An over-packed mini-van was stopped by a New Hampshire State Trooper last week and cited for negligent driving. The driver had strapped a bicycle, shopping cart, a rake and a television, among other items, to the top of his roof. While the vehicle was being towed in, items fell off onto the highway, causing State Police to issue a friendly reminder to motorists that over-packing your roof rack can be dangerous.
On the exact same day that this occurred, I was coaching new presenters through their first practice presentations. They were asked to create a 15-16 minute presentation on a topic of their choice. Of the nine presenters, about half managed to choose just the right amount of content for the time frame. The others over-packed, rushed through their final points and skipped the opportunity for a strong closing.
Why do so many presenters over-pack their presentations?
How can you avoid over-packing? Try these five proven strategies.
For more time related tips, click here.
Jessica Swart, a participant in one of my recent seminars, wrote the following on her end-of-the-day feedback form.
“Love how you have page numbers on the slides to go along with the book. Your attention to detail is HUGE!”
Attention to details, specifically those that make the learners’ experience go more smoothly, is critical for effective learning facilitation.
One simple way to do this is to place the corresponding page number from your printed material in the top right hand corner of every slide.
Near the beginning of the session, mention that each slide will show the corresponding page number so that participants can more easily stay with you throughout the material.
Not only will you have their gratitude, you will also decrease wasted time while people are searching for the right page and increase learning time.
For additional suggestions about slide design, click here.
Gamification is all the rage in talent development. But what about old-fashioned game boards? Are they a thing of the past? Should they be?
Here are 5 ways that game boards add value to any training class or learning experience.
There are many resources that simplify the process of creating a game board. SparkleBox is the site I used to create the game board in the photo above. Click here for an editable game board template.
Here is another site with several different templates.
A few tips:
Looking for more games to add to your-person classes? Check out this idea from my Caffeinated Learning archives.
On a recent hike in Colorado, my husband and I spied a beautiful lake in the distance. We hiked off trail to get closer and came upon this sign. Needless to say, we did not go any further! The sign was very clear about what we should do – turn around! The sign not only saved us from harm, but saved the property owners from unwanted trouble.
Explicit directions or guidelines are also essential for learning sessions. By setting clear expectations right at the start of a class, facilitators can save everyone from unwanted problems.
One key topic to address is how the group will transition smoothly and efficiently. Effective learning occurs when participants are actively engaged with the material and each other. Because the best facilitators encourage small group discussion and activities, the best facilitators also have explicit methods for how to quiet the group and bring them back together quickly. Here are seven methods you can use. Whichever you choose, be sure to review the method(s) with the group early on in your session.
Your learners will appreciate your clarity and the fact that you are honoring their time by being efficient. For more ideas, check out Caffeinated Learning - the book, the webinars or the in-person sessions.
One of my favorite ways to open a presentation is to show a novel prop and ask participants to talk with someone nearby about it. This simple strategy activates their prior knowledge, fires up their neural networks and adds a touch of creative intrigue.
Recently, I presented for the Association for Talent Development International Conference and decided to add a Twitter twist. Here’s what I did (and you can do, too!)
There were several big wins here:
Here are a few of the tweeted answers for your enjoyment.
Rituals are actions that we take regularly, actions that bring us a sense of purpose and reflection. While they take place in the here and now, they often link us to a past experience, firing up memories and connections.
The first backyard fire of the summer signifies, for me, a change in season and tempo. It reminds me of family evenings, laughter and marshmallows. While watching the flames, my brain is lighting up with old memories, and yet ready to make new ones.
Rituals can also be used at the beginning of a seminar or class. They can prime your participants with ideas and connections so that they are ready for the business of making new learning stick. They can also be a comfortable routine for you as the presenter – a standard way of setting up your space for maximum learning to occur.
One of my favorite rituals is to run a teaser slide show for the thirty minutes prior to the start of class. As participants come in and get settled, they see a self-advancing slide show on my screen, alternating every 12 seconds between a title/welcome slide and trivia slides. Trivia questions are based on the content I will be sharing and include question stems such as:
If participants arrive late, they haven’t missed anything critical. But the participants who are there early will be primed for learning your content. (Be sure to return to the questions at some point during your class and provide the answers!)
Do you work with SME's or others that need some ideas for teaching and facilitating? Caffeinated Learning offers webinars, in-person training and publications.
Do you ever have one of those sleepless nights, tossing and turning with your mind abuzz? Often, the thoughts that keep you up can be stressful ones about unfinished work, relationships that need mending or worries about day-to-day life. But last night I had the other kind of tossing and turning – excitement over so many new ideas that I gained from attending the #ATD2017 International Conference and Expo. This is the ultimate, must-go-to conference for talent development professionals or anyone interested in training and presentation skills. So many sessions packed with great information!
In addition to attending, I also was asked to present a session on Caffeinated Learning: Simple Strategies for Keeping Your Audience Awake, Engaged and Learning. Even though it was a later afternoon session, the room was overflowing with enthusiastic attendees seeking ideas for adding a “caffeinated buzz” to their training programs.
One question from an audience member has been rattling around in my brain for the last few days. She asked, “How can you adapt these movement ideas to a virtual classroom?” (Look for my session next year on that topic!) It is critical that we keep our virtual learners awake and engaged, too! So here are a seven movement strategies that I use in my webinars or virtual classes.
At various intervals throughout the session, ask attendees to
Looking for even more ideas? Check out my previous post on "Engaginars," or contact me to discuss providing a session for your talent development professionals or subject matter experts.
Fourteen years ago, skiing down a beautiful blue run, I face planted on ice and broke my leg in four places. After surgery, rest and months of therapy, it was time to get back into shape. My doctor approved me for a running program and I have been at it ever since. Running is my go-to exercise because it is so portable - I can take it to every city I work in - and it gives me a chance to get outdoors and see the sights.
About a year ago, I began to experience significant pain in my left hip. My GP listened to my complaint and diagnosed bursitis. After therapy and shots, with no improvement, I went to my first specialist. An x-ray showed no arthritis or obvious problems, so I was assigned more PT. After months of no progress, I broke down and found another orthopedist who specializes in "dynamic ultrasound." Just the name of the procedure makes sense to me! If we are trying to evaluate a complex body part with moving, changing components, wouldn't something dynamic be better than something static?
The best learning facilitators also need to use dynamic evaluation procedures. A feedback form completed at the end of a class represents a moment in time -more like an X-ray than an ultrasound. But a dynamic evaluation process will look at the learning in application, as a living organism that will change over time. Should you still use a feedback form? Sure, but add these other components to your evaluation plan, as well.
For more ideas on evaluation and other aspects of effective training, go to Caffeinated Learning.
The Triple Crown of horse racing consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Not only does winning all three races leave the victor in an enviable cash position, it confers upon the winner a reputation of outstanding teamwork. So many individuals are involved in getting to all three finish lines – the owner, jockey, trainer, ???? Their ability to collaborate effectively is essential to their success.
Luckily, recent research discoveries point to the Triple Crown of teaming effectiveness. A long-term study done by Google researcher Anita Wooley (and her team) has identified two critical factors common to all of their successful teams. Combine this study with the ongoing work of Paul Zak on the benefits of oxytocin, and you have a Triple Crown.
1. Equal Conversational Contributions
Wooley’s research team found that on the most effective teams, members spoke in roughly equal amounts. Conversational contributions might not be evenly spaced in every half-hour segment of work, but over the course of time, all members contributed equally. When one person dominated or opted out, collective intelligence suffered and the team did not perform as well.
While it is great if team members naturally arrive at equal contributions, it is possible to develop this norm. For some individuals, simply learning about this research will motivate them to be more reflective about their own level of contributions. In addition, tracking conversational contributions with tally marks or transcribed notes can bring specific data to a team that is struggling. Discussion structures can also lead to more equitable participation. Check out The Discussion Book by Brookfield and Preskill for creative ideas.
2. Social Sensitivity
Members of the best teams have higher than average social sensitivity. In other words, they are able to discern how others are feeling from their facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. Not only are they more aware of how their colleagues are feeling, they are willing to act upon their knowledge by checking in, listening and encouraging others.
Reading the Mind in The Eyes is a simple assessment of a person’s social sensitivity. One approach might be to assess everyone on the team and discuss the results privately or openly. Another method might be to provide training on body language and the powerful impact it has on a sender’s message. Willing to try something a bit more challenging? Try videotaping your team during a collaborative work session and then watch and analyze it together.
3. Shared Vulnerability
Zak’s research has found that when someone is vulnerable with another – willing to share a personal story, a struggle, a fear – oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is a hormone that Zak calls “the moral molecule” or the trust hormone. His work has shown that trust increases between two people after sharing a vulnerable moment. This helps to create a psychologically safe environment, where people feel safe for inter-personal risk taking.
Zak recommends that leaders be especially willing to share their vulnerable side with colleagues and employees. Sharing a personal struggle will not only increase trust but may improve your approachability factor. Team members who are comfortable approaching each other with concerns or new ideas are more likely to perform effectively over the long run.
With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner, you may be tempted to place a bet. While taking a chance on a horse may be a thrilling way to increase your pocket money, strategically choosing your Triple Crown next steps can be a sure-fire way to increase team effectiveness.
How long does it take the average human brain to consolidate a memory?
a.) 6 months
b.) 1 year
c.) 2 years
d.) 10 years
According to Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist with a specialty in memory, it can take ten years before a memory finds its final resting place in the brain and is fully consolidated. Along the way, all types of things can interfere with the memory, changing it and even causing it to morph into something totally different than the original.
Now picture your next class of adult learners or audience members. They are seated at tables, surrounded by colleagues, with a dozen “to dos” going through their minds. They may be sincerely interested and highly motivated to hear what you have to say – or not. They may be tired, multi-tasking, or experiencing cognitive overload. Yet it is your goal to have them remember your message. What can you do to reduce the morph factor? How can you make sure the learning has long-term value?
Thankfully, Medina’s research also tells us that information that is repeated within 30 seconds moves from immediate memory into working memory. He recommends that the first repetition use the same form as the original, but that subsequent repetitions are best if they utilize a different sensory form. Examples might include asking your participants to take notes, illustrate, discuss or summarize. These types of interactive repetitions help to solidify the memory more quickly than passive listening. Meaningful repetitions can decrease the interference that may try to morph the memory at a later point.
For more ideas on how to increase learner participation and retention, check out my blog at www.caffeinatedlearning.com
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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