s International Conference and Expo. Perhaps you or someone on your team attended a virtual conference, or even a webinar. During today’s podcast, Erin and I talked a little more about how she was able to inspire the entire team with both curiosity and the desire to try new things by sharing her own virtual conference experience.
Recently, my teammate Erin Clarke attended a virtual conference. When she was finished, I asked if she wouldn’t mind sharing some of her key take-aways with the rest of our team. The result of this conversation was much more magical than I could have imagined.
The Association for Talent Development’s International Conference and Expo kicks off in earnest today, and in the final podcast of our series featuring ATD ICE speakers, my longtime friend and fellow L&D nerd (and VP of Organization Development at FORUM Credit Union in Indianapolis), Michelle Baker, fills in as our podcast interviewer to ask me some questions about my upcoming session (which will take place on Wednesday, September 1, from 8am – 9am Mountain time).
For years I’ve facilitated presentation skills programs and train the trainer programs for Subject Matter Experts, hoping that they’d buy into the idea of adult learning theory, some basic instructional design principles and the need to abandon bullet point-laden PowerPoint slides. It’s worked to varying degrees of success.
Later this month at the Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) International Conference and Expo (ICE), Darlene Brady Christopher, who is a Senior Knowledge and Learning Officer with the World Bank, will be sharing her experiences from a program that has seen great success converting SMEs to more effective presenters. Through a bonus podcast this week, we went into more depth about how her community of practice program has helped keep SMEs at the World Bank engaged and interested on becoming stronger presenters.
Since 2007, Jane Hart has been compiling a list of the top 200 tools that learning professionals find the most useful. It began by asking a few people to opine and now her annual top 200 list receives votes from thousands of learning and development practitioners from around the world.
What trends has she seen? What’s been the most surprising tool to top the list over the past 14 years? Take a few minutes to hear about why she originally began compiling this ranking and what she’s learned in doing it.
In July, the Association for Talent Development published an article I wrote to expand on this idea of an X-factor in their monthly publication, TD magazine. The article was entitled Presenter, Know Thyself. This concept revolves around a presenter knowledge/ability learning matrix. The article goes into more depth about how to navigate this matrix to become a more effective presenter.
Why is it important to know where you might fall on this matrix? I’ve found this matrix to be very helpful in reassuring me, as a presenter, that I don’t need to be able to do everything perfectly.
Recently I had a chance to talk with Brandon, and my biggest take-away was that it’s silly for folks in L&D to insist on a “seat at the table” where decisions are made in an organization if we haven’t done our homework and identified the needs of individuals and teams we’re working with. L&D professionals shouldn’t wait for someone to tell them to do a needs assessment. We need to be proactive, which is how we bring value to the table.
Of course, once a needs assessment has been conducted, then we need a strategy to address those needs. That’s where Brandon’s concept of a “playbook” comes in.