In general, Saturdays are good days to sleep in. There’s one exception to this rule, and it comes on the first Saturday in February: International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.
This Saturday, February 7, 2015, is International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. I will be up early. And I will probably eat breakfast two or three times. (Is it still breakfast if it’s 2pm?)
Since this is billed as a “Learning & Development Blog”, let’s examine what talent development professionals can learn from Ice Cream for Breakfast Day:
1. Preparation is essential. On Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, you don’t want to get caught with a freezer barren of ice cream. Popsicles or half a bag of frozen peas just won’t do. If you haven’t stocked up on your favorite pint of Ben and Jerry’s, make sure you finish reading this blog post, and then go out and buy yourself a pint.
Lesson: It’s too easy to just say: make sure you’re prepared for your next presentation. We all know this is important. But it’s easier said than done. Have a presentation coming up? Block off time on your Outlook calendar so that you can map out your presentation, put together effective visual aids, and rehearse once or twice. This isn’t simply a nice-to-have step. Preparation helps reduce your own anxiety level and will make the day-of presentation experience better for your audience.
2. Offer people what they want. Ice cream for breakfast. Need I say more?
Lesson: People can wake up and look in the mirror and say to themselves: “I want ice cream.” People will never, ever wake up and look in the mirror and say: “I want to sit in my seat and listen, all day long.”
A few years ago I was talking with a colleague about a presentation. He looked at me in frustration and said: “I’m gonna talk about quality. It’s boring. Period.”
After thinking through exactly what he wanted to accomplish, we found a way to map out a presentation that would engage the audience, get them involved, and truly experience quality.
People don’t want to sit and listen. They want to do. They want to answer poll questions. They want to share their experiences. They don’t want you to always be the first to answer fellow participants’ questions; they want a chance to offer their own ideas.
3. Keep a regular schedule. I know International Ice Cream for Breakfast comes every year on the first Saturday in February. I can depend on it. It’s regularly scheduled.
Lesson: Professional development is a process, not an event. If you have a multi-day training, be sure to start at the same time every day. If you hold webinars, try scheduling them on the same day every week or every month. If you supervise employees, meet with them 1:1 on a regular schedule. If you blog, publish your posts on a regular schedule (say Mondays and Thursdays for example). People like predictability. They like dependability. They don’t like to have to remember when their next professional development opportunity should be.
Have some other thoughts about lessons we can take from International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day? Let’s hear them in the comments section.