2018 Recap and 2019 Goals

I hope everyone is enjoying their New Year’s Eve. In reading last year’s recap, I realized that our household was in quarantine with the flu and right now I’m trying to fend off whatever feels flu-y. It’s sort of comforting to know that it’s a trend. A ton of things happened in 2018 that I’m extremely proud of, but that’s for another day! Reflecting on how much I accomplished from my goal list, I feel incredibly happy with what I managed to do.

In addition to everything I accomplished, I also won Best Academic Solution at DevLearn 2018’s DemoFest, I delivered my first full-day pre-conference certificate workshop (and received pretty darn good feedback), bought a new house with my husband (and sold our first home – which was a PROCESS!), visited one of my besties, Erin, in Aspen, got to spend an entire week with my best friend, Rachel in Vegas (she will be my new Vegas pal…AMEN!), and accepted a new job that I hope will become my career. It’s been wild!

2018 Recap

Personal goals:

  • Slow down and enjoy the present; – I have made this goal for many years in a row and I SUCK at achieving it. 
  • Maintain a consistent exercise schedule; – This is a half-achievement. In July I tore my medial meniscus in my left knee, so exercise has been just a nice thought since then and until post-surgery (whenever the heck that will be…AMEN to universal healthcare).
  • Be more mindful of the food I’m putting into my body and make positive dietary changes; – I completely forgot that this was a 2018 goal, and I actually achieved it. This past year I went gluten-free, which has been both a blessing and a curse. I hate to admit that it’s been effective with my migraines and visual auras…because GF pizza crust just isn’t the same, but I’m sticking with it!
  • Run the Bluenose Half Marathon and participate in a relay race (should be do-able since I won’t be attending ATD ICE this year); and – This didn’t happen because I did end up going to ATD ICE (which was amazing).
  • Travel to Toronto with my husband for the Blue Jays Home Opener and plan and execute an epic 5-year anniversary vacation. – Went to the home opener. They got crushed. It was still great! Executed a 5-year anniversary vacation to Portugal, and it was beautiful.

Business Goals:

  • Increase business income by 25%; – Business income has been blown out of the water.
  • Attend 2 conferences; – I actually attended 3: ATD ICE, ATD Core4 Toronto, and DevLearn 2018.
  • Speak at 1-2 e-learning conferences; – I spoke at 2 conferences: ATD Core4 Toronto and DevLearn 2018. 
  • Participate in the e-learning heroes community challenges (period – not regularly, just participate); – I’ve realized that to do this, I need to discover cloning technology…I would LOVE to participate, but have been swamped.
  • Blog regularly; – This definitely happened!
  • Break 1,000,000 views on the blog; and – The blog has hit 1,025,000 thereabouts! And I cannot believe how much love and support (from you folks) that I get for this blog and the content I produce. When I hit 1 million, I actually teared up. I’m not crying…you’re crying!
  • Get more courses up on Sprout. – Essentials of Instructional Design and Articulate Storyline 360 Essentials both launched and have been enjoying a very successful learner-ship!

2019 Goals

Personal Goals:

  • Slow down and enjoy the present;
  • Have knee surgery to repair the torn meniscus;
  • Rehab the knee and then return to a maintaining a consistent exercise schedule;
  • Make additional dietary changes (maybe get rid of dairy?); and
  • Hit the cottage at least four times for max relaxing.

Business Goals:

  • WORK LESS;
  • Work smarter – implement processes that will make my work-life easier and more efficient;
  • Hire an accountant (something that I’ve been long overdue for);
  • Maintain relationships with my existing clients;
  • Invest in sprucing up the blog;
  • Blog regularly; and
  • Continue to grow Sprout E-Learning.

ATD ICE 2018 – Keynote Recap: Connie Podesta

Keynote: Connie Podesta

I was super excited to attend Connie Podesta’s session, Life would be easy, if it weren’t for other people, because it seemed very relatable. Decoding the mystery of human behaviour seems like a unicorn of an event, but if she has advice, I’ll take it!

Connie Podesta begins her session by asking us how many of us would live our best lives if it weren’t for other people. ALL OF US.

She gives us two choices “I have an UNBELIEVABLE PowerPoint presentation”, with workbooks, and group work, or “vote for choice two before you hear it”…no really, choice two is to do none of that.

If you’re married, have kids, have bosses, have co-workers…selling is your ability to get people onboard. Today, Connie is going to show us how to get people onboard with all of these individuals!

Connie explains that women have created the term ‘executive coach’ to ensure men would come to the sessions…that’s why we don’t call ourselves therapists (to men). I know a lot of men who are comfortable going to therapists, but I think the term ‘executive coach’ seems a lot more appealing to many. Who knows?

  • Connie: Would you rather hug an old lady, or kick a dog?
  • Person: Kick an old lady

That sounds accurate.

She hauls a woman up who is under 39, and she explains how the under 39s are those who are full of themselves and don’t wear watches, the 50+ folk have sore shoulders, are the glue that sticks everything together, and are the happiest generation…because they don’t care, and the 40-49 group are those who are angrier than all of the other generations.

She explains that the 39s and under are a generation who get rewards for showing up. She recommends all of the 39s and under get a watch…why? Because we apparently blow off 42.5 hours a year checking on the time.

There’s an activity: choose your shape: circle, square, triangle, squiggle – what resonates most with you?

  • Squares: Detailed, left-brained, specific, make lists, dependable, reliable (don’t ask them “does this make my butt look big?”), hardest woking individuals in the industry…according to them; no one knows what they do, because they’re territorial, are not the best team players
  • Triangles: A little bit temperamental and it’s unpredictable, don’t like negative feedback, perfectionists, argue unsatisfactory grades, are OCD, are the best multi-taskers in the room (triangle secret: they don’t finish anything – they have the lowest attention span in the room, will go to squares to finish their projects), are driven out of their mind by circles
    • Squares and triangles just want their brains to stop.
  • Circles: Married to squares, never finish stories, -hits head on microphone-, oblivious there is a speaker present, easily distracted, party people (first time I’ve heard that), social people (ONLY time I’ve heard that), love telling stories, have made people endure your stories, the stories are so far from accuracy, are the motivators of the world, make all other shapes disgusted at 7am (do not talk to triangles before 10 or they’ll slap you), and are the peacemakers of the world – other shapes DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOU – you hate hassles, confrontations, and want everyone to get along; you want everyone to be happy and to learn from you, you get your feelings hurt 34897294239 times per day, and you have a hard time saying “NO!”; the circle motto is “I’ll do it.”
    • Inside the brain of circles: they honestly believe from the depths of their soul that they were put on the Earth for a reason, for a destiny, to fix or rescue
      • I’m a circle and this is 500% accurate.
  • Squiggles: Are the idea people, half of the ideas are non-sense, have authority issues stemming from childhood
  • The Unidentifiers: No fun, grumpy, don’t feel the need to participate, are closet-squares, because those are the only people who wouldn’t stand

How do you find out what shape people are? Ask “How are you today?” Squares and triangles won’t say anything. Circles will think you genuinely want to know. Why do we have kids that we think aren’t ours? Because at 6 months, they look around and think “I don’t want to be like anyone else in the family.”

She hauls up another poor participant, Ed – A Square. She’s trying to teach us how to close a deal with a square. To illustrate this, she uses Ed. She asks “My office or your office?” and he says “My office.” If you call a meeting, it should be in the other individual’s office, because you’ll have a 60% increase in chances to close a deal if you go to them.

Now, let’s close a deal with a triangle. Close deals in their office because it’s all about power.

Circles and Squiggles: If you are not early for the meeting (1 minute early, or late), triangles and squares are DONE with you. Also – no one wants to be as close to you as you want to be to them. You spend a lifetime sending squares and triangles into a corner with your closeness and your small-talk. GET OUT OF HERE!

Overall: This session was a hilarious end session to a great week at ATD2018. I love Connie and her incredibly accurate account of individuals (or myself at the very least).

ATD ICE 2018 – Session Recap: Diana Howles

Session: How to Avoid the Top 10 Mistakes in Instructional Videos

Diana begins her session by explaining that she loves helping clients use multimedia effectively. 

The trend is forecasting that approximately 82% of all internet traffic will be video, by 2021. This means that we will need to leverage video within our training materials. But we need to ensure we’re doing this effectively. Not just for the sake of creating video.

Diana plans to show us 10 mistakes we make within instructional videos, because “we don’t know what we don’t know”, which is one of my all-time favourite quotes. 

Common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Visual and Audio Distractions
  2. Inadequate Lighting
  3. Poor Audio Quality
  4. Formal Reading of Script
  5. Rapid On-Camera Movement
  6. Lack of On-Camera Presence
  7. Awkward Positioning in the Frame
  8. Static Visual Content
  9. Long and Boring Openings
  10. Losing Sight of Intended Audience

She provided examples for each element, such as:

  • Not cutting off bodies on-camera at awkward angles
  • Bringing several wardrobe options to ensure there are no visual distractions based on wardrobe (e.g., creation of floating heads)
  • Avoiding background distractions (e.g., things behind the individual on camera, or open doors/closets)
  • Ensuring nothing is obstructing the video frame
  • Use settings conducive to the person on-camera (e.g., instructor in a classroom instead of outside).
  • Ensure the speaker is front-lit. Backlighting (e.g. speaker sitting in front of a window) will create a shadow over the speaker.

Diana also emphasized the importance of scripting your talking points so that you know where you’re going, but not sounding like you’re reading from a script. There are studies that have shown that conversational delivery is better for learning than reading formally to the audience.

She discussing being cognizant of on-camera presence, such as:

  • Direct eye contact toward the camera lens
  • Create a likeable and personable connection
  • Maintain high energy/topic enthusiasm
  • Ensure you’re maintaining a perception of expert credibility
  • Maintain a pleasant and natural smile
  • Use conversational and personal tone
  • Maintain a balanced pace and speaking rate

She explains that in video, you should ensure your speech is short and to the point. Avoid reading full scripts verbatim on-camera. To avoid long-winded intros and outros, Diana recommends shooting these sections of the video last, once the speaker has warmed up to the video-recording process. This tends to facilitate concise intros/outros.

On camera, objects appear as if they are large as they move toward the camera, so be conscious of this, especially with hand gestures/movements to maintain proportions.

Don’t lose sight of your intended audience! A good example of this is not using acronyms without defining them first. This is something that is the bane of my existence when I review written content, because not all individuals reading the content are familiar with the acronyms, so listening to someone talk at me in acronyms in a video would overwhelm me with confusion.

Overall: This was a great session, and really hammered home the importance of being conscious of a lot of basic information that may get lost in the shuffle of creating instructional videos, in order to raise the quality of videos and ensure the learning takes centre stage.

ATD ICE 2018 Keynote Recap: Marcus Buckingham

Keynote: Marcus Buckingham

Marcus begins by discussing the research he’s at ATD ICE to conduct. He explains his process for conducting this research. Using marriage as an example, he explains how if you study all of the unhappy and happy marriages, there is one thing in common: people argue a lot. Following the logic that good is the opposite of bad, so for a really good marriage, don’t fight. But this isn’t true. It’s the space between the fights that defines a really good marriage – the fights are a way to reconnect.

“You can’t infer what excellence looks like by studying failure.” (Buckingham, 2018)

They found a number of misconceptions…or lies…within their research. It’s very hard to stay on top of talent when you’re looking at a series of lies about work:

  1. People care which company they work for
  2. The best plan wins
  3. The best companies cascade goals
  4. Well-rounded people are better
  5. People crave feedback
  6. People can reliably rate other people
  7. People have potential
  8. We should seek work/life balance
  9. ‘Leadership’ is a thing

These nine lies are all about how we get the most out of talent. Work is a magnificent place in which a person gets to manifest their talent, but we can’t do it if we’re operating on the wrong assumptions or beliefs.

“Be dangerous.” (Buckingham, 2018)

Think about an outcome that can really get you to focus.

“Learning is helping someone discover the patterns that are already there. Learning is insight.” (Buckingham, 2018)

He explains that talent develops only because of other humans (recognizing your potential).

Overall: Marcus’ session was great, but he’s a very fast speaker, so I found it quite challenging to draft a comprehensive blog post for this keynote – my apologies.