3 Ways to Help SMEs Succeed in the Training Room

March 7, 2016 in Dale Ludwig, Facilitation, Posts for Buyers, Talent Development, Training

Originally published by Training Industry’s blog Feb. 29, 2016

Subject matter experts should be a welcome sight in the training room. Their real-world knowledge and perspective brings depth and practicality to the learning process. The challenge, though, is that SMEs can’t do it alone. They need the support and guidance of learning leaders to succeed as trainers.

Here are three ideas to keep in mind.

  • TrainingIndustrySMEsHelp SMEs understand that when they’re in the training room, they wear two hats, “SME” and “trainer.”
  • Encourage SMEs to draw their enthusiasm from their learners and the learning process.
  • When learning designs include exercises or activities, be sure to set the SME up for successful execution.

Read the full article here.

by Dale Ludwig, President & Founder of Turpin Communication and co-author of the book, “The Orderly Conversation”

Turpin Leadership to Host/Moderate Chicagoland’s Annual January ATD Chapter Event

January 6, 2015 in News, Talent Development, Training, Uncategorized

January 15th is going to be a big day for Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger, Turpin Communication’s leadership duo. They will be intimately involved with the annual January meeting of the Association for Talent Development, Chicagoland Chapter (ATDChi).

atdchi_header

greg_owen_boger_300Greg, who also serves as its President, will host the event. Dale will moderate a panel discussion with the topic of “Earning L&D’s Seat at the Decision-Making Table.”

dale_ludwig_300“As consultants, we’re often called in to assess the effectiveness of our clients’ trainers and programs. We see a lot of effective and not-so effective behaviors, both inside and outside the training room. So, I have a good idea for the whys and why-nots of earning a seat at the table,” said Dale. “It will be interesting to hear what others have to say.”

The panel is made up of four impressive individuals that serve the Learning & Development field in a variety of ways. They are:


Barry Altland

Author and Thought Leader at Head, Heart and Hands Engagement Collective, Past President of ATD, Central Florida Chapter

Specialty: Learning and Organizational Development, Volunteer Engagement and Leadership

www.linkedin.com/in/barryealtland



Terri Pearce, SPHR

Board Member ATD National and Executive Vice President, Human Resources, (with a seat at the table) at HSBC North America

Specialty: Learning, Talent, Resourcing and Organizational Development, and Succession Planning

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/terri-pearce-sphr/16/162/8a2



Pamela Meyer, Ph.D.

Director, Center to Advance Education for Adults at DePaul University School for New Learning, Speaker, Consultant and Author of “From Workplace to Playspace: Innovating, Learning and Changing Through Dynamic Engagement.”

Specialty: Organizational Agility and Innovation
www.linkedin.com/in/pamelameyerphd



Deb Pastors, MS, MOB

President of Education Development Growth Enterprises and Past President of CCASTD

Specialty: Leadership and Organizational Development

www.linkedin.com/pub/deb-pastors/15/b0a/b72


The event, which will be at Fountain Blue in Des Plaines, promises to be full of interesting conversations and excellent networking opportunities.

To register for the event, visit: www.atdchi.org

Coaching SMEs to be Expert Facilitators of Learning

May 13, 2014 in Author, Greg Owen-Boger, Posts for Buyers, Talent Development, Training

UPDATE: Back By Popular Demand

Greg’s been asked back to deliver this same session two more times at the 2015 Association for Talent Development International Conference & Exposition (ATD ICE).


ASTD ICE 5-13-14I had the pleasure of speaking at the ASTD (renamed ATD mid-conference) International Conference & Exposition in Washington, DC last week. The audience for my session included instructional designers and leaders within the training & development function. The topic was about ways to coach SMEs to be more effective in the training room.

The session, as you can see from the picture, was packed. Over 200 people attended, and more would have joined had the room moderator not closed the door and turned people away. I was reminded (again) how hungry the training industry is for help working with their Subject Matter Experts.

Why Bother with SMEs?
There’s good reason to involve SMEs in the training process. They bring credibility, depth, and enterprise-wide perspective. They can also cause frustration for everyone involved, including the learner. And when learners are frustrated, learning doesn’t happen as fully or as efficiently as it should.[Tweet “when #learners are frustrated, #learning doesn’t happen as fully or as efficiently as it should.”]

The Challenge We See
In our experience, working with SMEs to improve their effectiveness in the training room, my colleagues and I have discovered a few things:

  • Materials, slides, and facilitator guides are rarely created with the SME’s delivery style and experience level in mind.
  • SMEs want to do a good job as trainers, but they don’t fully understand what the job is and what’s expected of them.
  • They usually focus too much on the information rather than the application of the information to their learners’ jobs.
  • They don’t understand how to frame the information to provide proper context to the learners.
  • They often aren’t given proper training.

In short, organizations aren’t setting the SMEs up for success. They’re not getting the resources they need to be effective presenters and facilitators of learning. This, in turn, leads to dull learning events and the loss of learners’ good will.

The Solution
Let’s not beat up on SMEs too much. They mean well, but they need help.

On the instructional design side, they need materials designed to support them and their unique needs. Design elements that work for professional trainers don’t necessarily work for others outside the industry.

In the training room, once the session starts, they need to understand that they wear two hats.

  1. The Expert Hat is the obvious hat that they wear. This is the one they wear when they are talking about data, details, and their area of expertise.
  2. The Trainer Hat is less obvious, but a much more important hat. This is the hat they need to put on to provide context, connect dots, and to facilitate learning and the application of the information to the learners’ jobs.

Once they understand their dual purpose in the training room, SMEs are much better able to facilitate learning.

Contact us at info@turpincommunication.com to learn how we can help your SMEs be more effective in the training room.

Postscript #1: SMEs From the Ground Up
I was glad my session at ATD ICE was on Tuesday because that gave me an opportunity to sit in on Chuck Hodell’s session on Monday. He wrote the recent book SMEs From the Ground Up. If you work with SMEs, I highly recommend it. He has some fresh thinking that’s well worth taking a look at. During his session, Chuck talked about ways to manage SME relationships, set expectations, and celebrate their accomplishments.

Perhaps his most impressive thinking, though, is around redefining who the SMEs are on any given project. He writes, “… SMEs are both content-related and process-related. The programmer, the writer, the teacher/trainer and the manager are all SMEs in ways that matter in our work. Identifying and working with all of these specific types of SMEs provides endless possibilities for improved products and processes.”

Postscript #2: Is that Flat Stanley in the Picture Above?
Yes! Not only did I get to speak with 200 learning & development professionals, I got to do it with my Great Nephew Jayce’s Flat Stanley! It’s a cool project. If you’re not familiar with Flat Stanley, click this link: https://www.flatstanley.com/about

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP at Turpin Communication and co-author of the upcoming book, “The Orderly Conversation”

Why We Do What We Do (Part 4 of 4)

May 6, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Facilitation, Posts for Buyers, Presentation, Training

A Discussion of Turpin Communication’s Core Principles:
The Presenter’s Role as Facilitator

Part 1Part 2, Part 3

Dale Ludwig, President & Founder of Turpin CommunicationThis is the fourth and final post focusing on Turpin’s core principles. In the first three I defined the Orderly Conversation, Default Approaches and what it means to be engaged in a genuine conversation. In this post I’ll talk about how delivering a presentation, regardless of its purpose or setting, requires the skills of a facilitator.

When we think of facilitation, most of us think of the discussions that take place in the training room, during problem-solving meetings, or brainstorming sessions. Facilitators in these situations are skilled at moving a group of people toward a specific goal. They help people understand new information, find solutions, and share insights. Their job is to (1) encourage the process to ensure a genuine conversation takes place and (2) control the conversation to keep it appropriately focused on the goal.

This isn’t easy, of course, because the first goal always competes with the second. When the conversation really gets going, the facilitator has to be astute enough to rein it in without stifling it altogether.

Facilitating Your Presentations

The same thing needs to happen during your presentations—even if you’re the person doing most of the talking. Your audience wants to feel they have the opportunity to participate, even if they choose not to take it. They also want to feel that you’re capable of managing the twists and turns of the conversation, even when they are the people pulling you off track.

Many presenters—especially those who are under the stress of nervousness, are new to their role, or feeling intimidated by the audience—are too controlling. Their focus on the orderly part of the process makes them appear uncomfortable, impatient, defensive, or domineering. They don’t trust the audience or the process enough to let the conversation breathe. Audiences sense this, of course, and pull away. Sometimes they simply shut down and wait for the presentation to be over. Sometimes their frustration leads to more open resistance.

The most successful presenters are those who understand that they can’t get the job done without the audience. They trust the group and the process to make a necessary, though not always easily managed, contribution. They know that without it, a genuine conversation never takes place.

So that wraps up my discussion of Turpin’s core principles. The common theme? By redefining business presentations as Orderly Conversations, the real-life challenges you face and the strategies you need to manage them come into sharper focus.

Part 1Part 2Part 3

by Dale Ludwig, President & Founder of Turpin Communication and co-author of the upcoming book, “The Orderly Conversation”