I came across this great video from Tofu Design called 29 ways to stay creative. The title caught my eye – particularly the word stay as it assumes you and me are creative to start with, which I firmly believe.
You can view the video below. I’ve added to each point to emphasize how you can stay creative when you’re training. The first part of each point below is from the video (e.g. make lists), what follows are my suggestions (e.g. organize your content).
1) Make lists – organize your content. No one pays for endless hours of content development so make sure you have systems for organizing your training content and supplies. I use a custom designed database for tracking teaching activities and supplies.
2) Carry a notebook everywhere – inspiration can strike in the oddest places, make sure you capture it because it can be elusive. I keep a pen and paper by my bed, I have a ‘design book’ I carry everywhere with me and of course, I have my trusty iPhone to add notes to. It doesn’t matter how you capture your ideas, the point is capture them!
3) Try free writing – it’s easy to fall into teaching the same content in the same way over and over and over (bored yet?!). Try journaling and see what new ideas you come up with for content and/or learning activities.
4) Get away from the computer – a fun exercise I use for creativity and innovation workshops was gained from visiting a bike store and learning what an illiometer was. That’s it above. It measures the distance between your butt bones so you can get a comfortable bike seat. Look for inspiration and ideas everywhere.
5) Take breaks – for example go into a dollar store and pick up an unusual item and then create a learning activity around it. Some of my most fun learning activities have supplies I’ve bought from dollar stores.
6) Quit beating yourself up – you can play it safe and do the same content in the same way over and over and over but you’ll soon bore yourself and your participants (plus you’ll be outdated fast). Trying out new workshops, new activities and new content takes guts. Occasionally you’ll blow it. That’s the price of creativity. Relax and move on.
7) Sing in the shower – LOVE this one! Be exuberant. Answer your inner booty. Embrace your body, your ideas, your passion and your training will improve +++
8) Drink coffee – okay as one of the world’s only non-coffee drinkers, I substitute diet coke. At any rate rev yourself up from time to time. You can also substitute cranking your favourite tune and dancing with abandon (advise your office mates first and ask them to join you). I’ve been known to shake it to Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Let’s Get Loud’ in my office.
9) Listen to new music – download something totally unfamiliar from iTunes and see what inspiration it brings. Find new music to accompany a new activity. I have an iTunes playlist specifically for corporate training activities. Makes it easy to find and play them.
10) Be open – one of the most challenging and rude participants I’ve ever had in a workshop taught me a lot about conflict resolution. In fact I have him to credit for a brand new technique I tried on the spot. It worked! In training often the things that bug me have things to teach me. If we stay open learning takes a leap. After all, how can we expect our participants to be open if we’re not?
For the next 10 ways to stay creative when you’re training see the next post and the one after that for the final 9 ways.