This month marks 20 years of me being self-employed. Can you believe it?! I’ve got so many reasons to celebrate, not the least of which is you dear reader.
So let’s look back on 20 years & get the party started. All month you’ll see extra goodies, gifts & great resources.
The same year I jumped into entrepreneurship, 1998, Google was founded & you weren’t cool if you didn’t sport ‘The Rachel’ haircut from Friends.
Since those days I’ve had the privilege of designing & delivering training workshops to more than 20,000 participants in & from more than 120 countries.
Here are 20 of my highlights from 20 years in the learning & development field (aka training & education).
- People need to feel comfortable, safe & connected to learn & to share those learnings. Setting the tone for learning is one of the most important things you can do.
- Always be ultra prepared. I’ve taught from the C-Suite to the slums & being prepared is key. For example, I always keep a few extra activities in my hip pocket if need be.
- Great teaching includes creating situations that spark curiosity on the part of participants. Curious participants are those that want to learn.
- Inclusive teaching means teaching in a wide range of ways, including audio (songs, videos), visual (infographics, charts) & kinaesthetic (movement).
- Pay attention to the learning Do what you can to make it as conducive to learning as passable.
- Hook your participants before the workshop even begins. Get them engaged & curious beforehand through 1 or 2 creative pre-workshop activities.
- Help the learning leave the room. Plan for creative learning activities to help participants apply their learning after the workshop is over.
- Encourage a learning culture. Join a community of practice such as my monthly Learning & Development Roundtable.
- Culture, the programming of mind that divides us into groups (Geert Hofstede), is vastly under estimated in learning. Pay attention to cultural influences in your training work like gender, age, sexual orientation, literacy levels etc.
- Tech tools. They’re here to stay. Use them to make learning pop.
- Use my Go Life Lens® perspective to always be trying new things. Don’t let your learning get stuck in a rut.
- Use my Stop Life Lens® perspective to reflect on how you learn. You can get some prompts to help you here.
- The Head Life Lens® perspective can help you with background information, such as the Experiential Learning Cycle. Learn more about it here & take this little quiz to see if you got it.
- The Heart Life Lens® helps with how you & your participants feel about learning. One example of this is paying attention to how hard or easy your material is; you want to make sure you hit the mark. Too easy & participants get bored, too hard & they get discouraged.
- The Journey Life Lens® helps us focus on process- HOW we get training done. Make sure your processes are in tiptop shape (e.g. how you conduct your learning needs assessments (save time & use a checklist), write your learning agendas, share resources)
- The Destination Life Lens® serves us by helping us be clear on where we’re headed with our training, what our objectives are. Make sure you know yours so your workshops don’t drift.
- The Mountain Life Lens® helps us look up & remember our vision. Always, always, always link your workshops to your vision. Part of my vision is to spark curiosity, so I know if I’m not doing that in a workshop, I’m not on track.
- The Carrot Life Lens® gift is the gift of details. Make sure your agenda is printed in larger than normal so it’s easier to read when you’re up in front of folks & perhaps mildly or wildly terrified.
- Take a holistic approach to your training. I often use the system I designed called S.A.K.E.© – an acronym for skills, attitude, knowledge & experience. It’s a helpful, effective tool for ensuring you’re covering all your bases when you’re designing a workshop.
- Be an agent of change & know your theory of change. I use the social outcomes chain; I focus first on attitudes & awareness, then build skills & then work towards social change.
Twenty years, twenty lessons. Hope you enjoyed them.
If learning is your thing (& ahem, how can it not be) please feel free to join my monthly Learning & Development Roundtable. We meet monthly online & in person at the UN in Nairobi. Plus, in case your time zone doesn’t mesh, I record all our meetings so you can watch them at your leisure.