Building a Better Role Play

Many people find the six dirtiest words in a training setting to be: “Now let’s do a role play!”

There are many reasons people don’t like role play, and many of those reasons are legitimate. Often people don’t have enough context to carry on an effective scenario. Often the role play arrives at a happily-ever-after sort of conclusion that is neat and easy to wrap up in a training setting, but not actually realistic at all. Often people don’t like getting up in front of all their colleagues… and then receive feedback.

There’s gotta be a better way.   Continue reading

Use Data to Make a Compelling Business Case for Training

Shortly after this year’s Super Bowl, this statistical analysis began making its way around the Internet:

Statistics used poorly

As a Buffalo Bills’ fan, I appreciated it.

As a training professional, it served as a very good reminder that numbers can be very deceiving.

So how do we make the best business case for training and professional development? Numbers can be helpful… if we use the right ones.   Continue reading

Case Study: Continuing the Learning after a Conference Session

Last fall I had an opportunity to deliver a pair of presentation skills sessions at the Arkansas Early Childhood Association Annual Conference in Little Rock. Everyone I encountered during the few days that I was in Arkansas showed me an amazing time, the session participants were engaged throughout, and then I got on a plane and returned home. What did the participants do with the concepts I’d taught?

Recently, I exchanged a few messages with one of the conference organizers – Michelle Pounds – and was amazed to hear how they had extended the learning from my sessions. It can serve as a model for how organizations can get the most out of their investment in sending people to a conference, maximizing the possibility that the learning is applied in the real world. Following is a brief description of what Michelle and her team did to keep the learning going, written in Michelle’s words:   Continue reading

Valentines for your Favorite Presenter!

When I was younger, I used to love Valentine’s Day. I loved decorating a cereal box with construction paper to serve as my “mailbox”, and I certainly loved seeing the different Valentines that got dropped into my box. I’d hope for one with Star Wars or G.I. Joe… though I also loved the ones with puns and jokes… and the best ones came with blow pops or Skittles attached.

Every once in a while, in an office, I’ll find a fun Valentine sitting on my computer when I come back from a meeting or perhaps some team will have gotten organized and left a Valentine in everyone’s mailbox in the mailroom. Getting a Valentine still makes me smile.

If they still make you smile, today’s blog might serve to help spread cheer and smiles around your office this Valentine’s Day. Below are five training-themed Valentines Continue reading

Teaching Style: What Would Jesus Do?

Last week I was sitting in church and I was struck by how the homily held my attention from start to finish. In the homily, the speaker compared the teaching style of Jesus to other rabbis and holy men of his day.

As I listened, I grabbed a pen and found a donation envelope in the back of the pew in order to jot down a few notes. I knew this homily was blog-worthy.

Whether you believe Jesus was The Messiah, just another prophet, just some guy who lived two thousand years ago or just some character made up in a book that a lot of other people find important, the fact is that the teaching style that was attributed to him was very, very different than what was considered normal.

There’s a lot of value for learning and development professionals to take a look around at how they apply their craft and ask: what would Jesus do?   Continue reading

Charts and graphs in PowerPoint: There’s got to be a better way!

I’ve been reading Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations and these sentences resonated with me: “Often ideas come immediately. That’s good, but avoid the potential pitfall of going with the first thing that comes to mind.”

As we prepare for presentations, how often do we open up PowerPoint and then either dump information into some sort of SmartArt graphic or create a bar graph (or a circle graph or a line graph) using the Insert>Chart function?

Creative Charts

Do either of these data presentation formats look familiar?

Since it’s what we’ve done so many times before, it’s often the first thing that comes to mind. But what if we didn’t settle for that first thing that comes to mind? What could we create? Could we make our point better for our audience?   Continue reading