Always take the conversation

At the beginning of the month, Betty Dannewitz released a podcast that we had an opportunity to record together and in which we talked about the importance of reaching out (from her end) and always taking the conversation (from my end).

It was a fun conversation and if you have a bit of time, I’d love for you to give it a listen and let us know what you think.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to take part in this conversation because it got me reflecting on the importance of two things:

  1. Not being too shy to reach out, and
  2. Not being too busy to take the conversation.

As L&D professionals, constantly learning and finding new sources of inspiration should be in our DNA.

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10 questions to ask before you begin designing a training program

If you’re anything like me, anytime a training request comes your way, you’ll be tempted to jump right in. “Ok, what’s the topic? What should people be able to do? Great, leave it to me, I’ll come up with something amazing!”

There are, however, some additional questions we should be asking before we jump into the development of a training program. Depending on the answers to these questions, perhaps training isn’t going to be the best solution after all.

Here are ten questions you may want to ask the next time a training project comes your way:

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5 Reasons Why Joining Your Local ATD Chapter is a Good Idea

These are strange times we’re living in. Who knows when many of us will return to our old offices (if we ever do… some claim that physical office space may become obsolete by the end of this whole quarantine). Who knows when we’ll be able to connect with old co-workers around the water cooler. Who knows when we’ll next stop by someone’s cubicle to bounce an idea around.

Physical distancing means that in-person connections will naturally fade. In the world of learning and development professionals, these connections have often been the lifeblood of new and creative ideas.

So what’s an L&D person to do?

If you’re not yet a member of your local ATD chapter, this could be a really good time to consider it. Here are five reasons why:

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What kind of facilitator are you designing for?

A few weeks ago I asked: “What kind of facilitator are you?” and I shared this model:

As part of this post, I also asked the following two poll questions:

Into which quadrant do you think that you fall?

Into which quadrant do the people you design training for generally fall?

If you haven’t had a chance to respond to those questions, I invite you to share your thoughts now by selecting the choices that best fit you and your situation. The answers I’ve received so far offered some interesting data points.

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I was a white racist. I think training made me a better person.

With a headline like that, I’m guessing my future career in politics may be over before it begins. I’m ok with that.

For a long time I felt that we lived in a nation that was realizing Dr. King’s dream, where people in the United States in the 2000s had every opportunity to be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. I worked in Washington, DC, in a youth center helping students earn their GED credential so they could have bigger and better opportunities. My students seemed to enjoy my tough love approach and my sense of humor and perhaps most importantly, my presentation style – it worked for my students in a way that their traditional high schools didn’t.

There were times when my students would be talking about “white people” and I’d give them a look and they’d quickly say: “Oh, we don’t see you as ‘white’, Brian!”

I worked with neighborhood gang members and drug dealers and it really felt to me that with some hard work, a good support system and some determination, anyone in this country had an opportunity to make it as far as they themselves wanted to go. I saw it with my own eyes! My students were earning their GEDs and getting jobs!

Then, a little over 13 years ago, I was serving as the training director for the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association. Our organization worked closely with the foster care system – a system which touched families of color at an overwhelmingly disproportionate rate compared to the general demographic make-up of the United States. Our organization’s volunteers across the country were overwhelmingly white and middle aged.

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What kind of facilitator are you?

Designing effective training is one thing. Designing training that can be delivered effectively (by you or by someone else) is a bit of a different animal. It doesn’t matter whether the training is being delivered in-person or virtually, the person delivering the session is an enormous X Factor in whether the training will be effective or not.

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Engaging People Virtually: Advice from 11 Really Successful L&D Folks

In a world under lockdown and quarantine, organizations are still needing to train their workforce. Virtual sessions have been adopted almost universally as companies (and school districts) find creative ways to make sure learning continues to happen, skills continue to improve and knowledge is shared.

I’ve talked with a lot of people over the past month, and most of them agree that even when restrictions are lifted and people can safely return to their offices, working remotely is here to stay. Several weeks ago we polled Train Like A Champion readers with the following question: When we can go back to our offices, I anticipate my team will…

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5 Job Aids to Help with Your Next Virtual Session

Over the past month, our Endurance Learning team has offered several free webinars on basic ways to put together an engaging virtual session and the importance of the “producer” role. If you missed either session, you can access a recording with the following links:

During each session, we shared some data and several job aids, which I also shared on LinkedIn and received a lot of positive feedback. Instead of having to search through the webinars or my old LinkedIn posts, I thought I’d collect all of those job aids and put them in one place.

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When technology attacks (Virtual Training Edition)

What happens if there’s some sort of technological glitch (or worse, a catastrophic freezing up of your computer) when you’re delivering a virtual session?

This week, my colleague Lauren Wescott offered a series of virtual sessions focused on the role of a producer (there’s one more session tomorrow in case you’re interested in signing up!). A producer exists to ensure your presenter can focus wholeheartedly on presenting information and engaging the participants.

One important way a producer can do this is by helping troubleshoot issues with the technology while the facilitator focuses on delivering a high quality session. Below is a guide that may help you identify some potential issues your participants are having specifically with Zoom (we’re working on a similar job aid for other platforms).

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