Category: Technology Training

From Fear to Fantastic… Insights and Experience to Manage the Impression You Make on Camera!

When the reward for your hard work turns into a terrifying “opportunity” to be video recorded, you could get derailed worrying about the impression you’re going to make and your credibility.

With the boom in YouTube’s popularity and marketing importance, and the continued growth in consumers preferring to keep up by watching over reading, your skill on camera is more critical than ever. Research has proven that learner retention from video is significantly higher than from text. Here are some stats on video that you should know:

  • Learner retention1: 65% video vs. 10%-20% text
  • People are 75% more likely to watch2 a video than read an email
  • Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster3 in the brain than text.

If you are asked to speak to a reporter, tv news crew, or anyone with a video camera, you can make or break the impact of your message without even knowing it. Your appearance, behavior, and subconscious actions can conflict or undermine your spoken word. Whether you’re representing your industry, company, department, or your own experience, we’re sure you want the message to be accurate and meaningful.

Barbara T. Radler, Presenter – BTK Communications Group

At Merit Career Development, we recognized the need to offer these insights to our clients and teamed up BTK Communications, a recognized leader in video production to create this workshop for you. Barbara T. Radler, the founder and CEO of BTK Communications, has been helping professionals be their best on camera for almost 3 decades. She and her team worked with us to create this experiential program that will be held in a studio-like setting with a professional director, camera crew and teleprompter operator. Participation in this program will change your professional trajectory forever!

During the workshop, participants will learn, in detail, insider tricks and tips from preparing to be on-camera, day-of on-camera production, and post-production impact. Specifically, you will learn through experience:

  1. The impact of sleep and alcohol on being your best on camera
  2. How to impact the impression you make with your clothing and color choices, hair style, make-up, and more
  3. Engaging the viewer with body language, eye focus, and specific mannerisms
  4. How to vary your voice’s tone, pace, and volume to control the points of emphasis
  5. How your posture and gestures impact the spoken message (what to do and what NOT to do)
  6. When and how to use Silence
  7. Production and post-production tips

Where else are you going to learn these important insights and have the opportunity to apply them immediately with a camera crew and teleprompter operator? 

As you may have learned in your youth, you can never get a second chance to make a first impression, so you want to give this your best effort.  To bring this important training experience to your leaders and influencers, contact Jim Wynne at (610) 225-0193 or at jwynne@meritcd.com.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/Infographic_Why_visual_content_is_better_than_text_48199.aspx
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/02/03/video-marketing-the-future-of-content-marketing/#62c156e96b53
  3. Forrester Research https://www.panopto.com/blog/answer-transparency-isnt-town-halls-technology
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What is and Why Do You Want Adaptive e-Learning?

What if you could reduce your training costs by up to 40% while increasing employee engagement and retention by up to 60%? Would you be interested in learning more?

While you’re probably familiar with “e-learning”, you may not know as much about Adaptive eLearning. What’s so important about Adaptive eLearning? This is personalized instruction that adapts to and builds upon the employee’s existing knowledge. It by-passes redundant (and boring) review periods found in most e-learning courses that are designed for the masses.

The goal of any great training program is to engage the learner and to teach them things they don’t know by linking it to things they do know.

Adaptive eLearning is based on discoveries in the last 10 plus years of cognitive neuro-science. It recognizes that every person is unique, has had different experiences, and therefore different levels of knowledge on various topics. Instead of trying to teach everyone the same content, Adaptive eLearning takes advantage of this disparity in two distinct ways.

First: it tests a person’s level of knowledge, and more importantly, their confidence in that knowledge. By doing so, it recognizes each person’s knowledge and how comfortable they are with it.

Secondly: IF a person knows the knowledge and is confident in that knowledge: no further training in this area is required.

The second point highlights the question, why spend time training and boring people on stuff they know? They should be trained on stuff they don’t know! The graph below is illuminating. Many people are confident in their knowledge but may not be competent or proficient in that subject. The green lines indicate a person’s knowledge level, whereas the red lines indicate missing knowledge areas. The yellow lines indicate their confidence in that knowledge area. As you can see: many people may be confident in their knowledge, but may not actually be competent.

 

Adaptive eLearning recognizes this disparity and responds appropriately to each person by training the individual learner exactly what they need to know!

The Benefits of Adaptive eLearning:

For Your Business:

  • Improved employee productivity
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Measurable capability and capacity (Lower unconscious incompetence), see chart above.

 

For the Learner:

  • Faster time to proficiency
  • Eliminate frustration of unnecessary training
  • High self-awareness of strengths and development areas
  • Enhanced and personalized learning experience

 

For the Training and/or Human Resources Department:

  • Measurable outcomes
  • Real-time quality feedback
  • Real-time content updates
  • Improved teaching effectiveness
  • Elimination of the “one-size-fits-none”

 

Merit Career Development has partnered with the leader in adaptive eLearning, Area9, to deliver world-class training in the most efficient manner possible and provide our clients with more delivery options than ever. For more information, contact Merit Career Development today. We’ll help you achieve the best training program you’ve ever had, with a lower expense and higher learning retention rate. Contact Merit Career Development today to learn more.

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Why Simulation-Based Instruction is the Best Way to Learn!

sitrain_teams_playing_wide_sts

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) asks the Chief Executive Officer (CEO): “What if we spend time and money training our employees and they leave the company?”

The CEO responds: “What if we don’t and they stay?”

Taking time and resources to train your personnel is often looked at as a necessary evil. Training employees takes them away from their day-to-day tasks and the cost will be reflected on the bottom line. Adding to the challenge of supporting training, is the uncertainty of the return-on-investment at both an individual and organizational productivity level.

As an executive who is considering training your team, the most important question you should ask is not: Should I train my team? but rather: What method of training should I use? Different training methods result in varying levels of content retention. Of course you want to ensure that your organization achieves the greatest value from training, so relevant content as well as deploying the use of experiential learning techniques should both be priorities.

learning-_pyramid

As the image to the left illustrates, participatory learning, especially using simulation for practice, provides the highest level of retention for training, second only to “teaching others.”

What is simulation-based learning? It is an instructor-guided, interactive learning environment that replicates an actual business, technical, or educational challenge. It permits the learners to practice resolving issues in a relatively worry-free atmosphere. Not only is it authentic and relevant to the learners’ work, but it provides a safe environment to learn; mistakes won’t result in costly repercussions. It’s ideal to spur on innovation, too, because it allows for creative problem solving.

Simulation-based learning is the most effective technique for developing every professionals’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, whilst protecting the organization from unnecessary risks. It is useful in resolving practical dilemmas, and provides four real-time benefits.

  1. EXPERIENTIAL & REPETITIVE LEARNING. While in traditional lecture-based training, the desired outcome is merely explained; in simulation learning, individuals achieve an outcome from first-hand experience. Adults, like most people, learn better through experience. In the simulation, individuals have the opportunity for repetitive practice, which helps increases retention.
  2. KNOWLEDGE INTEGRATION. A key facet of any learning is that understanding is increased when it is linked to some already known piece of knowledge. Simulation-based learning, because of its participatory nature, has the added benefit of being able to psychologically link concepts and allow participants to link knowledge areas through their actions.
  3. RISK-FREE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. Regardless of our attitude, learning research validates that we learn by making mistakes. In fact, they are invaluable to the participant. If executive decision makers can participate in relevant and realistic simulations, they can safely make mistakes, learn from them, and promptly apply their learned knowledge to their real work challenges, avoiding costly mistakes or unintended consequences.
  4. ABILITY TO ADJUST THE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY. The technology provided in most simulation-based learning tools are designed to allow the difficulty level to increase as the competency of the individuals and teams improve. This provides additional flexibility and continual learning opportunities for a varied level of experienced personnel.

Simulation-based learning is the most effective learning technique for both your employees and your organization. Your training dollars are better invested with simulation training because of higher learning retention. Further, because your team will practice with relevant and practical scenarios, the potential for catastrophic mistakes is mitigated.

If you’re looking for a relevant, engaging interactive learning environment with simulation, call Merit and ask about our SimulTrain® project management training experience. Contact Jim Wynne at  jwynne@meritcd.com or call him at 610-225-0449.

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Why Success is More Likely with Active Listening

Listening includes a lot more than just hearing words. Frequently, we need to interpret or infer a deeper or underlying message beyond the spoken word. We deploy many of our senses to detect non-verbal cues and assimilate our life experiences with the verbal message when we actively listen.

Usually, the objective of a conversation is to expand the listener’s knowledge, perspective or sensitivity to a topic that impacts behavior or beliefs. In the workplace, managing projects can implode due to poor communications. These can result in missing a critical deadline, budget overages, decreased sales, and in some cases, costly lawsuits.

The most effective communication takes place when both parties are actively listening. So what is “active listening” and how do we do this?

Your active listening is apparent to the other party through your audible or visible signals. This can include something as subtle as raising our eyebrows, leaning towards the speaker, or using certain gestures (like a thumbs up, high five, etc.) Tilting our heads when we listen, on the same angle as the speaker, generally reflects a subconscious agreement  Uttering sounds like “uh huh” or “hmm” also tell the speaker that you’re paying attention. In America, making eye contact is considered a must in showing that you are listening, although this does vary in some cultures.

Of course asking good questions is one of the best ways to demonstrate that you are listening.
If you don’t have any questions (perhaps, because the message is crystal clear to you) then paraphrase the speaker’s message. You can preface your restated summary by saying something like: “Ok, now, if I understand what you’re telling me, you’d like to … (paraphrased summary of speaker’s objective).”

It is important to be authentic, too! In your effort to make it evident that you genuinely hear the speaker’s message, do not diminish your own persona or credibility. Be sure to phrase your introduction to your rephrased statement in a style that is consistent with the way you speak.

Why not find out if you’re as good a listener as you think you are? If you haven’t taken this insightful (and free) listening assessment yet, you can right now – or later when you have about 45 minutes and no distractions. When you’re ready, take the Active Listening Assessment here. Upon completion, you will receive an explanatory report along with tips and techniques that you can use to become a better active listener and communicator.

If you or your staff would benefit from mastering effective communications, improving active listening and learning “meaning-centered communication”, we can help. Please contact Jim Wynne at jwynne@meritcd.com or call him at 610-225-0449.

NOTE: PMPs: This assessment qualifies for one PDU and you will receive a certificate.

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What your peers are planning

The results are in!

On behalf of all of us at Merit Career Development, we’d like to thank everyone who participated in our 2nd annual 3-Question Training Planning Survey last month. As promised, we are reporting on the results – which have, interestingly, shifted even from a year ago.


Snip_1_Table_1Hot Topics

Although project management professionals represented more than 60% of our invitation mailing, the topics in greatest demand for 2016 are Leadership, Team-Building, Communications, and Critical Thinking and Decision-Making. These ranged from 38% to 29%, while the overall category of Project Management (PM) dropped to 13% this year (from 45% last year.) In the PM arena, both years, “Identifying and Managing Project Risks” were in the top third ranking at 29%. See the Q1 chart above for details:

 

Delivery Methods

Snip_1_Table_2The preferred delivery methods have changed, as well. For the past few years, there was a growing interest in
web-based learning and self-paced, DIY courses. This year, on-site, full day courses have re-gained their
popularity, with 54.4% of respondents choosing this as their preferred delivery method. In 2014 on-site, full day courses were only requested by 34.2% of respondents. For more details, see the Q2 chart:

 

Snip_1_Table_3Choosing Course and Provider

The basis for choosing a course and provider were measured differently last year, but in both instances, the primary driver is the course topic and/or area that most needs development, followed by convenience of timing, and location. The program cost was lower in priority. See Q3 chart on the left for details.

 

 

 

If you are seeking to reduce your organization’s gaps in skills, improve cooperation and productivity through better communications and decision-making knowledge, or provide some morale-improving, team-building workshops, let’s talk. With a wide variety of courses, delivery techniques and a highly skilled training team, we will help you achieve your training goals for 2016 and beyond.

Contact Jim Wynne at 610-225-0449 or at jwynne@meritcd.com.

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Crossfit Training; Your Body and Your Mind

The start of a new year brings with it many changes, professionally as well as personally. Many of us choose to start the New Year by making goals and resolutions, whether resolving to stick to a budget, or picking up a new hobby. Mine? I’m in the majority of the population: lose weight. To help me achieve my resolution I’ve started an exercise program called CrossFit training.

What is CrossFit training? The CrossFit training program, as explained by its founder Greg Glassman, is a system of performing functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that optimizes physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains: Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.

Glowing_ManThe CrossFit program was developed to enhance an individual’s competency at all physical tasks. Athletes are trained to perform at multiple, diverse, and randomized physical challenges. This type of fitness is demanded of military and police personnel, firefighters, and many sports requiring overall physical prowess.

CrossFit training benefits the body by training your individual muscles over time to work together to provide an overall greater level of personal fitness than can be achieved by only conditioning one set of muscles at a time. This got me thinking: are there other areas in my life where I can use this approach? How can I “crossfit” my skills to become better at my job? How can I crossfit new learning opportunities to become a more valuable employee?

How can CrossFit training the body carry over to crossfit training your mind? If we consider our skills, hobbies, and responsibilities in our careers as muscles, we can make the analogy that those skills are muscles needing exercise. Some muscles are used more than others; some are barely used at all. All too often in our jobs, there is a set way of doing things that is like performing a repetitive workout. However, the brain is a muscle that like all muscles must be exercised to be kept in peak condition.

Modern cognitive psychology has demonstrated that the brain is not a static entity. Rather, the brain is continually and constantly developing and pruning pathways across skillsets, linking new knowledge to existing knowledge, or destroying old pathways which aren’t utilized to make room for new synaptic links. You can take advantage of this process by crossfit training your brain with a new skill or area of knowledge, which is seemingly unrelated to your existing career or job responsibilities.

people teaching each otherHow can crossfit training your mind benefit you in your workplace? Cross-functional training has many benefits for organizations as well as employees. At an organizational level, cross training skillsets help safeguard the organization against widening skills gaps. Organizations that cross-train employees across a range of functions put themselves in a good position to prevent sudden shortfalls and manage surges in specific areas when there is a spike in demand. On an individual level, cross training enables employees to explore and assess alternative interests and abilities. It also enables managers to identify and nurture employees who show exceptional talent in a particular function. Cross-training yourself to learn new skills, can increase your employability and enable you to stay relevant.

A few examples …learning the components of Strategic Leadership as a Project Manager (PM) can help reduce the probability of failure by sharpening leadership skills that enable the PM to better understand, motivate and build consensus with other members of a project team.  Or, learning to identify the role emotions and subconscious biases play in the decision making process can enable an individual to make more effective decisions. Learning Risk Management skills can enable a Human Resources manager to better anticipate potential problems and know how to create effective solutions before a problem arises.

In 2016, give consideration to learning things outside the scope of your role or responsibilities. Even if learning new skills may not seem directly related to your current work position, you will be increasing your value. Soon, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without these new skills.

If you are seeking to reduce your organization’s gaps in skills, improve cooperation and productivity through better communications and decision-making knowledge, or provide some morale-improving, team-building workshops, let’s talk. With a wide variety of courses, delivery techniques and a highly skilled training team, we will help you achieve your training goals for 2016 and beyond.

Contact Jim Wynne at 610-225-0449 or at jwynne@meritcd.com.

 

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