The case for sticky notes in every training presentation

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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?”

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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

What happens when you’re not set-up for facilitation success?

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Last Thursday, I wrote about the 5 essential ingredients for a successful leadership meeting, strategic planning session or retreat.

More often than not, we’re asked to design and/or facilitate meetings in the absence of one or more of these essential ingredients. Recently, I asked two extremely experienced L&D practitioners what they’d do if they were missing some of these ingredients.  Continue reading

5 Key Elements to Effective Meeting Design

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This past weekend I had an opportunity to facilitate an executive leadership retreat with an organization’s senior staff and Board members. As I reflect on that experience, I really don’t think the meeting could have gone better. We accomplished all of our objectives. We stayed on time. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. And there are concrete, actionable items that came out of the meeting that will impact the organization for the next five years.

Over the past several years, I’ve also facilitated strategic planning sessions and other meetings of senior staff that haven’t gone so well. Meetings have ended with a vague set of next steps. Participants have shared they felt lost at times during meetings.

As I contrasted these various experiences in my mind, I began to come up with a list of key ingredients for such facilitated meetings to be successful. Continue reading

Mixing it up: 15 activity ideas to prevent staleness from creeping in

About a week and a half ago I began going to a fitness bootcamp at a neighborhood gym. I figured it was time to start mixing up my routine from solely distance running. I was getting bored with my exercise routine, which was incredibly de-motivating.

As I was in the middle of a set of burpees, it dawned on me just how important it really is to mix things up in a professional development and training setting, too.

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I’ve found that even though I pride myself on designing engaging, interactive, creative training programs, I will often go to the same activities time and time again. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here is a list of 15 activities that can help stave off routine, boring, stale training programs:

Want to get people to brainstorm ideas? Mix some of the following into your session: Continue reading