I was recently invited by one of my former students to visit her company, a major coffee and coffee products corporation. Laura brought me in to teach the same full-day course she took with me back at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions 2010 conference: How to Create and Deliver eLearning Voiceovers Like a Pro. In addition, she engaged me for a day of one-on-one Presentation Skills coaching for others at her company.
I love teaching and coaching, and I had terrific students both days. The results were fantastic. Working with people so enthusiastic about learning and trying new things, and seeing major improvement in their work by the end of the session, is always incredibly gratifying. I was genuinely impressed with the talent on display at this company.
For the full-day voiceovers program, I had almost 20 eager participants, with varying degrees of comfort in front of a microphone. The audience for this particular program is Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who need to create their own eLearning for their team or department, including crafting the voiceover script, recording the voiceover, and editing it to make it ready for use in an eLearning module. I introduce the key concepts, then let my students play hands-on, and provide guidance and feedback along the way. Throughout the day, participants share their results in a supportive environment. Nothing beats learning by doing, and my students used every minute of the day to experiment and improve. I encouraged them to explore scenarios “outside the box” in creating their scripts, and to consider the use of humor when appropriate. The creativity each person displayed encouraged even more creativity in the others, and everyone had a great time while learning a lot and producing some truly memorable learning moments. When the students presented their final projects at the end of the 8-hour day, every single one showed major improvement, and everyone in the room heard the indisputable proof. There’s going to be some great eLearning coming from these folks. One of the students wrote to me afterwards:
Thank you for the informative and inspiring class you taught last Thursday! I’m very excited to begin implementing all the new things I’ve learned.
Thanks, Lori! I also had a great experience with each of my Presentation Skills clients. At the end of each one-hour session, the client was able to deliver their content with far greater assurance and impact. Each was excellent at taking in and working with my comments and suggestions. It was great to see each person grow in skills and confidence so markedly in such a short space of time. Laura sent around a satisfaction survey afterward, and told me the feedback was terrific. Here is what one of my Presentation Skills clients wrote:
I gained an appreciation for the importance of bringing conviction and passion into presentations, including those that seem mundane (e.g. regular updates). Most times as a presenter, you know more about that particular topic than anyone in the room. Over the course of 60 minutes, Andrew reminded me of this point and helped me experience the impact of speaking from the heart with focus and energy. Despite the same slides and message, my presentation of the material at the end of the session was much more powerful (and literally felt better) than my handling of the same content at the start.
Thanks, Tom! I really appreciate the feedback. And my thanks again to Laura for inviting me to work with the talented folks at her company. These students strongly reinforced my longstanding belief that coaching and gardening (one of my other loves) have a lot in common. If you provide good people with the right conditions and an encouraging environment, great and even remarkable things will grow out of it. Or, to embrace a coffee metaphor, if you put quality ingredients in the cup, and stir it up, you’re going to create something everyone wants. I look forward to my next visit!