What’s Missing from ATD ICE?

Searching (Blank Face)

ATD’s annual international conference and expo began yesterday, and I have a feeling it’s missing something (and I’m not necessarily talking about me… although really, what good is a conference without me?).

I’ve been to several ATD conferences and a SHRM Talent Development conference over the past few years and they all seem to be missing something.

The crowds I’ve encountered at the ATD conferences have primarily included instructional designers, training program managers, classroom instructors and some independent consultants. The SHRM conference was primarily HR professionals – business partners, generalists, department heads and consultants.

I imagine it’s similar at major conferences for professionals in coaching or organizational development. On the one hand, it’s to be expected. These conferences, after all, are for specialized segments of the greater human performance field. On the other hand, none of these initiatives can be successful if professionals from across the human performance spectrum don’t have opportunities to cross-pollinate.

Recently, as I got involved in my local ATD chapter, I was given an opportunity to work on an annual program called the Allied Professionals Event, which will take place on June 9th in Seattle. I’m looking forward to it because it is the one night of the year when people from across these specialized areas – learning & development, human resources, coaching and organizational development – can all come together, spend some time networking and discussing what’s on their minds, and then listen to some of the region’s rock star executives in both HR and business operations speak to the impact of human performance initiatives on the people within their organizations.

If you’re in the Seattle area, I’d like to invite you to attend (here is the registration information) and I’d love to hear what you’re working on. If you’re someplace else in this world, I’d love to hear from you – have you found similar opportunities to engage with your counterparts from other areas of the human performance spectrum?

While I know large national conferences are organized for specialized groups that make up their membership, are they completely serving their members’ best interests with such a narrow focus across all conference programming?

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear it in the Comment section.

Know someone who might be interested in this type of initiative, please pass this along!

A New Tool to Help You Decide how to Spend Professional Development Dollars

Budget season has descended upon my organization. While we try frantically to meet the deadlines set forth by the finance department, we’re also trying to pay for as many 2015 expenses as possible by spending 2014 funds prior to December 31.

If you happen to be in the same boat, I spent some time this weekend inventing a cool new tool (at least I think it’s cool) to help you decide how to spend some of your “leftover” 2014 funds.

I’m assuming most readers of the Train Like A Champion blog are in the training or human resources field, which explains the limited nature of this tool. If you have 3 minutes, go ahead and check it out. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Cover Page

Click here to launch the “How-to-Spend-Your-Professional-Development-Dollars” wizard.

If you know of someone in the training or human resources fields who might need to spend down their professional development dollars by the end of this year, please pass this along to them!

Transfer of Training Template

Are you headed off to a conference?  Or perhaps you’re a supervisor who’s sent a staff member to a workshop.  The following, simple graphic organizer is designed to assist you (or your direct report) in transferring the learning from the classroom to the workplace.

04242013 - Template

This is how I used the template when I recently attended the SHRM Talent Management conference.

04242013 - Sample

Obviously, this is just a template.  You may want to modify it, take something out, or perhaps add an additional field (maybe adding a field to the top such as:  “What I want to take away from this session”).

The key is to keep it simple.  Put too many fields in and it becomes tedious to fill out.  Remove too many fields and it may not be useful in transferring the learning to the realities of the workspace.

Give it a whirl (or if you’re a manager, give it to a direct report that will be attending a training session), see if this simple tool can help increase the return you realize the next time you invest in professional development.

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.

Using “The Dating Game” to Identify Amazing Conference Presentations

On Monday I wondered whether match.com could help me find a presentation I could fall in love with. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with several presentations at SHRM’s Talent Management Conference. Here’s how I’d choose the best. (Spoiler Alert: if you want to cut to the chase, just scroll to the bottom to see the summary/recap)

Dating Game (SHRM)

The SHRM Talent Management Conference Dating Game

Me: Presentation #1, when I’m at a conference, I generally have high hopes for the quality of a presentation, but I also have low expectations. What would you do to fulfill my hopes and exceed my expectations?

Presentation #1: Well, I’d begin by describing my presentation as “interactive” in the conference program. Since we’re in Vegas, I’d double down by telling you how interactive the presentation will be as we get started. And I’d make sure you felt welcome to ask questions at any time. I’d tell stories based on my experiences and I’d ask the audience questions from time to time.

Me: Hmmmm, I guess that’s a conventional way to look at interactivity. Presentation #2, we are in Vegas and there’s a lot going on. What would make you stand out?

Presentation #2: As soon as you walk through the door, I’d not only welcome you, but I’d make sure we connect personally. I’d bring up our common Pacific Northwest roots. Even though the audience will be standing room only, I want you to feel like I’m talking to you. I’ll give you two specific pieces of homework I’d like you to do as soon as you get back home. And I’ll show a video clip of an iPhone getting blended up. Oh, you’ll remember me all right.

Me: An iPhone getting blended up?! I’m intrigued. Presentation #3, my time is valuable to me and I’m needy. I need to be engaged. How would you propose to engage me?

Presentation #3: Before I tell you, I’d like you to stand up, turn to someone near you, give them a high five, and tell them “you rock!”

Me: Ok. That’s true, I do rock.  Now what?

Presentation #3: I’m going to engage you by getting you involved.  Maybe you’ll stand and give high five’s.  Maybe you’ll be asked to write some answers to my questions.  Maybe you’ll be instructed to talk with some people around you.  Maybe you’ll be asked to share some thoughts with the entire crowd.  Maybe I’ll build upon your other experiences at the conference by telling you how the information from the keynote speaker you just heard affirms and complements my own content.  Maybe I’ll end with a call to action.  Maybe I’ll provide some specific steps you can take.

Me: Sounds amazing.  One last question for all of you. I’ll start with Presentation #3.  Looks matter to me.  What do you look like?

Presentation #3: I come dressed in slides.  Custom made slides.  I try to economize on words, and occasionally I’ll use bullet points.  But I have the most fun when I can be whimsical – when I use a picture instead of a thousand words.

Me: You sound cute.  How about you, Presentation #2?

Presentation #2: I dress pretty skimpily… in a good way.  If I wanted you to read a lot, I’d just give you a book.  So I don’t wear many words.  But if you’re into sticky images, I can show you a giant piece of construction equipment that crushes a truck.  I can show you a triangular model to help connect your values, passions and delivery methods.  I don’t wear much, but I bet you’ll take notes on what you see and hear!

Me: Wow, steamy!  Presentation #1, the bar seems to have been set high.  What do you look like?

Presentation #1: I like consistency, so my slides align with the conference template.  I respect visual learners, and I make sure to include main topics and bulleted lists.  And clip art.  But keep in mind, it’s what’s inside that counts.  And I’m a charismatic speaker.

Me: It’s time to make my decision.  I think all three of you are smart and talented and I really appreciate you bringing your gifts of knowledge and experience to the conference.  It’s a lot of work preparing for something like this and it’s always a risk to be in front of people.  This is a tough decision.

Presentation #1, I learned some things from you, but when it comes to design and delivery, you might want to take a few more risks and try some new things – both in terms of visual aids (your “looks”) and your “interactivity”.  We won’t be seeing each other again.

It really comes down to Presentation #2 and Presentation #3.  The truth is, you’re both amazing.  My decision, the presentation that I truly fell in love with is… Presentation #2 (whose true identity is Todd Hudson’s “Unforgettable Onboarding”).  And since this is my game and my rules, I also choose to fall in love with Presentation #3 (Jason Lauritsen’s “The Future of Talent Management”).

A quick recap of what made me fall in love with each presentation:

Todd Hudson

Jason Lauritsen

Welcome attendees individually upon entering the room Fun introductory slide as the audience walked in the room
Charismatic delivery of targeted and meaningful content Charisma and humor in the delivery of relevant and actionable content
Simple slides, few words, powerful images Attention-grabbing activity as soon as the session began
Use of video to illustrate key points about values, passion and stickiness Mixed hard data with anecdotes and stories (including a memorable Readers Digest story)
Delivered presentation among the audience, not at the podium Issued three questions for audience to think through and discuss in small groups, then came back to these questions throughout the presentation
Issued a call to action Issued a call to action and provided specific tips and strategies of how to do these as soon as audience returns home
Kept most attendees in the room until the very end with a small raffle

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” at the top of the page!

Would Match.com Help Me Find The Ideal Presentation this Week?

This week I’m in Las Vegas for SHRM’s Talent Management conference. This afternoon, I saw a sign for a wedding chapel in my hotel.  It made me wonder: will I find a soul mate of a presentation at this conference?

Match.com seems like as good of a place as any to try to find this soul mate.  Here’s what my profile would look like if I were to enlist Match.com to help me find The One:

Flipchartguy

BW Training Rocks Photo

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seeking: Just one amazing presentation (though two might be nice!)

Within: SHRM’s Talent Management Conference

ABOUT HIM & WHO HE’S LOOKING FOR

I’m told I have a one-track mind.  All I can think about is how to make learning a great experience for the learners.  Whether I’m at work, at home or on vacation.  I’m hoping you’ll be ok with this little quirk.  As for you, the question shouldn’t be *who* I’m looking for… more *what*?  I’m really looking to be swept off my feet and smitten with a well designed and delivered presentation.  If you’re good, I might even want to take you back home with me, as a kind of longer term thing.

Interests: Flipcharting, designing learning experiences, throwing a participant’s question back to an audience of learners to see if anyone in the room has an answer

Exercise habits: Pacing back and forth in front of an audience

Favorite Things: Opening a new pack of Mr. Sketch markers

Last Read: The Gamification of Learning and Instruction

ABOUT…

Background/Values

 

Him

His Date

Education MA Organizational Psychology No Preference
Learning Style Visual No Preference
Delivery Style Attempt to be inclusive as often as possible Show me the ring (because I want to be engaged by you)
Honesty I try Honesty is a must!  What   you advertise in your session description should be what you deliver in your   session.
Risk Taking Nothing ventured, nothing gained Fearless

Presentation Style

Him

His Date

Lecture No Way Deal-breaker
Visual Aids Prefer flipchart; PPT if I have to Standard templates, lots of text and bullet points are all deal-breakers
Preparation Almost always Impeccable (yes, I have higher standards for you; perhaps you’ll inspire me to prepare better)
Delivery Use a lesson plan as a guide Preferably smooth (reading verbatim from notes or from slides is a deal-breaker)

On Wednesday, I’ll share whether I’ve been able to find this elusive soul mate.  In the mean time, what kinds of things do you look for in a conference session?  I’d love to hear from you in the comment section.

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” at the top of the page!