My daughter’s first grade teacher called me the day before school started. She was calling to remind me that the school’s open house was that evening. As we introduced ourselves, we talked about how she and my daughter share the same first name. During our conversation, we also discovered that they share the same middle name, same initials, and same birthday. When they finally met in person that evening, my daughter and her teacher were elated to meet the person with whom they share so much in common. When I dropped my little girl off on her first day at school the next morning, she comfortably greeted her teacher as if they had known one another for years. Continue reading
Earlier this month, Train Like A Champion was spotlighted in this article by the Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) TD magazine, which has brought some fresh new eyes to this blog.
This seems like a great opportunity to welcome new readers and to thank my seasoned, experienced readers for sticking with me. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on topics and articles through the comment section.
Like something you read? Pass it along.
Don’t quite agree with something I write? Let’s duke it out in the comment section.
Following are ten posts from the past year that capture the essence of this blog. If you’re new to Train Like A Champion, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles. If you’ve been here for a while, perhaps there’s an article or two from this list that was so good that you just have to read it again.
- Hello. My Name is Brian, and I’m a Training Snob. Ever wonder if you’re taking Malcolm Knowles’ principles of adult learning a bit too far with your friends and co-workers? This article might be for you.
- Trick Out My PowerPoint. A well-designed presentation deserves well-designed visual aids. Phase(Two)Learning’s Michelle Baker and I joined forces to offer some simple ideas that can spruce up the most mundane of PowerPoint presentations.
- Trick Out My PowerPoint: Episode 2. Apparently Michelle and I have a lot of simple ideas that can make significant improvements to your visual aids, because we wrote a second post together.
- A Letter of Thanks to Maya Angelou. When Maya Angelou passed away last May, I wrote about a life lesson I learned from her that made me a better trainer.
- 10 Minutes (7 if you run). On a trip to Japan last spring, I learned a lesson in creating learning experiences and visual aids that are memorable.
- 6 Innovative Ideas Every Presenter Can Learn from A Cup of Noodles. They nourished us (kind of) during our college days. And for those of us who are now presenters and trainers, they can inspire us in surprising ways. This post offers homage to the Cup of Noodles and the man who invented them.
- Solve the Crime of the Century (A Training Murder Mystery). An attendee just keeled over and died. The cause of death? Boredom! Think you have what it takes to find the killer before he or she strikes again? Check out this post, featuring a brief scenario-based elearning module and see what kind of sleuth you really are.
- 18 Places for Training Professionals to Sharpen their Skills. Sometimes we all need some new inspiration and a source of fresh ideas. This post highlights 18 places to find enlightenment and training nirvana.
- 5 Ways to Incorporate More Play into your Next Presentation. Who doesn’t want to play more? Here are five ways to bring more play to your next presentation, regardless of how big your audience may be.
- “ATD” is a pretty lame acronym: 20 alternatives that could have been considered. Yes, ATD did me a HUGE favor by spotlighting my blog. It still doesn’t excuse the lame-o semi-name change they announced to great fanfare last year.
On Monday, January 19, I’ll be back with an article focused on lesson planning for training presentations. If you’re feeling in a particularly helpful mood, I’ll also be asking for some beta testers for an online presentation planning tool that, once it’s out in the public, just might change the way presentations are delivered and holds the potential to eradicate the scourge of boring presentations from the face of this planet.
It started out as a joke between two colleagues and I in June 2007. I was the “new guy” so I thought I’d show off my wonderfully brilliant sense of humor to break the ice a bit. As we were driving to the training center for the first day of a workshop we’d be facilitating together, I was asked if I did anything special to prepare myself before getting in front of a group to facilitate.
Maybe they were wondering if I studied the lesson plans the night before. Or perhaps whether I would picture everyone in the audience naked so that I wasn’t so nervous in front of a group. I thought for a moment, then said: “I crank up the AC/DC on my iPod, I draw a flipchart that says ‘Train Like A Champion Today’, I hang it above my hotel room door, and I make sure I tap it twice on my way out of the room.”
My colleagues looked at each other in what appeared to be a mix of confusion and horror. Confusion in wondering what in the world I was talking about. Horror in wondering who this weird-o was that they were in the car with and with whom they were about to train.
I laughed and told them I was just kidding. To prepare, I generally glance over my notes and stick a bunch of post-its on my lesson plans in order to make sure I touch on everything I want to say. My colleagues burst out in laughter, relieved I wasn’t such a weird-o.
When I was in middle school, I remember seeing a sports report about how the players from the Notre Dame football team touch a sign that says: “Play Like A Champion Today” for good luck on their way from the locker room to the field. There are tons of superstitions and traditions in the world of sports that may seem silly… until you’re the one who decides to break the tradition because, after all, it’s just a silly superstition… and then your team loses.
In sports, if you want to win, you don’t mess with superstitions or traditions. They’re taken very seriously. This was the inspiration behind my joke. In very few other aspects of life are such superstitions practiced with such fervent regularity, and training is certainly not one of those few areas. The line “train like a champion” became a running joke between my colleagues and I. One colleague even had t-shirts printed up with the words “Train Like A Champion” printed on the back.
The more I think of it, however, the more I wonder why “train like a champion” needs to be just a joke. No, I don’t think it’s necessary to hang a poster with the words “Train Like A Champion Today” above the hotel room door and to tap on it prior to every facilitation experience. But what can trainers, facilitators, presenters learn from the world of champions?
This blog is intended to explore answers to that question.