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3 Training Myths and How to Bust Them

Let’s face it. Sometimes it’s just easier to perpetuate myths than it is to address underlying problems. When a training initiative fails to achieve the desired results, we often chalk it up to ‘lazy learners’. When new ideas about workplace learning threaten the status quo, we dismiss them as ‘trends’ and fall back on dated myths about how people really learn. When our eLearning falls flat, we emphasize that great design always overcomes mediocre execution.

Reality check: While perpetuating training myths is an easy way to deal with problems in the short-term, failure to devise and implement progressive strategies that overcome the very myths you’ve been perpetuating, is a hamster run – good exercise until you try to get off the wheel! [Read more...]

Your Leadership Identity: Do You Play the Game to Win?

This article is part of our women’s leadership series on creating leadership identity, based on principles from Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, by Lois Frankel, Ph.D. Be sure to refer back to the previous article of this series, on the power of verbal presence in shaping your leadership identity.

What comes to mind when you think of the word “business?”

a) A chess match or sport where people are playing to win

b) An event where people come together and collaborate

c) Both a and b

d) I don’t really think about it, I’m too busy

If you answered C, you’re correct. Business and the workplace in general, are both a grounds for collaboration and teamwork, but also competition.

According to Dr. Lois Frankel, “the workplace is a game. It has rules, boundaries, winners, and losers. Not only is it a game, but the rules of the game change from organization to organization and from department to department within an organization.”

Many women don’t view business or the workplace in this way. Instead they view it as a collaborative set of events, where people are coming together for a big goal or a great cause. While this may very well be the case in your organization or department – it’s not the only thing going on.

[Read more...]

What Do Bad Meetings and Bad Training Have in Common?

A survey by GiveMore asked this question –

What frustrates you most about meetings at work?”

Here were the top 10 answers:

  1. Allowing attendees to ramble and repeat the same comments and thoughts.
  2. Doesn’t start on time, stay on track, or finish on time.
  3. No specific action items or walk-away points.
  4. No clear purpose or objective.
  5. Not inspiring or motivating.
  6. Not organized. No agenda.
  7. Too long.
  8. Repeating information for late arrivals.
  9. Weak presenter (unprepared, monotone, overly redundant)
  10. Boring. Nothing new or interesting.

I couldn’t help but see most of these same answers being given for this question –

“What frustrates you most about training?” [Read more...]

Your Leadership Identity: Leading Through Your Verbal Presence

This article is part of our women’s leadership series on creating leadership identity, based on principles from Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, by Lois Frankel, Ph.D. Be sure to refer back to the previous article of this series, on the power of visual presence in shaping your leadership identity.

Think about last week at the office.  If you’re like most, you probably:

  • Sent and received a minimum of 100 emails per day.
  • Sent and received dozens of voicemails.
  • Took many calls in your car or from your cell phone.
  • Were on multiple conference calls and webinars, plus daily meetings.
  • Commented on various social and professional sites, like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • Instant messaged, texted, Skyped, and Google Voiced.  (If you have children, you were probably checking on their social media, texting, and Skype activities.)

In today’s business world, the methods, the speed, and the sheer volume of communication can be overwhelming. The one thing all of these communications have in common?  They are completely second nature.  And because they’re second nature, we rarely see them for what they are – opportunities to be strategic and showcase our leadership identity through our verbal presence. [Read more...]

Your Training Team – 3 Credibility-busting Behaviors to Avoid

By Trina Rimmer

All too often, training teams are dusting off their superhero costumes in the quest to design and develop timely, relevant learning.

Has this happened to your team recently?

  • A request for a full-scale project with little time and almost no budget.
  • Rolling out a curriculum while new processes, systems, or products are still in development.
  • A change in business direction puts your training deliverables and deadlines into a tailspin.

I’m sure you’re nodding “yes” at all of the above. These business realities place pressure on training teams – not only must we advocate for learners while keeping the needs of the business in mind, we must do all these things with imperfect information and few resources.

It can be tough, and the easy reaction for team members may be to become frustrated and perhaps even indulge in certain behaviors that undermine our overall credibility as training business partners.  Below are three credibility-busting behaviors to look out for and avoid: [Read more...]

Your Leadership Identity: Leading Through Visual Presence

This article is the fourth of our 7-part women’s leadership series on creating leadership identity, based on principles from Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, by Lois Frankel, Ph.D. Be sure to refer back to the third article of this series, on how our actions speak loudly when it comes to assertiveness, decisiveness, and confidence – all traits of a strong, effective leader.

“Research shows that about 55 percent of your credibility comes from how you look.  How you sound accounts for an additional 38 percent. Only 7 percent of your credibility is based on what you say.” – Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

On the surface, those numbers are a little intimidating.  It’s humbling to think that before someone even evaluates the substance of our message, that they are making quick judgments about us based on our visual and verbal presence.

Even if you’re a healthy skeptic on statistics, it’s smart to pay attention because this part of human nature – the continual evaluation our environment and the people around us – can help us to become better leaders.  We subconsciously filter information – we accept what we perceive as credible and release the rest – and yes, that “credibility filtering” mechanism initially includes paying close attention to how others look and how they sound.

When it comes to visual presence, a little fine tuning can go a long way in making an immediate impact on your leadership identity, and pave the way for others to truly value the substance of your message.  I’ve found that working on these “outside” attributes can give us momentum for the work that we’re doing on the “inside.”

[Read more...]

Your Leadership Identity: Leading Through Your Actions

This article is the third of our 7-part women’s leadership series on creating leadership identity, based on principles from Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, by Lois Frankel, Ph.D.  Be sure to refer back to the second article of this series, for practical ways you can actively cultivate your brand and shine a light on your expertise.

No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” In this article, we’re going to cover how you act, or those self-initiated behaviors that speak to your level of assertiveness, decisiveness, and confidence – all traits of a strong, effective leader.

Taking some wisdom from Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, Dr. Lois Frankel describes it this way:

“Success in the world of business depends on your ability to know your part and how to play it . . . we are judged by whether we understand the nuances of what it means to act professionally. [There are] subtle, stereotypical ways in which women behave that [can] contribute to an overall impression of their being less competent than they really are.”

Your job in developing your leadership identity is to become acutely aware of your actions – with colleagues, direct reports, and senior leadership.  What are they saying about you?  Are they saying you have confidence and future leadership abilities, or are they saying you aren’t quite ready yet for the big time? [Read more...]

Top 10 Skills Every Instructional Designer Should Master

by Lisa Gearhart, Senior Instructional Designer

A skilled Instructional Designer is the key to every successful learning project. They design the project blueprint, craft an engaging learning message, and help learners make sense of the topic being presented.

So how can you become a successful Instructional Designer? Although the list is endless, here are the top 10 key skills that will help you ensure your learning message is focused and meaningful every time! [Read more...]

Your Leadership Identity: Leading Through Your Personal Brand

This article is the second of our 7-part women’s leadership series on creating leadership identity. 

In the first article of this series, I defined leadership identity and its importance to your career path, and the seven building blocks for creating and cultivating it.  One of those seven is how you brand and market yourself.

“Branding and marketing yourself” is a fancy phrase for how you choose to project what is unique, genuine, and quality about you.  I purposely use the word choose , because it is your choice to actively design and build awareness for your personal brand, or passively allow others to do it for you.  Your brand and how you cultivate awareness of it can determine what leadership opportunities you have in the future.

One of my mentors, Dr. Lois Frankel, describes it this way:

“Brand names get a reputation as a result of two things:  consistent quality and marketing.  One without the other doesn’t equate to staying power or success in the marketplace.”

If you take a closer look at those two things, consistent quality and marketing, I’d say many emerging women leaders have consistent quality down cold.  If anything, you may be so busy with consistent quality that you don’t invest enough in the second thing, marketing.   Why is that? [Read more...]

eLearning and Visual Design: An Interview with Kevin Thorn

By Trina Rimmer

What does this image communicate? An apple, an icon for the letter 'A', a symbol for New York City? When designing, ask, without text, does this image communicate the key message?

Have you ever longed to use more visuals and less text in your eLearning designs, but couldn’t quite articulate a good case for changing the text-heavy ways of your project SMEs and stakeholders? You’re not alone. If you’re like me, you may have little formal training in visual design and tend to “go with our gut”. And while designing visuals by instinct works in many cases, there are those times when the needs are complex, or when you really need to make a good case for slashing entire screens of text or depicting a multi-step process with one simple graphic. That’s where having a few words of wisdom from a visual design expert in your back pocket can come in handy!

I sat down with just such an expert. Kevin Thorn (better known throughout the Twitterverse as @LearnNuggets) is an illustrator, animator and fellow eLearning practitioner. From one practitioner to another, we discussed the important role of visual design in enhancing eLearning – and how to talk about visual design with clients. [Read more...]