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2014 New Year’s resolutions for trainers, teachers, and speakers

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The New Year begins tomorrow. So do the annual resolutions people make.

All presenters—including trainers, teachers, and speakers—can deliver amazing learning experiences in 2014. This article lists ten resolutions for effective learning.

Resolution 10. I will see the learner – I look at everything I say and do in the classroom through the eyes of my learners. I will ensure the classroom environment is a welcoming invitation to learn. I will offer new information only when the learners become curious about that information, are ready to receive that information, and/or when that information is absolutely essential and must be shared.

Resolution 9. I will make learning fun AND relevant – I will create a learning environment of playful exploration with content delivered wherever possible in the form of games and activities. I will also demonstrate a laser-like focus on content, never ignoring the purpose of the learning simply to have a good time. Fun and relevance will be combined to deliver relevant applications.

Resolution 8. I will stop talking – I will talk less and ask questions more. When I ask for a class opinion, I will wait until I hear a response before I resume talking. I will never talk when the learners could do the talking. In all cases possible, I will ask questions instead of lecturing answers.

Resolution 7. I will not be a distraction – I will allow the real me to shine through so that the learners see authenticity. I will squash all my annoying personal and personality habits that obstruct learning. I will not let my boredom show. I will avoid long conversations about my children, spouse, social life, pets and other irrelevancies. I will also never begin packing up while the learners are still in the room.

Resolution 6. I will not be the star – I will deflect the spotlight from myself to my learners so effectively that they will believe themselves fully capable of performing the learned skill when they leave my presence. I will never reach to get applause. I will never, ever repeat at a louder volume, “I said good morning!” when the participants do not respond the first time. I will instead transition from presenter to coach and cheerleader as learner skill progresses and they master the learning tasks.

Resolution 5. I will master my technology – I will know the technology I use so well that I can solve my own problems when they occur. I will also know my PowerPoint® slides so well that I do not have to look at them. I will never read my PowerPoint® slides verbatim. I will instead use PowerPoint® as an enhancement of my presentation. I will take every unnecessary word off of my slides and insert appropriate visuals wherever possible. The visuals I choose will enhance the content and not distract from it.

Resolution 4. I will know my learners – I will learn the cultural references that relate to my learners. I will align my examples and asides to my learners’ experiences. If they watch American Idol, I will know who won. If I play popular songs in the classroom, I will include songs the learners would choose. If they are comfortable with PDAs, I will find ways to incorporate text messaging and Googleing into the instruction. I will be relevant.

Resolution 3. I will be ethical – I will never use copyrighted material without the owner’s express permission. I will never undercut my fellow trainers/teachers/presenters. I will avoid gossip. My learners will see me as being one with the content I am presenting. If I do not agree with a policy or procedure I must teach, my learners will never know my personal feelings on the matter.

Resolution 2. I will support leadership – I will treat leadership as respected colleagues, supporting them in their organizational goals. To do this, I will realize that leadership is too busy to reach out to me. I will instead reach out to leadership and offer sensible, doable solutions that address organizational concerns. I will never denigrate leadership to my learners or peers.

Resolution 1. I will quit when I no longer enjoy learning – I train, teach, and speak because I am driven to discover and share knowledge. I will only be a trainer, teacher, or speaker as long as I enjoy the platform, believe in what I am sharing, enjoy the process of learning, and care about my learners. When I no longer have that passion, I will quit rather than negatively impact my learners.

If you think these ten resolutions may be difficult to deliver, you’re right. This examiner struggles with them too. In the end, we trainers, teachers, and speakers are not the focus. Our learners are. We owe them our best efforts. So, let us resolve to be focused, resolute, and relevant.

Happy New Year! Break a leg (that’s show biz for good luck)!

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