What’s Your Professional Development Venue?

Do you have a favorite professional development venue? For 17-years one of my main professional development venues has been my local CAPS meeting. it’s a monthly gathering of professional speakers, trainers, and facilitators. As a solo-entrepreneur, my office can get lonely. Learning can be a challenge. Connecting with community can be a difficult. My CAPS meeting, which I attended today, can be my salvation. Today, Michelle Ray, a leadership expert from Vancouver, British Columbia, shared her insights. I have homework for this week.

CAPS stands for the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. It’s a national organization, connected to International Associations. Like many associations, it’s a place to go to find out about what’s happening in our industry and to connect to community. I get a chance to connect to people who have a global reach and to those who work regionally and locally.

What professional development activities have you participated in this year? Have you gone to an association meeting, read a book or attended a seminar? Each of us needs to be a continuous learner. In my work as a workshop facilitator,  I see those who are actively learning and I see those who are at the session because they had to attend. Which ones do you suspect are the better employees? Which ones do you feel are enjoying their daily jobs more? I can tell you, from my experience, the ones who are actively engaged in life as the life-long learners.

Take 10-minutes this week to plan for you. What do you need to learn this year? What would you like to learn this year? What challenge do you want to accept? I look forward to meeting you at a Professional Development event.

 

 

 

Garth Roberts

 

 

 

As A Speaker, Remember It’s Not About You

The link below is a cool link about being a speaker. The author gives you 7 concepts and I’d like to add one more. Remember, it’s not about you. Too many speakers are all about what they have to say instead of recognizing it’s all about the audience. What does the audience need? What benefit are you giving to your audience? What do you want them to do with your material when you finish talking? Remember this while you check out the article – http://bit.ly/1pcaoWo

Why Do You Take Courses?

For over 30 years I’ve conducted seminars and workshops. It’s been fun, educational, enlightening and, occasionally, depressing. Well, maybe not totally depressing but certainly not fun. Sometimes there are people in sessions who do not want to be there. They were sent and view the time as wasted time. The first question of the day can be, “Will we be here for the full day?”

My response is usually, “We’ll be here until we finish the material.” Inside my head, I’m saying, “Why do you even bother coming if you’re not interested?”

What also goes on inside my head is a process of thinking, “How do I get this person engaged?” As a facilitator, I believe it’s my responsibility to make the material engaging, the session engaging, and the outcome worthwhile for everyone involved.

However, that being said I still like to know why people come to sessions, sometimes of their own choice. So, why do you take courses? If you weren’t required to take courses to retain certificates or licenses, would you choose to go to a webinar, seminar or workshop?

I just attended a webinar from the other side of the world where the facilitator talked about how those of us who give seminars and workshops must change from old paradigms to new ways of presenting material. In an ideal world, how would you like to receive your ongoing education?

It’s all about questions

As someone who started as a journalist, I know the value of great questions. Throughout my career, I’ve focused on asking good questions to move projects forward, to inspire thinking on the part of direct reports and colleagues, and to help me sort out my life and work. It’s always great to read articles that support the value of questions. Check out this article from Fast Company. It’s just a three-minute read – http://bit.ly/1Qgmt2n 

Paperclips to the Rescue

Have you ever had one of those days when a task is just too darn difficult? For example, you can’t get the last chocolate covered cookie out of the plastic shell that’s holding it hostage. You have two choices. One is to give up and forget the cookie and the other is to find a tool to help you with the task, for example, a paper clip that’s resting on the desk waiting to be used.

If you’re like me, you used the paper clip.

Now, what’s that have to do with leading your team? Well, do you give up at the first sign of adversity, the first challenge, the first “lack of tools”? If so, you’re never going to make it to the lofty title of leader. Actually, you’re also not even going to be a good Team Lead, Supervisor or Manager. You have to find the tools, access the resources and allow your people to use them appropriately. As the leader you may be in front of the group, behind the group, or not even in the work area, and they’ll still be moving forward. Find the tools required, provide them at the right time and use them appropriately.

Now, take a look at your work area. What tools aren’t there for you and your people? How do you get the appropriate tools? Remember, tools can be physical objects or human resources. Use both as required.

Any Great VA Suggestions?

One of the challenges of working as a solo entrepreneur is deciding when to outsource work. Do you find this a challenge?

Many of my entrepreneur friends have expressed frustration when it comes to getting everything done, yet, they won’t find one or more virtual assistants. I can relate. My coach continually tells me to outsource some of my work. I continually tell my clients to outsource some of their work. Apparently I talk better than I listen.

At the recent eWomen Network Convention in Dallas, Texas, one of the presenters outlined the services of his off-shore company. It sounded inviting to several of us. Have we checked it out? I know I haven’t but I am checking again with a couple of virtual assistants I’ve used in the past.

My biggest challenge when outsourcing is determining WHAT to outsource. I’d love to hear comments and suggestions about your process for deciding and delegating big stuff and little stuff. I need the help. And, I am very comfortable when something is done differently than I might have done it. Frequently it’s done better by fresh eyes.

Garth Roberts

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