IS YOUR TRAINING IMPACT LIKE BLUE TACK OR SUPERGLUE TO THE BRAIN?

  • IS YOUR TRAINING IMPACT LIKE BLUE TACK OR SUPERGLUE TO THE BRAIN?
  • A fantastic workshop for injecting life into sometimes boring or mundane training topics
  • Absolutely most exciting & engaging training I have encountered.

The absolute, key focus of any training should be delivering content to all learning styles, in an engaging way, so it goes in and stays in, long term.

As a ‘trainer training trainers’ my delivery has to provide my participants with a personal experience of an attention-grabbing delivery style.  If you experience YOUR learning from the position of a student and find it has immediate impact and a successful outcome on your own learning, then you will naturally see the benefit and worth in revamping your training in a brain friendly style.

I strongly believe in ‘walking the talk’ when I deliver training so that you can experience the real impact of delivering content in a brain friendly way, based on the latest research in neuro-science. 

If I can’t grab your attention, hold it and pack your brains full of new ideas using Memory Superglue, then I am ineffective as a trainer.  How many boring training sessions have you attended in your professional life? How many less than effective trainers have failed in their mission to teach?  You cannot compare the short term grip of bluetack to the long term grip of superglue … this is the same with delivery techniques.  Train to make it STICK ! 

Do you?

TACTILE LEARNERS

Recently I was in Townsville running a Trainers Intensive and had three participants who became emotionally attached to their squashy toys.  It was so funny at the end of the day we nearly had to do some grief and separation counselling.

I trust that those who have worked with me in the past now appreciate that there is large group of people in our training room who are Tactile Learners. They need to fiddle to have their minds engaged.

Trainers have said to me in the past they don’t like having toys on the table at ‘serious’ meetings and with ‘serious’ content, in case the participants walk in, see the toys and groan or think “we are supposed to be here to learn, not play games.”

Might I suggest that you can address this in a couple of ways:

  • Explain to the group WHY the tactile materials are on the tables.  Ask: “Has anyone here ever been accused of being a fiddler, or got into trouble for peeling labels off jars or stubby bottles, or even unfolding paperclips? If so, then the squashy toys on the table are for you. Some of you are going to learn or think visually, that’s why the coloured pens are out and why there is plenty of blank paper to write on. Others will get tired sitting in one place so you folk will need to have a stretch if you need one. It will help your brains focus.”
  • Have some squashy toys on a side table and explain why they are there and suggest to those people who know they are fiddlers and stubby-label destroyers that they help themselves to the toys if they wish. It will help them focus on what they are learning; despite what teachers and parents might have said to them in the past – they literally NEED to fiddle to learn.
  • Have some multiple coloured pipe cleaners on a side table and invent an activity where they have to go up and collect some pipe-cleaners to represent, non-verbally, a particular situation as a pipe-cleaner sculpture. 
  • Look at your presentations – are YOU taking care of the ‘fiddlers’ in the room? Please don’t forget them because if you do, and they have a pen in hand, be prepared for some endless clicking until you engage their fingers elsewhere – you’ve been warned !

MANAGING YOUR NERVES

There is, of course, all the traditional advice of how to manage your own nerves like:

* Preparation and rehearsal. In your preparations, make sure you plan the processes you are going to use, as well as the content to be covered. This is essential.

* Make sure you have too much for the time allocated so you will not be worried about finishing an hour early, and have nothing for them to do. Plan some revision activities.

Other nerve suppressants (besides valium) could include:

* Being there early so you ‘claim’ the room before the participants arrive and have time to set it up to your specifications.

* Have a personal prop like “Linus’s Security Blanket” that marks the room out as yours for the session. Many of you have seen Laurie’s brightly colour mexican blanket in use – once that is out on his Presenter’s Table, he OWNS that space.

* Have everything set up to compliment your delivery, and create an atmosphere before they arrive – energetic?  relaxed? soothing?  whatever you want…

* Have some music going for their arrival.

* Mentally rehearse how you ideally want the day to go. Visualise it – once you have it firmly in your mind, the day will flow accordingly.

* Don’t forget you have something worthwhile to give the participants, and despite your self doubt, you very likely know far more than they do about the topic or what you have planned for the day or discussion, so don’t undermine yourself before ‘going in’.

* Do some Centering exercises to focus yourself.

* Breathe deeply and imagine you are grounded through the floor.

* Use the Pencil Technique: Do your Chart work in Pencil before they arrive. They will never see the pencil lines from where they are sitting and all you do in draw over them in coloured pens during your talk. It looks impressive, especially if you use symbols and key words.  It will definitely eliminate your fear of forgetting something.

GET YOUR GROUP ON !

When breaking your participants into Groups, use these ‘quick-sticks’ ideas:

1. Hair Colour – light & dark & inbetweeners

2. Birthdays – quarters of the year; or halves of the year; or if you have a large group, months

3. Numbering – have them number off, from 1 to 4 or 5 etc. depending on how many groups you want to work with.  Then all the ‘3”s pair up, and the ‘4’s etc.

4. Corners/Points of Reference – play some music and have your participants walk around the room (you will engage every learning style doing this).  When the music stops they go to the corner of the room that is closest. For groups larger than 4 incorporate points of reference – doorways, windows, presenters table etc. as well as room corners – be adaptable

5. Teams – let people choose their own partners via favourite football teams, sports they enjoy, high schools attended – some common point of reference

6.  Pets – Who has dogs?  Cats?  Both?  None?  Horses?  etc.  Even the team numbers up once divided into groups, if there are more dog lovers than cat owners 

7. Incorporate stickers, or playing cards or raffle tickets in their workbooks or on their name tags/lanyards, or on their chairs and use them to help you group throughout the day.  

THE SECRET:  CHANGE GROUPS REGULARLY – increase networking, ideas, energy, output, familiarity, confidence, and control of participants (breaking up cliques !)  

Four STRESS-BUSTING TOOLS

WELL-BEING TIP

1.  What’s Important?

Okay, we all lead busy lives and despite our character traits, our dominant brain hemisphere’s and our varying ability to handle pressure, we ALL suffer stress in some form or other at different times.  If you feel as though you are becoming overwhelmed from a work perspective – STOP!  No, we don’t expect you to down tools and walk out – just stop for a little while when you can, and take some time to prioritize your workload.  What is really important?  What needs doing first, second, third?  Get into a habit each afternoon before leaving your workplace to run through the jobs of the day and what needs to be done on the morrow.  These become your Urgent To Do’s for the next morning. When the big jobs that cause you stress with the worry over them are attended to, you will feel SO much better and able to tackle what is waiting. Oh, and you can learn to say ‘NO’ too, it does help sometimes and you are helping yourself by doing so – but pick your moments, the Boss may not appreciate it!

2.  Relax & Rejuvenate to Get Your Jollies!

The best way to beat stress is to have fun.  Laugh!  Get out and distract your mind – unwind, let go of the daily worries and be kind to yourself.  Dust off the golf clubs, spoil the family, rediscover those hobbies that used to give you so much pleasure, fill that bathtub with bubbles or simply light a candle and meditate.  Anything to give your mind a distraction – a break from the worry – because once your attention is caught by something that pleases you, you will find that there is no chance to brood and the problems are forgotten for a time as your body relaxes.  If you work too much, if you don’t allow yourself regular breaks (massages, forest walks, board games with the children) then the Stress will Bust YOU, rather than the other way around.  You will work far more efficiently and productively after some relaxing time-out, than you will living off adrenaline and worry.  Sit – sleep – catch a movie – eat chocolate – hug your partner and enjoy life.  You’ll enjoy work much more, if you do!  Make sure your diary has specific times put aside for YOU to PLAY!

3.  Communication & Sharing – Let it OUT! 

Communication is the key to getting things off your chest and relieving stress.  If there is a problem, seek out an answer via communicating, don’t just bury it away inside and churn endlessly over it. Talk to your partner or friends – don’t bore them to tears – but do share your concerns if you are stressed and unburden yourself.  They might not be able to help, but sharing the problem and hearing yourself talk about it, can sometimes provide a solution. 

And if you are not comfortable sharing it with others, then consider journaling as an option for clearing a cluttered mind of worries or concerns.  It really does help to write it down and get it out, whether or not you ultimately act on it or not, part of the de-stress is simply in the act of unburdening in some way – and writing is as good as any.

4.  Flora & Fauna – Mother Nature’s Pills

Despite our civilized exteriors, our love of gadgets and all portable devices preceded by a small ‘i’, our intricate brains and love of junk food and synthetic materials, we are still, at our core, animals – mammals to be precise.  We need to connect with nature on some level.  Admittedly some more than others (Paris Hilton v Bear Grylls) – but ultimately, whether it’s a morning meditation watching the sun rise (whilst fighting the breakfast pangs), a stroll through a quiet forest (don’t forget insect repellent for optimum enjoyment), time spent gardening (and avoiding green ant bites) or simply tossing a ball for the family dog (and being careful to avoid the drool), we need time out to connect with the world around us and bring a little perspective back. All work and no play makes Jack rather terribly stressed – forget simply ‘dull’.  Take the power back over your Stress! 

Get sorted, get organised, get talking, get relaxed, get happy, get laughing and get OUT into your life.  And then go back and tackle the workload from a much stronger position mentally and physically – and Bust That Stress!

BRAIN NUTRITION: Food for Thought

BRAIN NUTRITION – FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain!

Eat a healthy breakfast to feed your brain and jump start it into action first thing in the morning.  This will boost your productivity for the whole day and keep your focus keen. Below are some tips for eating for your brain .. and why … .

1. Eggs

Eggs contain Choline, a B vitamin that can help improve memory and brain & liver function.  They also contain Protein which can also help you concentrate as well as assist with stabilizing your blood sugar.  Traditional breakfast food for a reason!

2. Grains

Theseare an important part of our diet as they are converted by our body fromcarbohydrates into glucose, which is the brain’s favourite nutrient. They contain B Vitamins which help with concentration and general brain health overtime and should be consumed as whole as possible – every stage of refining(bleaching, removing the fibre etc.) renders the grain less effective.  The best way is to ferment the whole grain or ‘groat’ prior to cooking – bring your food ALIVE !

3. Fruit – particularly Grapes & Blueberries & all things Berry

How are your antioxidant levels?  Improved with a handful of rich berries of a morning (added to your grains? A smoothie anyone?)

Berries are brilliant for overall brain health and reducing stress and inflammation.

All berries are rich in tannins.  They protect brains cell and help improve memory, learning, thinking, thanks to being stuffed full of antioxidants and other phytochemicals.  Added to porridge or yoghurt they can be a yummy and brain enhancing start to your day.

Apples are particularly good for the brain, containing quercetin, an antioxidant plant chemical that protects brain cells from free radical attacks – but make sure you eat it skin on (washed first thoroughly, of course)!

5. Almonds

Ahandful of almonds are all you need to give yourself some much needed Vitamin E on a daily basis.  They are packed full of fibre, protein, Vitamin E and healthy fats and assist your brain with energy and staying focused. They also can prevent cognitive decline in brain function and assist with regulating your blood sugar.  They are delicious whole as a snack, or ground/slivered into oatmeal, quinoa cereal (with a handful of sultanas) or in a bircher or general muesli.  Made into a fresh cup of almond milk, sweetened with raw honey, is a special treat, just for your brain. Remember though, to get the best from any nut or seed or grain it’s best to soak them first to activate the living enzymes and make it easier for the body to access nutrients.

6. Oats

Oats contain iron, zinc, potassium and B vitamins, nutrients that help brain development and help the brain to function at full capacity.The fiber contained in oats will also help keep hunger at bay until your next meal.  Soaking and fermenting is the way to get the best from your groats!

7.  Water

Water is what we are made up of on a 70% scale, according to scientists.  If you just pop yourself in your morning blender one day, and hit Turbo, you’d find that once all the ‘bits’ had been strained off, the remaining liquid would average out at 70% of your total body mass. So it is only wise to assume that then body’s cells need regular irrigation for cleansing and lubricating needs.  A tired brain will wake far more effectively on water, than on Tea or Coffee.  A good habit to get into is to enjoy a glass of pure water first thing every morning when you wake up.  It’s good for your health, your brain, your blood and your cleaning system.  Add a little fresh lemon juice to the mix and you’re having a shower on the inside and prepping your brain for the day ahead.  Remember, healthy bodies prefer filtered water !

SLUMBER DUMP

Something to help outside of business hours, when the working day is done …

A busy brain needs to switch off so it can dial down into sleep.

A busy brain will churn if it has data to process and prevent you from winding down.

A busy brain needs you to EMPTY it first, before you attempt any night-time rest … so, get into the habit of doing a SLUMBER DUMP.

Keep a journal/notebook handy – either by your bed, or somewhere close that you visit every night before retiring where you will see it, and it will prompt you to use it. I keep mine on my bedside table, with a handy pen.

Use it to store the information you need the next day, so that your brain can sigh with relief and STOP trying to deal with all your data and reminders and just, simply, relax.

Need to remember something first thing in the morning? Jot it down.

Need to pick up the dry-cleaning before work? Jot it down.

Had an amazing idea for an editorial? Jot it down.

Got an urgent ‘must do’ the next day? Jot it down, or your brain will keep waking you up so you don’t forget…and consequently you won’t sleep well either. Clear everything. Your brain is for thinking, not storage of To Do Lists. Give it a rest, empty it out, and then make your lists from this ‘Slumber-Dump’ in the morning. It’s a great way to get you into the practice of planning each day’s activities and tasks to be more effective with your time. And your stress levels and general well-being will thank you!

MEDITATION MASTERS

WELL BEING TIP

Hands Up who knows what Meditation is?
Jazzy Fingers for all those who practice it on a regular basis…
Now, all of those with your hands still up, or down ask yourself this, “am I giving my brain a break from the stress of life, for a few minutes every day?”
And no, having a ciggie break or a chat over your expresso doesn’t count. We’re talking about a total shut down, defcon 6 – operation status ‘silent….’

Why do we do it? Why are we all discovering how beneficial it is, and something we should mindfully apply every day. It gives us a chance to just stop, breathe, calm down, relax, settle the mind and body, and because of all these short-term benefits to our nervous system, as noted below:

  • lower blood pressure
  • improved blood circulation
  • lower heart rate
  • less perspiration
  • slower respiratory rate
  • less anxiety
  • lower blood cortisol levels
  • more feelings of well-being
  • less stress
  • deeper relaxation

What is meditation? It is “an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body.”

We’re not going to teach you how to do it here, but we are going to urge you to look into incorporating it into your daily life in some way, to help you cope with the stresses of modern day life and the affects of stress on the body.


There are many forms:  Empty Mind Meditation, Walking Meditation, Concentration Meditation, Candle Meditation, Bell Meditation, Guided Meditation, Cultivated Compassion Meditation (for the Buddhist Monks among us), Sitting Meditation, and Transcendental Meditation etc.  At Brain Friendly Training we use the Sitting Meditation during working hours.  We use Flotation Tank appointment breaks for deeper meditation after hours (we recommend ‘The Fountain of Youth’ in Alderley, Brisbane) at least once a month, occasionally attend Guided Bell or Healing Bowl Meditation workshops; and of an evening, Lying Meditation, prior to sleep … which usually involves snoring half way through, so can’t be 100% counted as successful.  We also enjoy a Bubble Meditation  –  Laurie with some in a glass of amber fluid in front of the telly, and Lindel more in a tub with a bath bomb…both after hours of course, once home and the working day is done.

We’re not going to teach you how to do it here, but we are going to urge you to look into incorporating it into your daily life in some way, to help you cope with the stresses of modern day life and the affects of stress on the body.

All silliness aside, the point is to RELAX.  Give yourself a break.  And once you try Meditation, in short bursts to begin with to build up your ability to calm your overactive mind, you will find it has enormous benefit on your daily coping skills.  And you will want to learn more about this amazing skill …guaranteed.  

An easy way to start is to download the free ‘Smiling Mind’ or ‘Head Space’ Apps on your mobile and start working through the exercises.  It is easy to do, easy to follow, and records your progress.
Go on, download one, you will be amazed at the benefits!  There are a heap of guided meditations to be found on YouTube, so it is guaranteed there is one there that will suit you. Ommmmmmm

Oh, and Jazzy Finger Meditators, you can stop and put your hands down now.  You already how great it is. Well done!

BUILD RAPPORT NOT RETREAT

Training invariably involves you needing to build rapport with your audience. Going in and talking non-stop at them is only going to lead to disappointment all round, and no doubt the beginnings of a lynch mob by lunchtime. 

Building rapport with people can be an automatic inbuilt mechanism for some, but for others it is something that can be worked on and improved, if you have some tips on how to do that – so here are some verbal tools for Quick Rapport Building:

* Common ground – using your Green & Red cards, or some activity to gauge your audience, find some common ground or ‘Universals’ as we call them, and build on that. Common ground is beautiful in establishing OTHER threads that can link you, through conversation, with further Universals to cement your connection.

* When asking someone for their opinion or suggestion on a topic, give them credit for it, before moving on to elaborate or build on their response. It is just as easy to build someone’s confidence, as it is to tear it down, and you are looking to build rapport through positive expression.

* Match your verbals with their language – be it tonal, volume, superlatives, industry-based. Establish that you are ‘one of them’ through speech.  If they like the word ‘awesome’, then so do you!  It’s an awesome word …

* Don’t disagree with ideas – find a way to extend them. Connect and grow and build that sense of ‘team’.

* Change your approach from using “i” and “you” words, to including “we” and “us” in your dialogue.

* Show interest in their world. Don’t probe or be too pushy and put them on the spot so they are uncomfortable. Gentle conversation will soon yield many chances to connect with them and build good rapport.

* Match your modalities with theirs. If someone is clearly visual, say things like, “I see what you mean…”If they are Kinesthetic or Tactile you could respond with “yes, that feels right”. “That sounds good.” For auditories. Train them with their learning styles, and speak to them with their learning styles in mind..

* If they are sitting – join them. If they are standing, stand with them, though in a loose stance, not an aggressive, dominating one. Match their level.  

With children it is best to hunker down so you are face to face and eye level. Bending down to them continues the feeling of domination – hunkering down to their level gives them a more comfortable feeling of acceptance, openness and consideration for their communication. This is best undertaken, though, when you have strong thighs to get back up again ! 

Six POWERPOINT TIPS

Aim for Engagement & Clarity, not Boredom & Confusion!

If you have attended a Laurie Kelly workshop, you will know that we do not usually use media in our sessions – media is a resource or a tool to assist your Presentation, it should not be the core or the focal point of your address, but rather work FOR you as a visual backing to the Content you are delivering. Here are 6 Quick Points for your checklist, when preparing a PowerPoint Presentation.

1. GOAL

Ensure you have a clear, real Goal for the use of your Powerpoint. WHAT are you presenting, and WHY? To define this prior to beginning your preparation, ask yourself: “At the end of the presentation the audience will know … ?”      WHAT?

2. AUDIENCE

WHO is your primary focus? Are you preparing a message they will understand better after seeing your presentation? Who will be attending?  Get to know them if possible, (names, roles, industry), prior to your presentation, so you can target your delivery to what they need, and at the same time appear credible, AND earn their respect.

3. OUTLINE

Make a Mind-map of points you wish to cover – right brain dump and then left brain order – so you have a clear starting point and destination in mind when beginning your development. What are the main points? What are the main topics of each point? Make it as clear and lineal as you can, but remember to engage the right brain with colour and visuals when preparing the PowerPoint. Start with an Overview or map of the journey they are about to undertake – remember to keep the Global learners in the room happy!

4. FOCUS

Don’t clutter your presentation with too much information. Remember the visual is to enhance YOUR delivery, not take focus from you. Make it short, sweet, succinct and entertaining on the eye.

5. DETAIL

Stick to one major point or idea per PowerPoint slide. Use a heading to ‘declare’ and a visual to ‘explain’ – all of which will illustrate the point that you are making with your presentation. Do not fill each slide with text to bore the pants off the audience and draw their attention away from what you are saying.

6. PRACTICE

Rehearse your presentation. Practice out loud to be sure the whole presentation (A) flows smoothly, (B) is not confusing at any point and (C) is within your time limits. Ensure your media equipment works well and if possible, have a backup – just in case. Make an emergency USB your constant companion.

AND REMEMBER – HAVE FUN WITH IT !!!