Oh. This is awkward. You’re thinking of enrolling in my workshop and you want to know who I am—but I don’t have a marketing staff, so I have to write my own website text, and so in writing this page I have to sort of brag, and that’s not socially acceptable, but being humble would be dishonest, because truly, I am, well, not everything I might wish to be, but certainly a really good presenter. Of course, me just saying so won’t likely convince you, so let me provide some details. With humility and embarrassment, here goes:
My Mission Over the last two decades
I am an expert in taking scientific findings and translating them into practical recommendations to help learning professionals create maximally effective learning interventions. I’ve been doing this since 1998 for all types of organizations in the workplace learning field. I’m a huge advocate for using research to inform practice. I don’t see research as the only source of wisdom, but combined with professionalism (where we engage our craft in cycles of practice, feedback, and continuous improvement), research and experimentation plays a critical role.
What I’ve tried to do in my work is to look for the learning field’s biggest opportunities—where our practices are most in need of improvement—and develop workable innovations to help trainers, learning architects, elearning developers, and learning executives build effective learning interventions. Who can argue that typical presentations aren’t in need of some improvement!?!!
My Experience in helping people learn
Over my life, I’ve played many roles in helping people learn. Sometimes I’ve been better at this than at other times. I’ve taught cognitively-challenged adults. I counseled and supported emotionally-disturbed adolescents. I tutored high-school students in geometry (when I was a high school student). I’ve been a manager and thus taught and coached my direct reports. I was a leadership trainer—teaching courses on managing change, influence, conflict resolution, and business strategy. I’ve taught my teenage daughter a thing or two (I’d like to think). I taught university courses to undergraduates and to graduate students. I’ve taught workshops on learning, elearning, learning evaluation, writing scenario-based questions, and learning myths and misunderstandings. I’ve facilitated active-learning workshops and immersive learning audits. I’ve taught in classrooms and online and have been recorded on video for segments in learning programs. I even taught power yoga for a couple of years as the least flexible yoga teacher in Maine (as I liked to say to my students, who could have told me this anyway). I’ve also written a ton of articles, blog posts, and research-to-practice reports. I also published a book, and have started a half-dozen other ones, which should leave you with some intrigue (why has this guy not finished these books?).
My Experience As a presenter
I started out as an absolutely terrible presenter! Seriously! I was the worst! I spoke in a monotone. I used nothing but bullet points. I over-complicated things. I didn’t understand, nor even much care about, where my audience was coming from. Egads! I was awful.
But life forced me—as it does many of us—to have to make presentations. Over a long period of time, I got better. I’m still getting better.
Now, I get invited to speak. Most of the time, I get paid to speak. I don’t get Barack Obama money. I’m not a rousing motivational speaker. But I’m damn good and I can speak in many settings, not just as a keynote speaker, but also in boardrooms, around the table in team meetings, online, in webinars, in bare-bones training rooms and in high-tech fancy ones as well.
I’ve keynoted major conferences but I also speak in small rooms at conferences. I’ve taught folks at the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) about learner surveys. I’ve also made presentations on the same topic at a Bill and Melinda Gates conference for vaccine educators, at Microsoft, Bloomberg, Oxfam, and many other organizations. I’ve taught Navy Seals instructors (experienced Navy Seals themselves) how to make good presentations. I’ve guided the National Park Service through a learning-audit workshop, helping them to better support their learners. I’ve spoken internationally in London, Berlin, Barcelona, Vancouver, and in Boston near where I live.
I now have come to love presenting. It’s hard work. Sometimes I still get nervous. Sometimes the travel really stinks. But I absolutely love it when my audience is riveted to the ideas and concepts I’m presenting. It is in those moments that I feel I’m really making a difference—not only helping others see and do things they couldn’t see or do before, but also rousing in them an intense interest in motivating themselves to action.
I developed this workshop so you too can experience moments like those!
Or, at least, stop boring and confusing your audiences into that presentation death stare thing! You know what I’m talking about. Come join me in this workshop journey, or let me join you in your getting-better-at-making-presentations journey. Really! Being with me for a handful of hours is a reasonable price to pay for improving your presentations for life!
PhD in learning and cognition from Columbia University (specifically Teachers College).
MBA focusing on information systems and instructional design from Drexel University.
Author of the award winning book, Performance-Focused Smile Sheets: A Radical Rethinking of a Dangerous Art Form.
Developer of LTEM (The Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model), a replacement for the Kirkpatrick-Katzell Four-Level model of learning evaluation.
Founder of the Debunker Club, a worldwide group of learning professionals dedicated to getting rid of learning myths.
One of the organizers of the Serious eLearning Manifesto.