42 L&D Wishes

42 candles

Yesterday I celebrated my 42nd birthday, which meant a lot of candles on my cake. I grew up being told that each candle represented a wish.

Here are the 42 wishes I made as I blew out the forest fire that appeared atop my cake yesterday:  

  1. I wish Mr. Sketch hadn’t swapped the lemon scent out for banana scented yellow markers.
  2. I wish I played the guitar. I heard that Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary) starts all of his meetings out with a sing-along. Even people who come in all harried and frazzled would be able to drop all their worries and cares to a group rendition of Puff The Magic Dragon! Then the learning could begin.
  3. I also wish I knew some fun magic tricks. Last year I saw an illusionist do a really cool trick by drawing a deck of cards on flipchart and before our very eyes he had one card magically rise out of the deck of cards he had drawn. I honestly can’t think of a cooler way to dazzle an audience of learners than with flipchart magic!
  4. I wish I could speak at more conferences in Las Vegas. I think that’s a fun city. And maybe I could find someone to teach me magic tricks with flipchart. (I’m looking at you Penn Jillette.)
  5. I also wish I could speak at a conference in Australia. It’s a continent I haven’t yet been to.
  6. And Antarctica. I’m sure the scientists and explorers there could use a presentation that’s just a little different.
  7. Speaking of sceintists… I wish Pecha Kucha-style presentations could find their way into scientific symposiums and other, more traditional or academic presentation forums.
  8. I wish that I had a playlist of training- or learning-related songs that I could play as people walk into my training sessions. Have any suggestions for songs I should put on my playlist? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!
  9. I wish that more people would read and comment on this blog. I’d love to get some more 2-way interaction and sharing of diverse opinions and learning!
  10. I wish “…but at least the networking opportunities were great!” wasn’t the baseline comment for most conferences. C’mon breakout speakers! Give conference attendees a good experience!
  11. I wish that every presentation that anyone delivered would be engaging and lead to change.
  12. I wish that more people would follow these amazing folks on Twitter so that they could get more tips and tricks to make their presentations engaging and lead to change.
  13. I wish that when people thought about putting together a presentation, they’d first think about this instead of first thinking about opening up PowerPoint.
  14. I wish that PowerPoint could be used more for the powerful visual tool that it is and not used as a presenter crutch to spray information at learners.
  15. I wish that tools like Kahoot and PollEverywhere could become more commonplace in presentations.
  16. I wish that post-training evaluation forms could be better designed and yield better data (here’s a post from a friend that offers some insights into better evaluation design).
  17. I wish that learners would demand better from the time they invest in professional development workshops and conferences. Unless the presenter presented flawlessly, kept you engaged for the entire time and offered insights that you can put to use next week, your score shouldn’t really be higher than a 3 (out of 5).
  18. I wish there was enough time in the day to do everything on my must-do and want-to-do lists.
  19. I wish I were a better visual designer. My PowerPoint and elearning design could really use it! (If you have a similar wish for yourself, here’s a book I’ve been recommending recently.)
  20. I wish I could have more coffees and phone calls and Skype conversations with L&D folks in order to geek out over training and exchange ideas.
  21. I wish I could find some actual applications for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in my training projects. Seems like there’s a ton of potential to those emerging technologies! (Plus it would be fun to play with some new toys!)
  22. I wish that the term “gamification” would evoke more than just points and badges and leader boards. (Here’s a quick read that can help you maximize the concept of gamification.)
  23. I still wish ATD had gotten a little more creative with its re-branding/re-naming. (Here are 20 alternative acronyms I would have suggested… of course, there’s probably a good reason they didn’t ask me.)
  24. I wish the Buffalo Bills would learn how to actually win consistently.
  25. I wish people would stop talking about Millennials as if they were a monolithic group of whiny-yet-tech-savvy young professionals who are living at home while waiting for a promotion they feel entitled to after three weeks on the job.
  26. I wish I had unlimited funds to spend on fun training stuff at The Trainer’s Warehouse.
  27. I wish I could deliver a TED Talk on the way an effective presentation can change the world.
  28. I wish I had more opportunities to use this cool wheel in training segments. Who doesn’t like to spin a wheel and learn about a different topic?
  29. I wish that if you ever needed some help putting together a training program, you’d drop me a note and we could work together!
  30. I wish that everyone remembered to bring a sweater to each training session. The perfect room temperature is just too elusive.
  31. I wish that I could remember to come back to the Parking Lot flipchart more often than at the very end of a training session.
  32. I wish more presenters would prepare some trivia to scroll on a PowerPoint presentation prior to a workshop. I love trivia and it’s kind of a fun way to get ready for the session.
  33. I wish I had more opportunities to travel and find inspiration from everywhere.
  34. I wish there could be less melon and more berries when a continental breakfast is provided at a training session.
  35. I wish they’d make adhesive for the back of a flipchart that would stick to any surface… and not rip the paint off of walls.
  36. Sometimes I wish my kids could come sit in the corner of a session I’ve designed and delivered so that I have a better answer for them when they ask: Daddy, what do you do?
  37. Sometimes I wish my parents could sit in the corner of a session, too, just because I’m sure they’d be proud of their baby.
  38. I wish breakout rooms were used more often in webinars and web-based meetings.
  39. I wish I could find the perfect design for a facilitator guide. Visual design of a facilitator guide is so important and I haven’t quite found the perfect one yet.
  40. I’m not making this up. Sometimes I wish I could co-facilitate with Olaf from Frozen. I’m not a hugger and he likes warm hugs, so maybe he could deflect some of the hugging attention as people walk into the room. Plus I think he’d be fun to riff with as a co-presenter. I bet we’d work well together.
  41. I wish I could make an entrance into the training room with a smoke machine and strobe lights and an introduction from Michael Buffer.
  42. Above all, I wish that more people and organizations had more fun with their learning design.

There you have it. My forty-two L&D-related birthday wishes. Is there anything else I should be wishing for? Or perhaps you want to fulfill wish #8 and give me some ideas for a new playlist? I’d love your thoughts in the comment section!

14 thoughts on “42 L&D Wishes

  1. Happy Birthday!

    Regarding #25 – I am with you. We are putting them in a box. While the stereotypes are real and do exist, not all millennials fit that description – and we are missing what we should be learning from this generation. And as far as #34 goes – I COMPLETELY agree. Enough with the cantaloupe and honeydew – bring out the strawberries!

    • Thanks Betty!

      When it comes to the generations discussion, I always think the discussion could be better served by revolving around how to help people at different stages of their careers. Millennials in the workforce are at an early career stage and therefore need the support any other generation needed at an early stage of their career (I remember wanting to be promoted every three months in my first job too!).

      As for continental breakfast… yes! Strawberries. Blackberries. Blueberries. Pineapple. They’re usually on the platter… but overwhelmed by the melon! Back off melon!

    • Thanks Diane! I dig the song. Maybe not something to play to get people fired up as they walk into the session, but definitely a song that can be played during breaks. I love the theme… it’s the theme of Us – L&D professionals (and really professionals in general) – everybody DOES have to learn sometime.

  2. Happy Birthday Yoda!

    In my family, we do 1 extra candle for good luck. I think I have your #43 nailed: “I wish dessert as an appetizer was a regular occurrence, preferably in celebration of an awesome training accomplishment AND on top of the space needle.”

    What do you think?!

    • Hmmm. I do believe that wish has already come true.

      I do, however, wish every ice cream dessert came served with steam and bubbles as if it were going to take off on a rocket like at the Space Needle!

      Thanks Miranda!

  3. Bonne anniversaire! Alles gute zum Geburtstag! And Happy Birthday. I wish I could deliver training in French and German as easily as I can in English. Maybe by your 52nd birthday, we’ll all have apps that deliver perfect simulaneous translations of what the trainer (and learner) is saying.

    • Thanks Dan!

      I have a feeling Google translate is working on that. And it’ll be fascinating to see where we are with technology like that within the next 10 years.

  4. Happy belated birthday! It was great seeing you yesterday. I was trying to think of learning related songs and it’s obvious that I spend much of my time with a two year old because the songs I’m coming up with are Elmo “brush your teeth” and the “the hokey pokey”. But hey, they are both catchy and you learn some valuable things!! 😊

  5. Way late, but reading a lot of your blog posts today so… For music we like to use the Vitamin String Quartet (no words so nothing to worry about there, but they do string/classical renditions of popular songs now/ movies/ shows)

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