“But he’s a heading west from the Cumberland Gap to Johnson City, Tennessee”

Map_Johnson_City_Cumberland_Gap

When I was in Birmingham, AL, last week, someone re-introduced me to Darius Rucker. I loved listening to his band, Hootie and the Blowfish, when I was in college, and I’d heard he’d “gone country” but I hadn’t kept up with his music.

The song Wagon Wheel was played for me. It was a catchy tune. I liked it. It sounded like it was about some guy hitchhiking, but I couldn’t quite figure out what all the lyrics meant, so I Googled the song. I found something very, very wrong…   Continue reading

Sometimes even the most powerful, seemingly stand-alone experiences need some facilitation.

I visited the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, last Wednesday.

16th_St_Baptist_Church

In the Lyft ride from the church to a business meeting, I was so overcome with emotion that I had to tell myself aloud: “Get it together, Washburn.” Twice.

Something happened in the 30 minutes between the time I started taking a few photos and the time I hopped into the Lyft that was a good reminder of the important role of a training facilitator during even the most powerful learning experiences.  Continue reading

After a training session, are your learners left to sink or swim? (Here’s a free form to help with post-training support)

Sink-or-Swim

I spent this past weekend at my daughter’s swim meet in Wenatchee, WA (which is the Apple Capital of the World!).

It was one of the first meets I’ve been able to attend. After her first race, I saw her grab her towel and walk toward where I was sitting in the bleachers. I wasn’t sure she knew exactly where I was sitting, so I stood up and made my way toward the pool deck. Then she stopped. It dawned on me she wasn’t walking to meet me.

What she did is what every person who attends a training program or professional development session should be doing.   Continue reading

The case for sticky notes in every training presentation

sticky-notes

I’ve been facilitating a series of 3-day train-the-trainer sessions in Uganda and Zambia over the past two weeks, working with groups of health educators to help them transform their presentation delivery from a traditional, didactic approach to a more learner-centered, interactive delivery.

On the first day, as I facilitated a variety of activities around adult learning theory and engagement strategies, the energy in the room seemed high. I asked participants to take a sticky note and write one word or phrase about how they were feeling after the first day. Responses such as “enjoyable”, “gaining a lot”, “awesome” and “this training is perfect” were submitted to me.

A funny thing happened on the second day. Continue reading

“How do I become a more dynamic presenter?”

all sleep-01

I was having coffee with a colleague earlier this week. She’s been working in training and development for a while, but felt her boss was looking for her to up her game. When she reached out to me, I told her to come to the coffee house with some specific thoughts on what she’d like to work on, and I asked her to bring her current training materials, too.

When she asked: “So, how do I become a more dynamic speaker?” I broke my advice to her down into three categories.   Continue reading