Sometimes All You Need Is A Fresh Set of (Non-L&D) Eyes

I spend a lot of time looking at the training lesson plans of subject matter experts, giving them feedback and suggestions on how to make their presentations more engaging.

About a month ago, I was preparing to deliver a segment of new hire orientation introducing my department’s work to a group of new hires. Before I began, I asked what the new hires thought of some of the other new hire sessions they’d attended. One woman said: “I’ve been impressed. There have been some presenters who have taken what could be very boring, technical topics and they’ve turned them into very interesting and cool presentations through interactive case studies, simulations, demonstrations and other activities.”

It made me feel good. Some of the things I’d worked with our subject matter experts on had been integrated into their lessons and apparently well-received.

Then I delivered my presentation. It was slated for an hour, but fifteen minutes into it I got a sinking feeling. The new hires were politely listening. And that was the problem. They were simply listening to my information.

I had been able to provide feedback and ideas to others, but I hadn’t actually used my own advice to make an amazing presentation with my own content.

I took my lesson plan to some (non-learning and development) colleagues and asked for some thoughts. With their fresh eyes on my lesson plan, we were able to come up with several stories to frame the work of our department. We came up with a case study. And of course, we ended with a short “pop quiz” just to see if people were paying attention.

For learning and development professionals, sometimes all of our theory and education and experience can’t stack up to simply getting a fresh set of eyes on our work.

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