When you present, your audience wants to feel something. So give them what they want!

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina writes, “Emotionally arousing events tend to be better remembered than neutral events.” A key goal, then, is to tap into the audience’s emotion and try to stir up feelings that will make their learning experience memorable.

What happens if you don’t feel like you’re able to tap into your audience’s emotions? How then can you help them to feel something?

Chris Ernst from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently offered a solution to this quandary.


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What happens when we hold on to old beliefs (even when they’re not true)?

The answer is: we look foolish.

A few weeks ago at the Online Learning Conference, I sat in a room and I was amused by a question the keynote speaker posed to the audience. She asked: what color is a yield sign? I turned to the person sitting next to me and said: yellow! She smiled and nodded. Such an easy question!

The problem was: we were wrong.

Not such an easy question. And when the answer was revealed, there was a collective palm-slapping-forehead sound that rang out across the ballroom.

In case you were wondering, a yield sign you’d see on the road today (and every day since 1971) actually looks like this:   Continue reading

Why I’ve asked every trainer at my organization to attend our local ATD chapter’s annual conference


I work at an eye bank. I’m surrounded by a lot of very smart people. We cure a lot of blindness. We want to cure more, so we’re growing.

As we grow and roles get more specialized, many of our departments have created technical training positions. While the people who fill those positions are among the best in the world at what they do, they’ve had very little exposure to trends and best practices in learning and professional development.   Continue reading

Sandwiches are the lecture of meal options during a training. Here are 6 alternatives.


Yes, training should first and foremost be about behavior change, skill transfer to on-the-job performance and ultimately it should be about impact to the organization. That doesn’t mean it should be boring – either in the delivery of the content or in the food options that we offer our learners.

It seems to me that sandwiches have become the lecture of meal options – a safe choice, everyone else is doing it, usually pretty boring and just not very memorable.   Continue reading

Sometimes you just have to be silly


I looked on in horror as the facilitator arched her back, lifted her shoulders, raised her arms as if she had claws, opened her mouth and let out something resembling a screech.

I was at the LINGOs Global Learning Forum, attending Kristin Hibler‘s session on “L&D Applications of Improv”, and one at a time we were all supposed to copy what the facilitator had just done.

Nope. Uh-uh. Continue reading