Early in my many consulting and teaching experiences in both corporate America and in the university system, I had begun to understand that the "development" part of "Training & Development" is often lacking. My consulting/teaching style embraces this concept of development, all while building stronger retention of materials being taught and driving significant returns on investment of programs being emphasized.
I had a young lady come up to me at an HRMA luncheon and profusely thank me for helping her pass the SPHR certification test. I was really glad to have had a small part to play in her success.
At the start of a program, I sometimes ask my students what led them to enroll in the program. Often, they say something that really makes me feel happy and useful: they say that they originally enrolled "in order to get the certificate," but that they continue to enroll in the program because they feel the material "helps them become better people!" Since I always feel I learn lots from my students, this really feels like a "win-win!"
It was music to my ears when a participant said, "You are knowledgeable, non-judgmental, and know how to engage the entire group. Your style is so conducive to learning. We really appreciate that you did not overload the course with too much information - you covered the material extremely well without rushing. And I will be able to incorporate what I learned immediately!" Establishing an environment that engages and encourages participants, having content expertise, and providing information which has real-life application is exactly what I aim for.
One of my biggest "Wow" moments was watching a client I coached present to a group of four hundred colleagues. He had previously suffered from significant stage fright. Following our work together, he was poised, confident, and entertaining. His presentation was not only informative, it was personal and touching. One of his employees told me that she couldn't believe the improvement.
I love it when students take the time to acknowledge what the programs we provide help them do and especially in the case of the certification exam. One of our participants said to me, "I passed the SPHR and I definitely attribute it to your classes because I did not have any time to study in between taking the class and exam."
I like developing creative activities that help the learning process for attendees. One of my favorite exercises is Jeopardy – questions around the subject matter. It is fun to see how excited attendees get about showing their knowledge of the subject matter.
I was conducting a weekend team building session in Ireland at an offsite location and the group was having real issues working together and with the manager. There was real reluctance to open up and talk about the "real issues" with each other, but I was able to work them through the problems using a Start-Stop-Continue feedback process. Once one person opened up the rest of the group followed suit and the results were amazing. That weekend I used the Arthur Ashe quote, "Success is a journey, not a destination" on several occasions, and when I left for the U.S., the team presented me a piece of Connemara marble with the quote inscribed on it. I treasure it to this day!
I knew I'd be remembered by my biggest client when I was addressing a large workshop audience in a ballroom from the floor. Being of short stature, yet loud vocally, the Director wanted me to be seen, not just heard. Without warning, he deftly grabbed me around the waist like a sack of potatoes, and hoisted me onto a chair. A little surprised yet unflinching, I continued to talk through the entire transition. The laughing audience loved it and expected every subsequent event to include a chair-top facilitation.
Going through the Quality Exercise with students -- during this part of the fundraising training, people really understand how special they are and that they've already arrived and have intrinsic positive qualities – is an inspiration! The revelation for people is that they have everything they need to be excellent fundraisers, which is an extraordinary quality for the participants to understand about themselves.
I am currently teaching scientists and engineers in a monthly 4 hour workshop on How to Write Your Own Patent Application. I was very impressed when a student after attending this class shows me a patent application that he/she has written that meets all of the legal requirements for an allowable patent application on the first draft. I get to see students use this class to do some very impressive work for very significant inventions.