PowerPoint vs. Storyline (aka: Telling vs. Experiencing)

I imagine most training professionals and instructional designers are quite familiar with the old proverb: “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.” Why, then, do so many elearning modules continue to tell content at the learners?

I recently posed this question to several training program managers from large, Seattle-area tech companies. Their answers made a lot of business sense: with so many training modules that need to be created in such a short amount of time, it’s faster and easier to put the content into a PowerPoint presentation, convert it to a click-through elearning module and make the content available to the intended audience. And the program managers report that they’re generally content with the results.

Still, I wonder: just because you can tell your content to thousands of employees around the world  via a PowerPoint-based elearning module, is that what training departments should do?

I decided to conduct my own, not-so-scientific test of this theory.  While I was in an airport on a layover, I gave myself 45 minutes to create a PowerPoint-based elearning module, and then I gave myself 45 minutes to create an elearning module using Articulate Storyline.

The Results

PowerPoint:

I put together the PowerPoint module in less than 45 minutes.  I probably could have spent a little more time on the actual graphic design of the module, but you’ll get the point.  Slideshare is my make-shift LMS for this…

Storyline:

I took just over 45 minutes to put this together.  I’m not an expert at Storyline by any means, but I’ve found it incredibly easy to transfer my PowerPoint knowledge into Storyline proficiency.  Here are several screen captures of the module:

Storyline1

Storyline2

Storyline3

Exit Question

It doesn’t take much more technical savvy to use Storyline than it does to use PowerPoint. It doesn’t have to take much more time to create something in Storyline than in PowerPoint. And while you can tell and show people using PowerPoint, Storyline adds a dimension allowing learners to be involved.

Going back to the old proverb: would you rather have your learners forget by telling?  Would you rather have your learners remember by showing? Or would you rather have your learners understand by involving?

Want to Create an Online Community? Copy Articulate.

The holy grail of shifting training from a one-off event to an ongoing process is to develop a robust and active learning community – a group that comes together informally, as needed, in order to share best practices, ideas, examples and to kick around questions about intractable problems.  Learning communities offer just-in-time answers and members can stay current on the latest trends.

I’ve seen very few examples of sustained, active, robust learning communities.  But somehow Articulate seems to have cracked this nut with their Elearning Heroes elearning community.  It boasts more than 107,000 members.  And I must say, it’s a pretty amazing resource if you’re involved in elearning development.  Even if you’re not an elearning developer, it offers a model upon which you might want to base your own community of practice.

I’ve had the opportunity to hear Articulate’s Tom Kuhlman speak on several occasions and he’s shared his thoughts on what’s made this community so successful.  Here are my observations on two essential reasons why I think Articulate’s Elearning Heroes community is so amazing and some elements you may want to include if you’re chasing your own Holy Grail of an active, robust community of practice:

Reason #1: TONS of resources I can use. Today.

This is the single greatest reason I frequent the site. If I need a background to jazz up my elearning, I can download it from this community.  If I need a font that looks like hand writing, I can download it.  If I need some inspiration, I can see examples of projects that other members of the Articulate community are working on.

Ideas for Transfer:

Want to start your own community for managers in your organization?  What immediate value do you envision that your community will offer?  Seeding the community with a library of resources is crucial.  Things such as one-on-one meeting templates, remediation plans, coaching models and core competency lists could help get the community started.  Then it’s a matter of encouraging managers to contribute to and build the library.

Reason #2: Immediate Responses

Elearning Heroes isn’t just another company-sponsored website to push its own product, it is a true community. If I have a question about something I’d like to do as I develop an elearning project, I can post it and receive an answer – from Articulate employees or from other elearning developers just like me – within hours (often within minutes).

Articulate is extremely savvy in how they’ve managed to ensure immediate feedback. They employee “community managers” who monitor the site, curate information and basically ensure a positive experience for all community members (for a detailed look at the community manager role, read Nicole Legault’s insightful blog post on this topic).  In addition, the most active community members also earn the title of “Super Hero” in recognition of their contributions.

Ideas for Transfer:

What incentives are there for members to participate in your community? If someone takes the risk to post something, will there be a response?  There’s nothing worse than posting something online, then wondering if anyone else cared enough to read it.  A thriving, active community requires interaction. Articulate’s model of ensuring someone internally is watching for posts and responding is essential, especially in the beginning.  Recognizing and rewarding members for participating is also key to inspiring and maintaining community contributions.

Building a community takes hard work that is both intentional and strategic. Taking a page from Articulate’s Elearning Heroes site can offer a blue print for building your own learner community.

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Are You A Mac? Or a PC?

My father is in the market for a tablet computer.  Yesterday I took him to the Apple Store.  Then we walked across the street to the Windows Store in order to get a look at an alternative to the iPad. Those experiences couldn’t have been more different.

70/20/10

The Center for Creative Leadership has offered a model for leadership development named the 70/20/10 rule.  Basically, the model indicates that leadership skills emerge through a mix of learning that includes a ratio of 70% challenging assignments and on the job training, 20% supportive relationships (such as supervision, coaching and mentoring) and 10% formal training and classroom study.  This ratio has been embraced by many in the management field to serve as a model for general professional development.

Even though most people still think of training, learning and development as formal classes, training workshops and conferences, that type of learning is often confined to 10% (or less) of professional development.  And manager feedback and coaching only accounts for another 20%.  How then can managers, leaders and training professionals help their staff grow and develop during that other 70% of the time?

A Tale of Two Stores

When my family walked into the Apple Store, we walked into a store abuzz with activity.  There were easily 80-100 customers in the store and there were at least 30 Apple Store employees (“Geniuses”) walking the floor.  We were greeted and right away someone asked how they could help us.  My father began receiving his iPad education (indoctrination?) within 180 seconds of walking through the doors.

He seemed like he was ready to pull the trigger on buying a new iPad, but I suggested we walk across the street to the Windows Store, just to see what else the market had to offer.  When we walked into the Windows Store, we were greeted by three store employees at the door.  One was holding a wireless speaker.  Two others seemed to be full time greeters.  My entire family walked up to the display of Surface tablets and we tried to figure the machines out.  There wasn’t a “Home” button (or any other buttons) on the front of the machine, so we weren’t quite sure what to do when we were greeted by a screen that seemed to be asking for a password.  We poked the touch screen.  We tried hitting the ESC button on the cover/keyboard.  We looked around the store for some help – there were only 3 or 4 other customers in the store.  And there were a few employees milling about, but we weren’t able to catch anyone’s eye.  Unable to figure out how to use the Surface and unable to attract the attention of anyone in the store, we walked past the two professional greeters and the guy holding a wireless speaker and exited the store.

A Guiding Question for 70% of the Time: What’s Possible?

Perhaps there were many reasons nobody came to help us or ask if we had any questions in the Windows Store.  Yet I couldn’t help but wonder if the employees in the store felt they were doing all they could, all that was expected of them.

Sure, Microsoft can conduct wonderful training sessions on sales and customer service (that 10% of the ratio).  Windows Store managers can even observe employees in their own environment and offer feedback (another 20% of the ratio).  But I wondered what would have happened if the store manager took his employees on a field trip across the street to observe what happened inside the Apple Store.  Would my family’s experience have been different if the Windows Store employees had a chance to see what was truly possible within a high-end electronics retail environment?

I believe there are two words that a manager or a learning professional can plant into the minds of their direct reports/trainees that can serve as an ongoing quest for which they should always be on the lookout.  These two words – what’s possible – can guide self-directed professional development (a key element in 70% of the ratio) for any employee or trainee from now until he or she retires.

Knowing that formal training accounts for only 10% or less of professional development, how do you encourage people to seek out “what’s possible”?

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Twitter as a Learning Tool

I’m still not sold on Twitter.  There’s been lots of buzz about Twitter as a learning tool for years, but I didn’t bite.  Sure, I signed up for an account and I’ll tweet from time to time and I follow some folks – Buffalo Bills running back CJ Spiller (go Bills!), some conference speakers I was impressed with, some of my favorite bloggers who focus on training and development – but it’s never been a key piece to my own professional development strategy, let alone a tool I’ve ever used in my own training design.

This week, as I was in the midst of leading a training event, the following tweet caught my eye:

Tweet

It was timely since I was desperately seeking some inspiration on what I should say in order to wrap up the 2.5 day series of workshops.  Perhaps it’s time to give Twitter a second look when it comes to a tool for my own professional development as well as a tool that can be used in my training efforts.

I still wonder: with sooooooooo many tweets cluttering up my Twitter feed, how can I cut through all the noise and find more 140-character pieces of wisdom like the timely tweet I found last week?  And perhaps more importantly, how can I cut through all the noise and reach my learners beyond the training room via Twitter?

Have you found Twitter useful?  How so?

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And yes, you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Alternatives to Training

“Learning should be a process, not an event.”  This mantra, preached by training professionals everywhere, is much easier said than done.  What would this look like if it moved from catch phrase to real life?

Alternative Model for Learning: The 70/20/10 Model

alternatives to training 70-20-10The Center for Creative Leadership began promoting the idea that learning is an ongoing process.  While formal learning experiences such as classroom training, conferences, e-learning courses and webinars are important, they only make up 10% of professional learning experiences.  20% of learning comes from supervisors and other supportive relationships.  The remaining 70% of learning comes from on the job interactions and experiences – the mistakes we make, the solutions we stumble upon and the lessons we take away from going about our daily routine.

What are Formal Learning Experiences?

This is the area that people typically think about when they think “learning” or “training”.  The list of formal training opportunities that employers may offer include:

  • In-house training classes
  • External, vendor-offered training classes
  • Conferences and seminars
  • Elearning courses
  • Webinars
  • Certificate and university degree programs

Having seen organizational budgets and having created departmental budgets, my observation is that even though this is where 10% of organizational learning happens (at least in this model), this is where nearly 100% of the financial investment into professional development is spent.  Speaking of money, a 2010 McKinsey & Company study entitled “Getting more from your training programs” proclaimed that companies spend $100 billion (WITH A “B”!!) on training each year “but training typically doesn’t have much impact.”  Why?  Because managers (and entire companies) generally do a poor job when it comes to being strategic about alternatives to training, which make up the other 90% of organizational learning.

Alternatives to Training: Supervision & Support

In their book Transfer of Training, Mary Broade and John Newstrom provide oodles of research that states an employee’s manager is the single biggest and most influential factor when predicting whether or not skills and knowledge learned through formal training will actually be applied on the job.  Manager supervision and support includes activities such as:

  • Identifying specific skills gaps
  • Setting performance goals
  • Setting expectations and goals around formal learning experiences
  • Following up on goals and expectations once a formal learning experience has been completed
  • Providing ongoing coaching
  • De-briefing on-the-job learning experiences and mistakes to sort out potential lessons learned

When done in isolation – sending an employee for more training or using annual training dollars to attend a conference or asking an employee to simply sit in on a new hire orientation class she may have missed six months ago – learning experiences are often directionless and wasteful.

Managers can super-charge learning experiences through the first several bullet points above in order to offer clear direction to an employee.  The final several bullet points all help learning “stick” and the investment in learning to pay real dividends.

What is On-the-Job Learning?

Most of the time, we’re neither sitting in a training class nor are we sitting in our supervisor’s office.  We’re doing our jobs.  And as we do our jobs, we’re learning – what to do and what not to do.  We may be included to think of all of these as alternatives to training, but it would be more accurate to think of them as informal learning opportunities:

  • Mentors
  • Journaling
  • Stretch assignments
  • Participation in communities of practice
  • Participation in online discussion boards
  • Membership in professional associations or trade groups
  • “Water cooler conversations” with other co-workers
  • Job-aids
  • Checklists
  • User guides
  • Tutorials
  • Employee manuals
  • Reading trade magazines or books (or participating in book clubs around professional topics)

These experiences make up 70% of the learner experience in this model!

The point here is that the classroom may be the highest-profile venue for learning, but it truly is just one small sliver of where learning happens.  And it all goes to waste if companies are not investing in alternatives to classroom training.

The question is: how can these training alternatives get a higher profile when driving toward better performance?

Other posts to help you think through alternatives to training:

What are you doing to help learners that would not be called “training”?

11 Lessons My Family Has Taught Me about Learning, Development, Facilitation, Collaboration and Change Management

  1. Saying “mom doesn’t need to know about our little trip to the store to get donuts (right before lunch)” never works… someone inevitably has loose lips and the boss will always find out when the rules have been bent (or broken)
  2. Potty training is an amazing lesson on effective (and ineffective) change management initiatives
  3. Sometimes just saying “thank you” is a lot better than trying to debate and defend yourself when feedback is given
  4. Sometimes it’s better to allow the walk to the park, which normally takes 15 minutes, to turn into a 45-minute nature expedition (exploring what happens when you blow on dandelions, picking up leaves, examining the difference between a crow and a robin, looking both ways before crossing the street) – indeed the process can be much more powerful than just focusing on the task at hand
  5. Even though I can read The Cat in the Hat much more quickly, my daughter will never learn to read if I don’t give her a chance to try it and work through the lengthy process of sounding out words for herself (this is exhibit A of why experiential training design is much more powerful than lecture)
  6. There may be a lot of things that need to be accomplished during the short, 2-day span of a weekend, but being sure to allow for downtime can sometimes be more productive than just having everything be “go, go, go” (no matter how much needs to be accomplished, building in breaks is crucial)
  7. Just because I’ve said “please clean up these toys” doesn’t mean the toys will be put away in the right place, in an orderly manner or in a place they will ever be found again… clear instructions (and even some modeling of the desired behaviors) are pretty important
  8. A head nod or a response of “uh huh” or “yes” doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re on the same page… more often than not it means “I’ll tell you what I think you want to hear if you’ll just leave me alone now”
  9. “Why do you think that is…” is a pretty good response to a 3-year-old’s perpetual repetition of the question “why?” (the old boomerang technique works every time!)
  10. Using candy, ice cream or prizes as a bribe may work in the short term (and sometimes this is a true life saver!), but can also create elevated expectations for extrinsic rewards going forward
  11. Spending some time getting everyone’s input and building a shared vision definitely takes longer but it is generally much better received than “…because I said so…”

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Assessing Learning Needs: 3 Questions to Ask before You Start Facilitating

How do you know what your learners are expecting to learn from you?  Are you simply assuming your intentions align with your learners’?  We all know what happens when you ass/u/me, right?

I’ve found that, even when I’ve sent out a course overview, learning objectives and a high level agenda in advance, my learners are often expecting to walk away with something different than what I intend to present.  And this can be a frustrating experience for my learners and for me.

Here are three questions I like to ask prior to beginning a training session:

  1. What are you expecting to get out of this session?
  2. How do you plan to use what you get from this session when you return home?
  3. How will you be held accountable for using what you take from this session?

The first question is to be sure facilitator and learners are in alignment.  If learners are expecting to take something away that you do not intend to cover, a clarification around the scope of your presentation is necessary at the beginning.  Items outside the scope of your presentation can be placed in the “parking lot” and if you have time to cover them (perhaps a brief conversation during a break or at lunch time), then more power to you.

The second and third questions are more for the learner.  As I’ve written before, in order for knowledge or skills to be transferred from the training room to the actual job, the learner will need some help – at least from the facilitator, and ideally from his or her supervisor.

My ideal scenario is to send these questions out to participants in an email or via online survey prior to the training session.  However, when I present at a conference and don’t know who my learners will be in advance, I sometimes have participants write the answers to these questions on post-it notes or on flipchart as they enter the room.

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Lesson Plan Template for Adult Learners

Templates are wonderful and the web is loaded with examples that you can download and begin using today. After staring at the latest “Free Lesson Plan Template” you may start to wonder, what am I supposed to do with this? While we cover some more advanced issues about designing versus delivering in Training Lesson Plan Templates: Design vs. Delivery, this article is dedicated to helping you effectively use each component of the lesson plan for adult learners.

blank lesson plan for adult learners

What is in a Lesson Plan Template?

Title of Training Segment

This is a simple field, where the name of the segment can be as plain as “Advanced Sales Training Techniques” or it could be something more creative like “To Train or Not to Train: Why Not Training is Sometimes the Best Training Intervention”.  While the lesson plan is generally for your eyes only, a catchier title can help steer traffic to your presentation if you’ll be facilitating a workshop at a conference.

Date & Time

Sometimes you’ll design a presentation for a specific day and time, and if you’re offering multiple workshops during a trip, this field can help you keep track of which presentation you’ll be facilitating on which day and at which time.  Sometimes you’ll design a lesson plan that will be used over and over again, and you may wish to simply enter “90 minutes” into this field.  Keep in mind that this template is designed to provide structure to your presentations, but should be adapted to best meet your needs.

Objectives

COMPLETE THIS SECTION PRIOR TO ANY OTHER PLANNING YOU DO IN YOUR LESSON PLAN FOR ADULT LEARNERS. 

This section is intended for you to design learner-centered, action-oriented objectives.  Put differently, what should your learners be able to do by the time you’re finished with your session… and how will you, as the facilitator, know that your learners have accomplished this objective?

Well-crafted learning objectives will basically write your lesson plan for you.  Do you want your learners to be able to explain a concept?  Then be sure to make room in your lesson plan for an activity that allows your learners to actually explain the concept.  Want them to demonstrate something?  Then you may need to design an activity that involves role-playing or some other simulation of a skill.

completed sample lesson plan for adults

Download the lesson plan for adults template or the Design vs. Delivery template.

Assess Whether Learning Objectives were Accomplished

As I alluded to earlier, you want to design activities by which you, the facilitator, can determine whether or not your learners are able to do what you set out to teach them.  Going back to your traditional school days, some may call this a “test”.  And a paper-and-pencil, multiple-choice exam is indeed one way to assess whether or not the learners get it.  Take a look at the verbs you’ve used in your objectives, and then be sure to craft an activity that allows your learners to demonstrate those verbs.  If you have a learning objective such as “by the end of this presentation, learners will be able to demonstrate the five phases of coaching,” then you’ll need to have an activity in which the learners can show off the coaching skills they’ve learned.  And you may wish to have an observation rubric to provide feedback (or even to provide a score) on the skill your learners have attempted to demonstrate.

Materials

Do you need a blank flipchart?  Markers?  Are you going to prepare flipchart prior to the session?  A PowerPoint presentation?  Handouts?  Sticky Notes?  Tape?  Name tags?  Name tents?  Be very specific about the materials you’ll need and when you’ll need them.  In the event you’re in a hurry to get to the training room, a complete list of materials you’ll need can be a very good reminder for you.  Showing up unprepared for a session is a good way to lose credibility with your learners.

Estimated Time

It’s helpful to break your session down into smaller segments in order to be sure to keep a good pace and to keep on time during your presentation.  How much time do you want to devote to the welcome/introduction?  Icebreaking activities can be fun, but if you don’t have a plan, they can run way over time, which means you’ll be playing catch up for the rest of your presentation.  How much time do you want to allow to introduce a topic?  How much time should your learners have to practice a given skill?  Don’t forget to leave time to wrap up and tie everything together.

Content/Key Points

Here is where you want to describe, in some detail, how each section of your lesson plan should be facilitated.  While it’s not necessary to write a verbatim script, it may be helpful to be fairly specific in your instructions.  If you have to give this same presentation a year from now, you’ll be happy you took the time to write out specific instructions for each section.  And if you’re stuck in traffic and need a co-worker to cover for you, they’ll need a fairly detailed explanation of how to facilitate your activities.

Instructional Technique

Here you should simply describe how you plan to deliver your content.  Will you use a lecture? Small group activities?  Large group de-brief?  Roleplay?  Simulation?  Will you show a video? For more awesome activities to engage your learners, check out these great ideas.  When you describe how you plan to deliver your content, you’ll be able to see, at a glance, if each instructional technique field relies too much on one technique (such as lecture), you run the risk of a monotonous, boring presentation.

Overwhelmed by lesson plan creation? Ever wish someone could create your lesson plan for you? Someone can – Meet Soapbox. The all-in-one presentation creator. Soapbox will not only create you a ready to print lesson plan, but will also create handouts, a facilitator guide, and slide deck in under 5 minutes! Ready to make your life easier? Click here.

Creating Training Games Like Family Feud with PowerPoint

Recently I was trying to figure out how to play a quick anchor activity with a large-ish group for a presentation I’ll be giving next month.  With five key points, I decided a quick round of a Family Feud-like game could be fun.  Creating Family Feud with PowerPoint was the tool that would allow everyone to see the visual aid. While I love using a flip chart, it’s not practical for this presentation which will take place in a larger breakout room.

Creating Family Feud with PowerPoint

Initially, I was concerned that I would need to create a series of hyperlinks and branching elements if it was possible at all.  As I poked around the search results in Google for “how to create Family Feud using PowerPoint”, I came across a site with a Family Feud Template Guide.  The instructions are pretty easy.  PowerPoint has some pretty fancy features that offer the potential for high engagement and lots of interaction.  While it’s true that it took more time to put together this slide than it would have if I had simply created a bullet-pointed list, I have a feeling my learners will appreciate this approach much more.  And quite frankly, the reason we give presentations is to be in service to the learners.

How Family Feud with PowerPoint Plays Out

While screenshots don’t do justice to the way this can be used in front of a live audience, if you’ve ever seen Richard Dawson call out “SURVEY SAYS!” as two families engaged in a feud whose intensity rivaled that of the Capulets and Montagues, then you can probably imagine the potential that creating Family Feud with PowerPoint offers in a training session.

Me: 100 trainers were asked to share their favorite training tool.  The top 5 answers are on the board.  What do you think is the top answer?

Family Feud with PowerPoint board

Learner #1: PowerPoint!

Me: PowerPoint, huh?  Have you ever read my blog?  Well, let’s see if it’s up there… SURVEY SAYS!

Family Feud with PowerPoint board answer revealed

It’s a fun way to use PowerPoint in icebreakers, anchor activities and review games.  The possibilities are limited only by your instructional design imagination.

What are you doing with training games in your sessions? Have you used Family Feud with PowerPoint?

The Learning Tree

Once there was a tree,

And she loved a little girl.

And every day the girl would come

And try to climb.

At first the girl fell every time.

Then she fell some of the time.

Then she made it to a safe branch every time

And sat

And swung

And jumped to the ground

And did it all over again.

And the tree was very happy.

Time went by and the girl grew older.

One day she came to the tree

And the tree said “come, climb on me!”

“I am too busy and frustrated to climb” said the girl.

“I need to add and subtract and I don’t get it.”

“Bummer,” said the tree, “but I’m no teacher.

I have only lemons. Maybe if you make lemonade

And sell it and give people the correct change

You will get it.”

And so the little girl climbed up the tree

And picked the lemons and made lemonade

And sold it and learned how to add and subtract.

And the tree was very happy.

Time went by and the girl grew up.

When she passed the tree

The tree grew excited and said

“Come, climb on me!”

“I am too tired and frustrated to climb” said the girl.

“I want to do well in college

And learn

And grow

But my professors lecture

And bore

And put me to sleep

And I just don’t get The Impact of Climate Change in Rural American Farming Communities 1923-present

“I am not a professor,” said the tree.

“But the impact of climate change

has been my life.

You may cut down my trunk

And examine the thickness of my rings

And count my rings

And research what happened over all that time.

And maybe you will have a better understanding

And you will be happy.”

The girl cut down the tree

And counted the rings

And did some research

And was finally able to relate to the topic

And the tree was very happy

Time went by and the girl landed her dream job

She came upon the tree.

The tree was excited to see the girl

But said

“I am sorry, I’m no longer much fun to climb.”

“I am much too preoccupied to climb,”

Said the girl.

“I just need a place to sit

And to think.

I have a presentation to give tomorrow

And I need to put my slides together

Which means I probably need a power source, too.”

The tree reflected a moment and said,

“I’m not a professional trainer

And I have no power to offer you

But you always seemed to learn something

When we were together.

You learned to try

And fail

And try again

And fail

And try yet again

Until you reached a safe branch.

You learned to turn

Lemons into lemonade

And to count

And give people correct change.

You mastered history

And biology

And climate change.

You learned it all by doing.

Without slides.”

The girl sat.

She looked around.

She planned.

She didn’t use slides.

And the tree was very happy.

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.