I'm your host, Manja Horner. This is Your Greatest Work Podcast, the show for course creators who want to become the recognized expert in their field. You will find this podcast helpful if you know that your course or program is good, but you want to figure out how to fine tune it to be your greatest work! In every episode, I'll bring you insider information experiences from the best learning strategists, trainers and designers in the world. With some tweaks and smart design and program delivery, you can have better completion rates, more referrals and be proud of your business legacy.
How to Make DEI Training Work
In Episode 15 of Your Greatest Work, Manja talks with Belinda and Calvin about supporting diversity and inclusion in course creation. You won't want to miss this incredibly useful episode.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are incredibly important topics that require incredibly hard conversations. For many people, those conversations are emotionally packed, sensitive, and uncomfortable.
That's why trainings exist on the topics — and why corporations and institutions are hungry for courses and learnings that will help their people.
Belinda and Calvin know this very well. They create and facilitate trainings on this exact topic. In our fifteenth episode of Your Greatest Work, Belinda and Calvin shared their thoughts and insights on the topic with Manja.
Why is it important to talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion?
The simplest question first: Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important in course creation because everyone has different lived experiences.
It's that simple.
People do not work or learn in isolation from the events of their life. As Belinda explains, if employees cannot show up to work as their most authentic selves, they cannot be their most productive or creative, but — more importantly — they will not feel valued at work.
So this topic matters.
Now that we've established that, let's address the real meat of this conversation:
How can you effectively design learning that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Belinda and Calvin share some lessons they've learned.
1. This training must be ongoing
As Belinda and Calvin repeatedly emphasized, learning in these areas is not a one-time event. Training must be ongoing and people must continually learn and practice and reflect. This creates a culture of learning and a culture that is welcoming and safe for hard conversations.
While different people have different approaches to diversity training, everyone agrees that this is not a one-time event.
A series of training sessions could take place weekly or biweekly. Through regular and spaced practice, learners can develop a deeper sense of how to have hard conversations in a productive way and how to be an ally for their colleagues and coworkers.
2. People must be ready to learn
According to Calvin, learning is an intentional act. No course or training — not matter how phenomenal — will teach an unwilling learner.
Instead, courses should begin by asking participants if they're ready to learn and if they're entering with an open mind or a growth mindset.
And if people aren't ready to learn? Meet them where they're at.
3. Multimodal learning is best
Whenever possible, Belinda tries to use blended learning — a combination of videos, readings, and in-person engagement sessions. Why? Because everyone learns differently. And because people need time to process, to feel, and to think about the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Multimodal learning allows everyone to engage in a way that is productive for them.
4. Hypotheticals must engage emotions
The best hypotheticals generate emotion, Belinda explained. You want participants to feel emotions as they engage. Then, as a facilitator, you need to acknowledge this emotion and let participants know that an emotional response is warranted.
People need to feel validated in their emotions before they can move on to the rational brain.
Because people have different lived experiences, this is particularly important for any courses that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In this week's episode of Your Greatest Work, Belinda and Calvin talk extensively about how they approach their work and the importance of their work. Tune in to hear Belinda & Calvin
Negotiation and Virtual Sales Training
In Episode 14 of Your Greatest Work, Manja and Josh talk about the nuances of virtual negotiation and sales.
So you have a course. It's refined, tweaked, tested, and it's your greatest work. Amazing. Wonderful. Exciting!
But now you need learners. What's a course without learners?
And how do you attract learners for your course? Yes, the s-word. Sales. You have to sell your course and convince potential learners that they have something to gain by paying for your materials and spending their efforts on your course.
Negotiations and sales can make many of us feels uncomfortable, but it's an essential part of being successful.
So how can you effectively negotiate and make sales?
And how can you do that in a virtual environment?
Josh Jenkins, the Director of Business Developments at Shapiro Negotiations Institue, has plenty of experience doing just that. Here are Josh's top four tips:
1. Don't think about a sale or negotiation as a single event
We often think of negotiations and sales as single events. According to Josh, that's really not the case. We're constantly negotiating with —or influencing— the people around us. Your colleagues, coworkers, family, and friends.
You're always negotiating something. Where should you eat? What movie should you watch? Who should work on that project or take on this task?
You have experience negotiating (and endless opportunities to practice). Realizing that is important.
2. Don't abandon the small talk
In virtual sales, you're not taking a potential client out for dinner or giving a full-day presentation with a nice lunch break. That has all changed, Josh explains.
What hasn't changed is the need to build relationships with prospective clients. You may have abandoned taking them out for dinner, but you can't abandon small talk.
So when you're planning a video call, plan time for small talk. Build in some go-to opportunities for natural conversation.
Do you have a pet? Have them nearby. Everyone loves pet interruptions on a zoom call.
Does the person on the call have an interesting background? Ask a question about it.
If you're trying to make a sale asynchronously, think about your social media presence. Small talk can happen on any —and every— social media platform. Take advantage of that personal opportunity to engage with future learners.
3. Consider trying assignment selling
What is assignment selling? As Josh explains, this sales strategy involves sending your prospective client some information ahead of time. Essentially, you give them an assignment before your call.
This can help your potential client be more informed about your course or whatever you're offering, but it has another side benefit: they now have some buy-in.
Assignment selling puts some of the responsibility on the client which can help them feel invested in the sale before it even happens.
4. Try to understand their interests
A lot of salespeople try to respond to the client's explicit position. To be more effective, Josh says, you need to really understand the client's interests. What do they need? Why?
By focusing on the interests of a possible client, you can work with them to find the best possible solution for their needs. When you do that, they're more inclined to seal the deal with you. After all, you know what they need and you know how to deliver.
In this week's episode of Your Greatest Work, Josh talks extensively about strategies for making virtual learning effective and applicable as well as strategies for measuring behavior change. This is an episode you definitely don't want to miss.
Tune in to hear Josh's insights! Episode 14 is out now!
Help Adults Measure Learning Progress
In episode 13 of Your Greatest Work, Manja and Deborah talk in-depth about strategies for effectively teaching adults.
Teaching is hard. Whether you're teaching English to a classroom of children, teaching violin to just one teenager, or teaching practical skills to adults in a virtual setting, teaching is difficult.
Getting lessons to stick and keeping learners engaged takes creativity and strategy.
Deborah knows this very, very well (after all, she once had Manja as her student). Through decades of teaching experience in schools and in one-on-one settings, Deborah has developed some go-to strategies to effectively work with learners of different ages.
Here are just three key lessons from Deborah on working with adult learners.
1. Recognize the Fear Factor
According to Deborah, the biggest difference between adults and children is the fear factor. Children may not be very focused on learning but they have no inhibitions. But adults... well, we are incredibly intimidated when it comes to learning something new.
Adult learners bring a lot of motivation but, with that, a lot of fear. They're often insecure and may carry extra baggage. Why?
At some point, adult learners have been told that they're not good enough — and those untrue words stick.
So working with adult learners involves working on the learning mindset and working on the unlearning of past experiences. How do you do this? For Deborah, it's all about trust. You must build trust with your learners often by exposing your own vulnerabilities.
2. Build a Continuum of Progress
What does that mean? Well, as Deborah explains, learners want to feel like they're always making progress. Like their efforts are worthwhile, like they're going somewhere. Like they're learning.
One way to help learners feel that they're learning is to create a continuum of progress with your teaching. Once learners make a little bit of progress they think 'oh, I can do that.'
Imagine a wheel or a set of steps, Learners are moving forward and getting ready for the next thing.
This continuum of progress also supports —and fosters— intrinsic motivation. If you're learners can see that they're learning, they're encouraged to learn more.
So how do you create this continuum?
3. Break Down Content
From Deborah's experience, adult learners want to learn it all right from the start and they take on way too much. But trying to learn everything right away as fast as possible is overwhelming and will easily discourage new learners. How can you avoid that and help learners experience a continuum of progress?
Break down content. Take a concept or a lesson or skill and break it into nuggets.
One way to do this is to isolate skills. If a learner is struggling with one specific task, having them practice the skill in a comfortable environment can build confidence and further develop the skill.
By incorporating these lessons from Deborah, you can more effectively teach adult learners. But this is only the surface of Deborah's wealth of knowledge.
In this week's episode of Your Greatest Work, Deborah talks extensively about meeting learners where they're at, the unique challenges —and opportunities— of virtual tutoring, and how to support learners in reaching their goals.
Tune in to hear Deborah's insights! Episode 13 is out now!
About Our Guest
Deborah Henderson is an accomplished and experienced teacher. She offers violin lessons for children, teens and adults using both the Suzuki Method and Royal Conservatory syllabus. She also leads violin group classes for children and chamber music ensembles for teens and adults. She was the string program director for SONG (Sounds of the Next Generation), a free after school music program for under-served
Creating Professional Course Videos
In Episode 12 of Your Greatest Work, Manja and Amanda talk about strategies for creating professional course videos!
Many courses involve video components. Why not? Videos can engage your visual and audio senses, make the course seem more personable, and simply mix-up learning activities. There are several styles of learning videos and today we discuss Amanda's specialty "talking head" format.
Now we've all seen poorly done learning videos — we've all skipped past poorly done learning videos. So how can you avoid this and create effective video content?
Amanda Horvath has loads of experience creating videos and designing courses. Her DIY Video Roadmap is high quality and 5 Star for helping you share professional video thought leadership online. She shares in this episode some top tips on how to create high-quality learning videos.
#1. Always structure your videos
According to Amanda, people often think that they can just sit down in front of a camera and record themselves talking. Well, that sort of winding free-form conversation may work in a podcast, but it's not effective for a learning video.
Instead, intentionally structure your videos. Break a topic into segments or a process into steps, then speak more freely on each of these steps. This gives your audience specific takeaways and makes your videos more consumable.
Something as simple as starting a video by saying "Today we're going to talk about X, Y, and Z" can go a long way toward clearly structuring your content.
#2. Invest in quality audio
Your microphone matters more than your video. You may have the most beautiful-looking video, but if the audience can't hear you properly, they won't find it engaging.
Rather than investing in camera, invest in a microphone first.
#3. Think about your camera presence
If you're recording a talking head video (the sorts of videos where someone just talks to the camera), it's important to think about your camera presence. You want your background to be nice, free-of-clutter, and professional-looking.
But your camera presence also includes, well, you.
Hand gestures, head movement, and shoulder movement all contribute to making you look alive and excited when you're talking. According to Amanda, something as simple as wearing a pair of earrings or lipstick can contribute to a more engaging video.
#4. Consider batch recording
Record multiple videos back to back to back. This will save you time in setting up your equipment and help you get in the flow of recording. Afterward, you can also edit in batches or you can outsource your editing.
... and these top tips are just scratching the surface! In this week's episode of Your Greatest Work, Amanda talks extensively about software she recommends, pairing videos with supplemental materials, and advice for outsourcing editing.
Tune in to hear more of Amanda's insights
About Our Guest
About Your Greatest Work
Through conversations with global leaders and the credibility of personal industry, Your Greatest Work digs deeper into learning design in useful and applicable ways.
Our mission is to end boring ineffective programs and courses by helping entrepreneurs change the right levers in their content and delivery while measuring learning results.
Stay tuned for coming episodes. Let's start the
Creating Explosive Online Learning Experiences
Manja and Cath talk about finding creative ways to make learning experiences engaging and even explosive. Some courses are dry. Like mouth-parchingly, kind of like eating flour, click-through-as-fast as possible sort of dry. But learning doesn't have to be dry. Learning can be engaging and exciting and —dare we say it?— explosive. How? Creative delivery. Learn about Cath's creative process, where she finds inspiration and why she is passionate about exciting learning.
Every Program Should Have Skills Practice
Taking hard communication skills and helping people practice them in a safe and effective way can boost on the job performance by up to 50%.
Want to know how to sustain sales, communication, and DEI training with experiential learning?
At Practica Learning, where today’s guest Doug Robertson is the AVP of business development, they do this. There, the learning doesn’t stop after the knowledge has been transferred in an individual training session.
They’ve created a reality providing opportunity for people to practice the skills either before they go back to their workplaces, or just after they get to the workplace.
Wouldn't that make a difference to their ability to take the knowledge that they had learned and transfer it to the workplace; put learning into practice and change their behaviors?
We talk about the unique way in which Practica Learning does this.
It’s their incredible ability to create a safe learning environment that makes all the difference for learning retention.
Listen and take note of how to create this safe learning environment for your programs.
Every coach, consultant, and learning professional should be embedding experiential learning whenever skill development is a desired outcome.
In this episode, we also talk about the way COVID-19 has changed the world of virtual selling, how this requires a new skill set for your sales force.
And, what can be done through training to foster inclusive and equitable behaviours in leaders through role play and direct feedback.
These topics and much more make this a must-listen episode.
Doug Robertson Bio
Doug Robertson is a passionate and innovative learning leader, facilitator, and designer. He partners with clients to design, develop and deliver skills training. A former learning corporate partner, he is an expert at helping companies drive up learning application and retention through experiential learning – in particular using the methodology of deliberate practice. He earned his MBA (Financial Services) at Dalhousie University in 2004, and holds certificates in Leadership, Project Management and Adult Education.
Connect on LinkedIn: [https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglaswrobertson](https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglaswrobertson)