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Coaching

Brewing Up Same Day Training Success

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!

A Great New Recommendation For My Work!

As you may know, I taught a full-day pre-conference certificate program on Voiceovers for eLearning Subject Matter Experts at the eLearning Guild’s 2011 Learning Solutions conference.  One of my students was Laura Fried, Sales Learning Manager for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.  I was delighted to hear from Laura this week that she’ll be at LS2012 conducting a concurrent session on video-based training.  If you’re attending the conference this year, I encourage you to check out her session.  I was also thrilled that Laura posted a recommendation for me on LinkedIn.  I’d like to share it with you:

“I had the opportunity to attend Andrew’s pre-conference certificate program, How to Create and Deliver eLearning Voiceovers Like a Pro (eLearning Guild Learning Solutions 2011). This class had a BIG impact on my work – and a year later I can still remember the many components of the work we did. Andrew’s material included a variety of hands-on exercises that made the class not only flow well, but kept all engaged. He also facilitated and managed the time well so that all the participants had the opportunity to create sample voiceovers and present them to the class for constructive feedback. Voila, instant reinforcement to cement the learning. Andrew’s background – as a skilled, accomplished actor – brought a high level of trust and authenticity to the class. I highly recommend his teaching and his work!”

In addition, my former student James Glenos and his wife came to see me performing in The 39 Steps down in Jupiter, Florida this past fall.  James came into my voiceover class already possessing a very high level of skill, but he, too, told me in November that my class taught him a number of useful tips he still uses today.

Thanks, Laura and James–your feedback means a lot!  I love coaching and working with people.  I love hearing what my students are doing, and sharing what I’m doing.  And to know that my teaching has had a lasting impact on my students is really what it’s all about.

Change of Plans for March 2012

Well, this is one of those good news/bad news posts.  The bad news is that it turns out I will not be available to teach my full-day eLearning voiceovers class at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions 2012 conference in Orlando this March.  My sincere apologies to anyone who had already signed up; I hope to be able to offer the session again at a future conference, or you or your organization can contact me directly from this site to arrange a training at your site.  If you were already signed up for the session in March 2012, I’ll give you a discount if you schedule your own session at your company.

So, why am I not going to be at LS2012 this year, much as I was looking forward to it?  Because I’ve just been cast in a fantastic role in the first New York City revival of Richard Greenberg’s play The Violet Hour! It’s a funny and thought-provoking play, and let’s just say that my role represents a real opportunity to be seen at my best in NYC theatre.  My character is a well-educated man on the edge, hilariously (and sometimes shockingly) outspoken, who is confronted with a printing machine that prints potentially life-changing information.  Rehearsals start February 13th, and I can’t wait.

Again, my apologies that I won’t be at LS2012 this year.  I was so eager to teach, attend lectures, and check out the annual Expo of new software and other goodies.  But I understand why my agent submitted me for this show–it’s an incredible role, and an opportunity too good for me to miss.

The play is being produced by The Active Theater in NYC, and will run from March 9-25.  If you’re going to be in town, I hope you’ll plan to see the show and say hello afterwards.  I will post more information once I know it.  Or you can click the logo on this post to visit the theatre’s web site.

I look forward to hearing about LS2012 from those of you attending, and I hope I’ll see at least some of you at the theater, too!

Sign Up Now for My Full-Day Certificate Program on eLearning Voiceovers!

Well, here we are at the end of 2011!  And suddenly the eLearning Guild’s March Learning Solutions 2012 conference doesn’t seem so far away.  If you’re the person assigned to create voiceovers for your company, and you want to step up your game to make your work truly memorable, then my full-day certificate program on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, is all about you.  But if you plan to join me, you need to sign up asap–I’m only accepting a limited number of students so that I can give one-on-one feedback to each participant.

Visit my Courses page to read feedback from my 2011 participants, as well as a description of the course.  I’m very proud of each and every one of my 2011 students–the improvement in their work after just the one day of training was nothing less than remarkable.  And they each have a certificate from the eLearning Guild to attest to their accomplishment.

You can click the image on this post to read a description and the eLearning Guild’s web site, and there’s a handy registration button right there as well.  See you there!

Great Video Recap of Learning Solutions 2011

I had a great time at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions 2010 conference, as teacher (voiceover skills, and presentation skills) and as attendee.  And I remember being interviewed at the time about my impressions of the conference.  So I was pleased to come across this video clip that gives a recap of the highlights, and features some of my comments.  It really was an excellent conference.  Click the image on this post to view the brief video on Vimeo.  And start making plans to attend Learning Solutions 2012!

 

New Courses Available for eLearning Voiceovers and Presentation Skills

View Available CoursesFor the past two years, the eLearning Guild has asked me to present courses at their Learning Solutions conferences, and each course has met with resounding approval from attendees.  Based on that positive feedback, I’m now delighted to offer you and your company those same in-depth learning experiences at extremely affordable rates.  Please visit the Courses page or click the image on this post to read all about the three courses now available, as well as about a free sample.  And don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.  These courses are all proven winners, and each can make a considerable contribution to your eLearning team’s success.

My eLearning Guild Online Forum Session About Voiceovers is Now Available For Free!

I was delighted to receive a note today from Chris Benz, Director of Online Events for the eLearning Guild, letting me know that they’ve selected my presentation from last week’s Online Forum as their latest free sample of the kind of quality content that comes with Guild membership.  I’m thrilled that my session was so well received, and am very glad that now you can watch and share this session even if you’re not yet a member of the eLearning Guild.  Of course, if you’re in the eLearning industry, I would strongly encourage you not just to join the Guild, but to become an active member and share your own interests and expertise as well.  I’ve found each of my experiences with the Guild to be great fun, and as always, my students/audience teach me something as well.

The session I presented last week was the opening keynote talk for the Guild’s Online Forum about incorporating Audio and Video in eLearning.  My session touches on the basics of how you can use quality voiceovers to add that powerful “Human Factor” to self-paced learning content, as well as on how and when you might consider using human versus synthetic (or automated text to speech) voiceovers.

The recorded session is 75 minutes, including the various polls and chats, which are an organic and important part of the content, as that’s how attendees participated and shared their own great and thoughtful input.  To view the session, click the Guild logo on this post, and you’ll find a link toward the bottom of that landing page.  I hope you enjoy the session, and I hope you’ll come back to this site and share your own ideas and suggestions as comments to this blog post!  My thanks again to Chris for inviting me to speak, and to Karen Hyder for her excellent support throughout the process.

My E-Learning Voiceovers Program Was a Great Success!

If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you know I was asked to teach a full-day pre-conference certificate program on How to Create and Deliver e-Learning Voiceovers Like a Pro for the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions 2011 conference.  I had 13 wonderful students from across the U.S. and Canada.  I had designed an extremely hands-on program, which gave everyone lots of opportunity to practice new ideas and tricks as I taught them throughout the day.  We worked on writing and rewriting scripts to turn them into compelling voiceover copy, we worked on basic relaxation exercises and vocal techniques, and we worked on the essentials of recording and editing voiceover files.  Then I held an extended lab in the afternoon where participants worked on creating scripts and audio content while I walked around the room, working one-on-one with each and every student to answer questions and provide suggestions and guidance.  At the end of the day, each student did a mini-presentation, playing and discussing the difference between audio files they created first thing that day, and then again at the end of the day, using the same script.  The improvements in every case were audible and substantial.  I was proud of all the students for the progress they demonstrated in the space of just one day!  I was also both pleased and humbled when I read all of the anonymous student feedback the following day; it means a lot to me to have made such a positive impact with my teaching.  I salute each and every one of my students for working so hard, and for doing such a great job!

NOTE: If you were one of my students, and would be willing to let me put your “TakeOne” and “TakeTwo” files (either anonymously or with your name, as you please) into a little mini-presentation I’m thinking of creating about the class, please contact me.  It will likely include a very brief overview of the topics, some of the written feedback, and audio samples.  There’s no better evidence than the great work produced in class that day!

I’m not usually the type to wear a “slogan” T-shirt, but when I arrived in Orlando, I found a Disney store that allowed you to create your own design, and so I created the one shown in the picture here, and proudly wore it for my class: “E-Learning Without Human Voiceovers?  That’s Like a Grin Without a Cat!” 

My thanks to Heidi Fisk of the eLearning Guild for inviting me to teach again this year.  It was a fantastic experience, and I’d love to do it again.  In the meantime, I do coach on eLearning voiceover skills one-on-one, or for a team; you can find more info on my Coaching tab.

My Presentation Skills Classes at Learning Solutions Were a Hit

I’ve just returned from attending the Adobe Learning Summit 2011, and from being both presenter and attendee at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions 2011 conference.  I had a fantastic time.  Both conferences had excellent keynote speakers:  Steven Berlin Johnson on the collaborative nature of innovation, John Medina on applying “brain rules” to learning, Nancy Duarte on visual impact, and Michael Wesch with a moving final talk on the implicit social responsibility behind social media.  There were also some very good peer-led sessions as well at both conferences.  Plus, it’s always exciting to see the new eLearning products from the vendors at the Expo.   Articulate’s upcoming “Storylines” and Michael Allen’s long-awaited “Zebra” are both coming to market this year, and you should keep an eye on both of those software applications; they have enormous potential. 

At the Adobe Summitt, I was delighted to meet Shameer, Akshay, RJ, Allen, and a lot more of the brilliant folks behind Adobe’s wonderful Captivate software.  They were great to talk to, and extremely responsive to everyone’s suggestions for future enhancements.  I’m sending them a list! 

It was fantastic to have the two conferences co-located in the same week; I hope that becomes an annual plan.  The perfect Orlando weather didn’t hurt, either. 

In addition to my full-day pre-conference certificate program on voiceovers (see my next post for a write-up!) as part of the Learning Solutions conference, I also led a one-hour Presentation Skills 101 class each of the three days of that conference, helping e-Learning professionals overcome the classic roadblocks to delivering an engaging and inspiring presentation, regardless of the topic or medium.  The attendees participated actively, contributing great examples from their own experiences, and gave me great reviews afterward.  I like to think that there are a lot more e-Learning professionals out there now who can get up in front of any audience with confidence and really make a difference.  I was very pleased that Nancy Duarte’s conceptual talk about the importance of “resonating” with an audience was a perfect companion talk to my own sessions, which provided hands-on ways to do it!

I also met a lot of great people from all over the place, and hope a lot of us can stay in touch here, on LinkedIn, and on Facebook, now that the conferences are over.  My only regret: I couldn’t fit the gorgeous Orlando weather into my suitcase to bring home with me!  😀

NOTE: If you attended one of my Presentation Skills 101 sessions, I’d love to hear from you about how you’re implementing the tips & tricks I shared.  I’m always happy to bounce around new ideas, or offer suggestions, if I can be of further help.  If you didn’t attend, but this sounds like coaching you need, please see my Coaching tab.

My thanks again to Heidi Fisk of the eLearning Guild for inviting me to present these sessions, and to Juli Balding, Ina Brasher, and the rest of the gang at the eLearning Guild for the fantastic support throughout.  Well done, all!

Learning Solutions 2011 Is Next Week!

The eLearning Guild’s  Learning Solutions 2011 is almost here.  Next Tuesday, I’ll be presenting my full-day certificate program on voiceovers for eLearning.  And on Wed-Fri mornings, as part of the Morning Buzz agenda, I’ll be presenting my 1-hour discussion and coaching session on Presentation Skills.

If you want to sign up for my voiceovers hands-on workshop, you should contact the eLearning Guild immediately to see if any spaces remain.  My Presentation Skills sessions will be open to all.  Click the logo on this post to visit the Learning Solutions 2011 web site.

If you’re registered for my voiceovers workshop and have any questions that need answering before the event, now is the time  to post here on my site and I’ll reply as promptly as possible.  The e-mail I sent via Juli Balding, and my other posts on this site, should answer most questions.

I’m also attending the Adobe Learning Summit on Monday, so it’s going to be a busy, learning-filled week!  I hope to see you there.  😀