I have been so excited for this keynote! It may have even swayed me to attend ATD 2016 (shhh). I’ve read Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, and have watched all of Brene Brown’s Ted Talks (and have seen them used countless times in academic contexts at the university – my therapist has even recommended them)! Needless to say, getting to hear Brene Brown speak can only be considered an honour and inspiration!
Brene began her keynote by sharing her first professional love – her first real job: training; she was a trainer for AT&T. She also share her secret passion of becoming an MTV VJ on Headbangers Ball.
Her research lies in courage and vulnerability, and first began her vulnerability research by researching shame, before she realized that shame was really vulnerability. She shared her publisher’s failed attempts at choosing an appropriate book cover for Daring Greatly – an elephant ass would never appear over her name.
What story are you telling yourself right now? Most people I know, at some point, have been committed to a shame narrative of “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not successful.” Whenever you feel as though you’re over your head, you go to that shame narrative. But you need to see the struggle through the trees. See it for what it is.
Emotion gets the first crack of making sense of a difficult situation. – Brene Brown
Be honest before you let your emotions create a narrative. If someone does something you perceive as being negative/passive aggressive/etc., speak with the individual first because the story your emotions are making up, may just be that – a story. You need to empathize with that individual and understand where they’re coming from.
Courage is teachable, but it is not easy. If it was easy to teach courage, everyone would be brave all the time.
The most terrifying emotion we experience is joy, because we feel as though it’s time-limited. That the joy will end. We’re inviting disaster. These feelings aren’t true – they’re how we self-protect.
We need to show up at the arena, and not sit in the cheap seats. We need to show up and dare greatly. Try new things, be vulnerable, take off the armour, show up, and just be you! Shame, scarcity, and comparison are season ticket holders in the arena, and they will always be there. The only thing you need to have when you enter the arena is full clarity and values. Empathy and self-compassion are the most important seats in the arena, because we’re always entering looking for critics.
We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art. – Henry James.
This keynote was just what I needed! It was incredibly inspirational, and I really need to try and be more empathetic with myself to breakdown my internal narrative. Brene has motivated me to get moving on somethings I’ve been holding off on – and I’ll try not to get myself too far underwater, but if I do, I’ll ask for help.
For the first session, I attended Virtual Presence: Inspire and Engage in the Virtual Classroom and Beyond. Where hopefully I will glean some good information for an upcoming project I’m working on, for my own professional development when it comes to public speaking, and when it comes to making effective recommendations to faculty members at the university for conducting their synchronous sessions.
The session kicks off with several questions:
- How many of you have forgotten about a virtual colleague in a mixed in person/virtual meeting?
- How many of you have video conferenced with someone who was not camera ready?
- How many of you have facilitated a meeting, remotely, and wanted more organized participation?
- How many of you have left a webinar or presentation early because of the presenter’s unique vocal quality?
- How many of you felt uneasy because you don’t know how your content is landing?
Virtual presenter, Kate Nugent, begins with a story about how she always crushed it as a classroom trainer, but how in her first virtual training session, she fell flat. How do we make impact with virtual presence? Virtual presence allows you to connect authentically with virtual audiences, so they feel included, engaged, and inspired.
We need to work harder to include people in a virtual session.
- Reaching Out
Sometimes we need to push people a bit, and make it easy for people to put in the extra effort to participate. Try different platforms and devices, and make requests of others to put in extra effort to join you on the preferred platform. Your IQ would be better in a virtual meeting if you were stoned versus multi-tasking.
Be present – Focus on the now, being flexible/adaptable, and be aware of what’s happening in the virtual ‘room’.
Presenting tips – Take a deep belly breath before picking up the phone and when you find your nerves taking over, and strategically eliminate distraction – close all applications and hide devices.
Reaching out is about building relationships of trust, virtually. You can do this by asking questions that solicits opinions. Ensure you’re exercising your listening skills, and show empathy.
Express yourself with voice, body, and face, and ensure your message is aligned with these expressions.
Self-knowing – Ask a colleague for feedback to build self-awareness, and set your self up for success by preparing – send an agenda in advance.
Sometimes you have to channel your inner middle school teacher to guide users through the steps.
For my second session of the day, I chose to attend Using the Science of Attention, Willpower, and Decision-Making, with Julie Dirksen…because it’s Julie Friggin’ Dirksen, and a pretty interesting topic – although, I might get reamed for blogging while listening haha.
Julie begins her session with a bit of a rant on micro-learning. She wants to spend a bit of time talking to the concept of ‘if we make it smaller, we can squeak in under the ever-reducing attention spans of our users.”
She hypothesizes that instructional design has a primary responsibility of ruthlessly managing cognitive load. She follows that with a brief tutorial of cognitive load – which I developed a Storyline interaction for way back in the day – check it out here!
We’re flooded with data at any given time, and the act of attention is deciding which data is important to you at any given moment in time. The information processing model is essentially a data filter for our minds. Is the data important? Is it not? That’s sensory memory. Working memory allows us to hang on to data for a little while. Long-term memory involves information that sticks around for the long haul…maybe not forever, but for awhile.
- Segue: I recently watched Patton Oswalt’s most recent comedy special on Netflix, and he had a great bit where he talks about how he can remember radio jingles he heard as a kid, but regardless of how many times he’s taken infant CPR training, he can never remember whether he’s supposed to press on his daughter’s chest first or blow in her mouth first. Julie’s discussion on sensory versus working versus long-term memory.
How long is the average attention span? It’s debatable. There are types of attention: voluntary, involuntary, or habitual.
There are tons of cues out there to emphasize where we should pay attention. For example, environmental cues or social cues, and these cues depend on the audience. She talks about hyperbolic discounting – when do you get a reward and how does it effect behaviour?
We don’t want people to have to pull out the two-minute video on evacuating the building. – Julie Dirksen
Doodling to reduce attention drift – This is productive when it comes processing information. Your brain is staying engaged, without having to drift. I do this often when sitting through intense meetings, and I find it quite helpful; however, I also feel guilty when others can see me doodling.
When it comes to decision-making, we’re looking for some sort of emotional pull that tells us whether something is important or not, and these pulls are also what tells us if something is worth paying attention to.
The power of defaults impacts how we make decisions. For example, countries who have the ability to opt out of organ donation, but it’s the default. These individuals seldom opt out of organ donation because of the power of defaults…
When you’re provided with fewer choices, you’re more likely to make a decision versus when you’re presented with many choices. Your cognitive load has been reduced by the presentation of fewer choices.
To reduce cognitive load, try to: improve readability, do user testing (where are people getting stuck, expending extra effort?), make choices easier or harder depending on the behaviour you want to see, let people choose where they would like to start (e.g. choosing from a menu versus locking down navigation), make it as short as possible (but not shorter), create a sense of immediacy, don’t strip out the emotion (emotion tells us that things are important), tie the information to the learner’s experience, and keep decisions short and relevant.