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Top 5 In-demand Soft Skills (according to LinkedIn)

September 16th, 2020

I was perusing the intertubes last night and found this article: The Top Skills Companies Need Most in 2020—And How to Learn Them

Y’all know I’m a sucker for soft skills and professional development. I’ve spent years creating more than three dozen soft skill and professional courses for Pluralsight, and easily a dozen before Pluralsight. And, for the record, I just tweeted this:

I like that… “Soft skills are like hard skills… but for your career.”

Back to LinkedIn’s survey of the whole professional world…. here are their soft skills that are most in demand, and Pluralsight courses that help you learn and improve your soft skills:

#1 Creativity (apparently was #1 in 2019, too)

Check out this course by the popular Dave Cross (@davecross) titled Photoshop CC Non-destructive Methods to Enhance Creativity. I’m not a Photoshop guy, but if you are into design, photography, etc. this looks like a super course. Of course, there are plenty of courses for creative professionals… here are six learning paths on Pluralsight for creatives.

Creativity isn’t just for creatives, though. Check out this popular course titled Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making Techniques by Milena Pajic (@milena-pajic).

My friend Stephen Haunts (@stephenhaunts) from England created this course called Innovation in the Workplace.

All the way from France, meet Cécilia Lejeune (@LejeuneCecilia) with her course on Exploring Innovating Product Experiences.

Jillian Kaplan (@TheRealJKaplan) has a nineteen minute executive briefing titled Importance of Innovation.

I (@jasonalba) really enjoyed creating this course on innovation, Boosting Innovation: How Leaders Can Create Innovative Teams. This isn’t just for leaders, though. Anyone looking to increase innovation should get good info here.

#2 Persuasion (was #2 in 2019, I guess :p)

Persuasion is influence is storytelling. I have to recommend Alan Ackmann’s Storytelling to Engage and Motivate.

One of the most important factors in persuading is listening and understanding… hence, check out my Becoming a Better Listener course (I’m proud to have over 575 ratings on this course!).

John Papa (@john_papa) is a Pluralsight legend, popular professional speaker, and has had a fantastic career. His course, The Art of Public Speaking and Effective Presentations, is a must-watch.

#3 Collaboration (was #3 in 2019… trust me, there’s a reason they/I put all of these “the same as” statements)

Shelley Benhoff (@SBenhoff) created the course Fostering Effective Team Collaboration and Communication.

Collaborations means teams. My course, Working on a Team, talks all about collaboration.

One of my most important courses is Working and Communicating with Different Personalities. This course helped me understand how personalities impact relationships, communication, collaboration, etc.

Another important course, and one of my favorites, is Understanding Your Audience, which is a critical aspect of collaboration.

Another course from Stephen Haunts is How to Run Effective Meetings. Again, this is about collaborating with humans.

Collaboration happens through various mediums, including email. But how many of us (or your colleagues) should get some proper training on emails? Here’s my course, Effective Email Communication. Laugh if you must but I’ll argue a ton of people need this course :)

Casey Ayers (@caseyayers) is one of my favorite thinkers. He has a course titled Avoiding Common Writing Mistakes, which should definitely help you collaborate more effectively.

#4 Adaptability (you guessed it, was #4 in 2019 also)

Alice Meredith (@AAMeredith) is a senior HR professional and culture strategist, and is the perfect person to talk about change management. She has multiple courses that have to do with adaptability (see her courses here), specifically Embracing Change: Staying: Staying Agile in the Midst of Change, Building a Successful Change Strategy, Becoming a Change Leader, and Leading Change: The Head, Heart & Hands Approach.

Troy Hunt (@troyhunt) is a world renowned security expert and popular professional speaker, and has a course on Adapting to the New Normal: Embracing a Security Culture of Continual Change.

Kevin Miller (KevinMillerIT) has a course titled Change Management: Getting Started.

Again, Milena Pajic has a course on this: Business Analysis: Defining Change Strategies.

Dan Appleman (@danappleman) has a bunch of career courses, and he talks about future-proofing your career by being intentional. One of his courses relevant to change is Learning Technology in the Information Age (where everything changes!).

#5 Emotional Intelligence (NEW! NEW! NEW in the top 5!!)

I fell in love with emotional intelligence (EQ) as I was creating my course Leading with Emotional Intelligence. I thought this was a fluffy topic for years, but then I got to dive into it. I’m 100% onboard with emotional intelligence and think that as we improve ours, the world changes.

Jason Edleman did a course titled Introduction to Emotional Intelligence.

Alan Ackmann has a course titled Self-assessing Your Emotional Intelligence.

Heather Ackmann (@HeatherAckmann) has a course on Creating an Emotionally Intelligent Workplace Culture.

Emotional intelligence is a little tricky… it is not one single topic, rather a collection of soft skill topics. There are currently two learning paths focused on this, including Emotional Intelligence for Leaders and Managers and Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers.

Your career is in your hands. Now is your opportunity to work on yourself so you can be in high demand!

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Blame

September 14th, 2020

Years ago I wrote a scathing blog post to career center directors. It was a dressing down, if you will, because they just weren’t providing current solutions. I’ve learned that career center directors are underfunded and underpaid, and if you’ve been in college you know no one really values them (unfortunately, especially professors). My post, which I’m not even going to take the time to look for, was not kind.

JibberJobber Mean Blame

At the time I had a wise business coach who read the post and then sent me a multi-page email telling me to never do that again. I remember two things: (1) his email was as harsh as my post was, which I deserved, and (2) he said that if my audience (career center professionals) didn’t understand the value of JibberJobber, I was 100% to blame.

That lesson has stuck with me every since. Indeed, I was 100% to blame. It wasn’t that they were stupid or lazy, it was that I was not effectively communicating. I was trying, but I hadn’t figured out how to communicate the right way.

Thank you, Kent, for one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life and business. 

My message is not that you should blame YOU for your mistakes or issues or shortcomings.  I want to shift gears… away from finding and assigning blame to just giving up on blame.

I don’t want you to do this to the detriment of your mental health. I think sometimes blame can be good (I’m no doctor, though). Blaming others has motivated me to work hard, be better, achieve more, etc.

But I have seen people get stuck needing to blame and needing to get retribution. Hanging onto, and pursuing, blame has caused people to stop progressing. They put their mission to pursue blame in front of career, family, and personal health.

JibberJobber Bound

Sounds like a path to disaster, right?

My invitation to you is to move on. Work on you. Make progress in areas you should make progress in.

All the people I could have, or do, blame are… well, honestly, I don’t care. I don’t care where they are in their life, and I don’t care what they are. They don’t matter. They can’t have power over me anymore, unless I give it to them. And frankly, most of them don’t care. They probably don’t even remember my name.

Release the blame. Move on. Maybe even forgive.

Simple words that can feel impossible to put into practice, but they are so freeing. Do this for you, because you need it and you deserve it.

And then you are free to grow and heal.

I dare you to try it.

JibberJobber Freedom

 

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Financial Peace vs. Wealth

August 27th, 2020

A few days ago I posted this poll on Twitter, asking about which you would prefer, financial peace or wealth:

As of right now I have 65 votes. 74% say they want financial peace, which leaves 26% who say they want wealth.

I have been on a money journey for the last … well, I guess my whole life. But I’ve been rethinking money and wealth over the last few years.

JibberJobber Financial Wealth

Months ago I told my friend Marc I was poor… he said you are NOT poor, but you might be broke. Indeed, he is right. I am absolutely not poor. I do not live in poverty, my family’s basic needs are met, and we even get more than basic needs. I have no complaints.

And honestly, I don’t have to be broke. But I’m following the Dave Ramsey plan (more or less), which means I’m putting excess money onto debt we’ve been accumulating. Putting everything there makes me feel broke. But it is a good broke. It is a “cleaning house” broke. It is a temporary broke. Once this debt is paid off, I’ll free up what I’m putting on it, and hopefully won’t feel broke.

When I was a kid, then a teen, then a young adult, then a middle adult, I chased after wealth. I wanted to be wealthy. “Would it spoil some vast eternal plan if I were a wealthy man?” I heard that riches will ruin you… I took that as a challenge and thought I’d like to try it out. I think being purposeful about having wealth would help me not become ruined.

Wealth. Riches. What would that really mean?

I think what I was after was rest. Not hustling to live paycheck to paycheck. Or not hustling to get behind just a little every paycheck, accumulating more debt. I want a break from that. Wealth would surely provide the break and rest I was seeking, wouldn’t it?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I have friends who have said they know they would be ruined by riches. I don’t fault them, but I don’t think I would be. Just try me… just a little.

Back to Dave Ramsey. I listen to him on Youtube when I’m doing chores and errands. Sometimes I get on the student loan threads, other times I get on the “I make $11/hour and have $30k in debt!” threads. I love the millionaire hour, where he interviews people who have $1M+ in assets. Dave has a bunch of one liners that are a crackup. I love how principled he is. I have yet to hear him deviate from principles, even though people call in for the same issue time after time, and everyone thinks they are the special exception.

One of the things that started to jump out over the last few months is his phrase “financial peace.” I swear I’ve heard it a thousand times, but just recently it started to make an impression. I started to think I’m not necessarily after wealth (although, bring it on!). I’m after financial peace.

First, according to Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, that comes from having $1,000 in an emergency fund.

Then, financial peace comes from following each of the subsequent baby steps, all the way through step 7.

As you go through his steps you take care of your “four walls” (food, shelter, clothing, transportation, utilities (that is … 5)). You get a feeling of peace knowing that you will have a place to sleep and have electricity for the basics.

All the way through Baby Step 7 you can have more peace because you are doing the “right things,” based on principles that have been tested over centuries.

I can imagine becoming wealthy and still not having financial peace. To answer my question, I want financial peace. At the same time, I’m working towards wealth. But if I never get wealth, I’ll have financial peace.

Too often we focus on how much we make, or what we have, even while creditors are lining up asking for their money back. When we focus on wealth without financial peace all we are doing is setting ourselves up to do is have much bigger debt and risk losing it all.

JibberJobber Financial Bondage

Contrast that with not having any wealth, but also not having any debt, and having a steady income. Not rich, but not beholden to anyone, ever.

As my relationship with money has shifted, I’ve realized why Ramsey’s program isn’t about building wealth. It’s about creating financial peace. And I’m 100% on board with sharing that message.

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Improve Your Hard and Soft Skills for Income Security

August 17th, 2020

A big theme I’ve been talking about over the years is “income security,” which replaces the outdated concept of “job security.”

Income security comes through (1) building and communicating our personal brand, through (2) growing our network with relevant contacts and (3) nurturing individual relationships, and (4) creating and working multiple income streams.

Since 2006, when I got laid off by a “committee of chickens,” I have been working on each of those things. If you have followed me for more than three hours you know I’m a proud Pluralsight author. “Author” is the title for someone who creates content on their video/course learning platform, not for having written books for them.

Last year thousands of Pluralsight customers came to Salt Lake City for their annual Live conference. The theme was “Skill Up!” I thought that theme was maybe a bit cliche… anyone and everyone should be talking about skilling up. But after spending a few days hearing about skilling up, I was 100% bought in. Hook, line, and sinker. I get it. And I’ll continue to share this message.

Pluralsight 33% off

Skilling up is a term you might hear in the business world to talk about ensuring you are always current on what is current. It ensures that your skills don’t get stagnate, and that you don’t become easily replaced because what you were expert in went away, and we just don’t have any use for you.

It’s just a business decision, you know?

Skilling up means being relevant. It means when a new technology or method or idea or process or system comes out, you either have studied up on it, you have some proficiency in it (or adjacent technologies), or you can easily and quickly come up to speed.

It means when an opportunity arises, people come to you for answers.

“Skill up” needs to be how we think about continuing education. There’s no doubt that to be successful in today’s workforce we need to regularly learn. “Going to school to get an education” should be “going to school to be qualified to get this job, but education is a lifelong pursuit.”

Continuing education can help you with your (1) brand (communicate what you are learning and doing, and what your proficiencies, passions, breadth/depth are), your (2 and 3) network (meet new people and develop/nurture new professional relationships as you get into new circles/communities, and (4) multiple income streams (learn new skills, and figure out how to monetize them).

Continuing education, skilling up, is a big part of your career management.

Pluralsight Skill Up Love To Learn

From today through next Friday (that is 12 days… so no hurry, but don’t miss out) Pluralsight is doing a 33% off sale. This brings the normal price to about what a premium Netflix account costs. You get thousands… literally thousands of courses to help you skill up. Pluralsight has world-renown content creators (aka authors) who help the top technology teams skill up. From learning programming to artificial intelligence to design to networking to you-name-it, Pluralsight has courses that technologists rely on.

Not a techie? Not a nerd or a geek? That’s okay. I am sharing this with you because (a) you might be interested in a career change, and (b) there are plenty of non-tech courses that could enhance your career, from business analyst to the entire PMP certification prep to hundreds of communication and soft skills (which is where I spend my time).

I started with Pluralsight in 2012. It was a slow start, and a bit of a rough transition to go from a professional speaker (on stage) to staring at a screen and talking into a mic in an otherwise empty room. But now I have 36 courses in the Pluralsight library, and hopefully will be able to add more over the years. I believe this is a perfect complement to what I can offer through JibberJobber and the Job Search Program. Tools and strategies and tactics married to information and direction and skills helps you be more intentional about career management.

Here’s a great Twitter thread from my friend Piotr, also an author (in Europe), sharing a bunch of his favorite topics, courses, and authors. Click on this link, then you can look at his entire thread:

Look, I love career management. I love helping job seekers. I love hearing about your career successes. I’m as passionate about helping you with your hard and soft skills as I am about helping you with your networking and personal brand. And that is why I continue to talk about Pluralsight. It’s an awesome tool for you to skill up, and a great complement to the rest of the career management stuff you should be doing.

Get the 33% off here.

Pluralsight 33% off

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Job Search Tool: The Job Seeker Newsletter

August 14th, 2020

Years ago I wrote about a very awesome tactic for networking and personal branding, with an emphasis on helping your network help you in your job search.

In most of my on-stage presentations I talk about it, and in a few of my Pluralsight courses I talk about it. This was not a flash-in-the-pan, whimsical suggestion. I think a regular newsletter for your network can be a super powerful tool.

JibberJobber Job Search Newsletter Typing Email

In the April 5th (2012) post I talk about the three things that go into your newsletter. This is seriously three SHORT paragraphs. Each paragraph has a very important purpose. At the end is a very specific call to action. This post, How to write a job search newsletter (1 of 2), is the nuts and bolts. Don’t let the simplicity trick you into thinking it isn’t a super powerful tool.

The next day, April 6th, I wrote How to write a job search newsletter (2 of 2). This is an important follow up where I talk about how to keep track of WHAT you have sent to WHO. I talk about how you would use JibberJobber to (a) figure out who you would email (and quickly get an email list for those you want to send the newsletter to) and (b) how to track, in JibberJobber, what you sent and who you sent it to.

Please consider including the job search newsletter in your job search strategy. It doesn’t take much time or effort, but could result in some great conversations, leads, and introductions.  The two links above are to short but important blog posts!

JibberJobber Job Search Newsletter at symbol

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Control in Life and Career

August 4th, 2020

I need control.

In recent chats with my wife I’ve been thinking about what I want is control. In my recent blog posts I talk about switching from “job security,” where you give control to your employer, to “income security,” where you do things to give you more control.

Ironically, at the end of the day, we can’t control much.  Cancer can knock out all of your plans (and finances). Death can shatter your world. And too many of us know, job loss can dismantle everything.

Stephen Covey talks about our circle of influence, which is where we should spend out energy, and contrasts that with our circle of concern. Think of the circle of concern containing things that you might be worried about but can’t do anything about. You can waste your whole like worrying about things that you have zero influence over. What a waste.

We can’t control our bosses and their weirdness. Sometimes the only thing we can do is leave.

We can’t control atrocities in the world, whether they be world leaders, hunger, poverty, addiction, abuse, etc. We can help one person at a time, and do that over our lifetime, but if you think too much about it you can easily get depressed and feel like you won’t make a difference.

We can’t control weather, fires, or other “force majeure” events… those things known as an “Act of God,” which actually have legal recognition. Fun fact: COVID-19 is likely going down in history as an Act of God.

We can’t control our own health. We might be able to influence it, through diet and exercise (and a healthy dose of luck), but how many people do you know have had some medical event that shifted their entire life? I know a few.

Back to our circle of influence.

There is one thing we can control, in our life and our career. No matter what happens, we can control our personal integrity. This has to do with being honest, being reliable, and being aligned with truth.

You might have opportunities in your career to get away with things, to cheat the system, to skim off the top, etc. You also have opportunities to NOT do any of those things. That is showing your personal integrity.

If you are like me, wanting control, realize that the most important things to control are things within ourselves. We can control how we respect others, how we lend a hand, how we help, and how we give. We can control how we talk about others, and who we build up. We can control how honest we are.

Where I’m at in my career, where I have less years to work than I’ve already put in, I’d say personal integrity is more important than anything else. You may not earn as much, but you will not have given away the peace that comes with having integrity.

I can’t say that having integrity will lead to prosperity and riches. But maybe what you get from it will be more rewarding.

JibberJobber Job Search Control

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How To: Hiding Reserved Lines When using Email2Log

July 30th, 2020

I’ve had a couple people ask me recently how to hide the “reserved lines” when they send an email to someone and use the amazing Email2Log feature in JibberJobber.

Email2WHUT?

When you use Email2Log, you send an email to someone and bcc the JibberJobber server. JibberJobber takes the email and will create a Log Entry for every recipient of the email. For example, when you email a recruiter a follow-up and use Email2Log, it will find that recruiter’s record and make a Log Entry out of your email.

If the recruiter isn’t in your database, we add the new contact and then create the Log Entry. You can imagine this saves tons of time.

A more advanced scenario: You want to create a Log Entry on the target company. We allow you to put a “reserved line” anywhwere in the email, such as this:

Company:eBay

When we get the email, we find that line and then make a Log Entry under your eBay company record. Don’t have one? We’ll create it, then add the Log Entry.

Problem?

The question I’ve fielded recently is: how do I keep the reserved lines from showing on the email? No one wants to send an email and have weird reserved lines showing up. So, here are some things you can do…

How?

The three ideas below are not JibberJobber-specific. They are just ways you can hide text in an email:
  1. Change the font size to super small… whatever the smallest would be. Doesn’t hide it but draws much less attention.
  2. Change the font color to white. This will hide it except from some printers, and in the case where the recipient selects the text (in which case it would show as white, where the background (when you select) is blue.
  3. Put it below the signature, or at the bottom of the thread. I think in an email people rarely read below the signature, and hardly go to the bottom of the thread.
BONUS: There is another way… you could actually NOT include the reserved lines (and don’t use Email2Log) when you send the email. Then, after you send it, forward the email to your Email2Log address with the reserved lines. That way we take the email, and create the records and Log Entries you are hoping to see in JibberJobber, and the recipient never sees it.

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Project Hope: The Job Search Program #InformationalInterviews

July 29th, 2020

In 2006 I lost my job. It was a devastating experience for me and my family. It drilled into the core of who I was, and how I valued myself. I was afraid of not being able to provide for my family. The stress had long-term impacts on how I think about money, the future, “job security,” etc.

Now, 14 years later, I have created a tool for job seekers to help them organize their job search. It is a great tool that I’ve invested 14 years and gobs of money into. Last year, though, I came out with what I think will be my biggest value to those in job search. It is a six-week program focused on helping job seekers get into interviews. You can learn more here: https://www.jibberjobber.com/hope

We called it, internally, Project Hope. As a job seeker I had lost hope. I was in a dark place. The discouragement was heavy. In Project Hope (aka, the Job Search Program) I tap into the brilliance of Mark LeBlanc’s decades of study and systems to help small businesses get more clients. With his permission I adapted some of his systems and teachings for job seekers. I created a six-week program that walks you through simple but important tasks to work on every day for 6 weeks. The program is simple, and forgiving, but there is work to do.

If you know someone who is in a job search, please share this with them. Proper actions can overpower despair. Results can bring someone out of hopelessness. Traction can lead them to their next role. The “introductory” price right now is $197. The feedback has been very favorable. And getting a “thank you” from people who have used this program and landed a job has been so rewarding. Here’s the link to share: https://www.jibberjobber.com/hope

 

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How To Get More Out Of Online Courses

July 15th, 2020

I was going to write how to get the MOST out of online courses, but I think that will mean different things to different people. More important, I want this post to start a conversation, and to start ideas, about how you can get any more value out of a course you watch, subscribe to, bought, etc.

Caveat: I am a Pluralsight author. I have over 35 courses in Pluralsight. Before Pluralsight I did 9 courses for JibberJobber (the company I own). And I’ve done hundreds of webinars + hundreds of on-stage presentations. I am biased towards Pluralsight, the leading course library for techies. Having said that, I don’t care if you are watching a course on LinkedIn Learning (formerly known as Lynda), Coursera, Udemy, Thinkster.io, Youtube, your company’s LMS, Udacity, General Assembly, etc. etc. etc. There are literally thousands of options. I’m not here to say what is best for you… you have to figure that out on your own.

Let’s talk about getting MORE out of online courses.

Actually watch the course you paid for (or have access to)

Why is it that we buy books and never read them? Oh, you thought it was just you? Nope. There’s even a Japanese word for this: Tsunkodu (doku = reading; tsun = to pile up).

I’m not saying you always have to be learning. I’m not even saying I won’t allow you downtime, or depending on life circumstances or stage of life that you can’t just take a break. If you need to take a break then take a break.

But at one point in your life you decided it would be a good idea to learn something. Whether it was cooking or coding you wanted to learn a new skills or fact or thought process, or just see what the “experts” are saying.

A quick google translate shows that “course” is kōsu in Japanese. So let’s not accumulate courses, not ever watch them, and then have the word tsunkōsu (to pile up courses) apply to us! (I totally made that up, hope it’s not some offensive word!)

Make the time to actually make watch your course. You owe it to yourself. Maybe that means you stop buying new stuff until you go through what you already have.

Turn off distractions

In my listening course I invite people to, right now, turn off all distractions. Other windows, browsers, their email, their Slack and Teams, and even their phone. Let’s just be honest with ourselves… if we allow these distractions to stay up we might… no, we will miss stuff. If you are going to “invest” the time in yourself and watch a course, really do it right the first time.

Personally, if I leave my distractions up during a course, and I switch my attention even for a nanosecond, I get lost in the course. I miss something, I get behind, etc. I know it is against our super power to “multitask,” but please, turn off your distractions and give the course your full attention.

Take notes

I don’t care if you take them on your computer, on paper, or with a chisel on a rock tablet… take notes. Here’s the weird thing: I take lots of notes… but I hardly ever refer back to them. Even when I was in school I would not… for some reason I didn’t understand, I could not go back into my notes. But just writing things down seemed to help my retention. I heard retention is better when you hand write things instead of type things… but I don’g care how you take notes. Just take notes.

You might even look up some note-taking tips online. I’m not talking about learning shorthand, but there are things you can do to really bring out certain parts of your notes. For me, I use an empty box (square) to designate a “do this later” task. It is one of the most important tactics I use when taking notes. Later, I can easily scan through my notes and look for boxes, then see what I need to follow-up on. When I do the thing, I cross it out or put a check in the empty box.

Practice what you learn

Your notes should include actionable tasks to put into practice things from the course. Whether it is cutting code or cutting onions, practicing something artistic, speaking (on stage or on a webinar), listening, or using a new phrase to be more assertive, practice it.

In some of my Pluralsight courses I end my modules with “if you’ve been taking notes you might have written down some of these things to do….” and then I tell you five or six actionable things to practice. Every time you watch any part of a course you should walk away with your own list of “I’m going to try this thing.” If you are watching a technical course it might be easy to pause the course and try the thing they are showing you. If you watch my “Becoming a Better Listener” course you’ll have to figure out when you could practice active listening, or any of the tactics I share there.

But really practice the tactics. There’s this idea that we retain or really understand things based on doing different things (poorly written I know, but hang with me). There are models you can find on google images that show the difference in learning from passive to active listening tactics. If you just watch a lecture you learn or retain 5% of the stuff (numbers vary, I’m sure, based on who did the model). If you read you retain 10%. If you hear and see (audio-visual) you retain 20%. That is 4x more than just being in a lecture (although I don’t know what that means… a lecture has both audio and visual). Anyway, if you see a demonstration you retain 30% (that is why we love the science teachers who light things on fire in the classroom). Discussion increases to 50% (wasn’t he case with me in school… I was more aloof). Practice raised it to 75%. I think if you practice multiple times, over time, you can work your way to a mastery level.

Teach what you learn

In the model I talked about in the last paragraph the last step was to teach others. The retention rate is supposedly 90%. I know when I have to get to teach others I might spend hours and hours and hours reading, researching, thinking of questions, thinking about my audience and how to best present, and learn a ton more than I get to actually talk about. I heard someone say that in corporate training it takes 40 hours of prep time to do a one hour presentation. Yuck, I thought, I’m never going into that field.

And yet here I am.

I love spending the 40 hours learning. Thinking. Creatively devising ways to communicate concepts that will make an impact. My only regret is that once I’m done with my 1 hour presentation I feel like there is so much more to learn and do, and I couldn’t communicate it all. But maybe, just maybe, I was able to inspire the audience to want to learn more.

Teaching others gives you the opportunity to dig way deeper than just consuming content (from a lecture, supposedly at 5% retention effectiveness). How can you do this? Invite a group of people to a brown bag lunch and share what you learned in 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t stress about YOU, and how good you are, and about how this is out of your comfort zone. Once you send the invite, and you are not obligated, I bet you go through the course again with more focus and intention, thinking about what and how you will teach. It’s an awesome experience.

Debrief the course with someone else

Debriefing was a foreign concept to me until about 10 or so years ago when I was involved in youth government and leadership simulations. We spent four days running around a building simulating government relations, negotiations, etc. It was very intense and heated, and most everyone got really involved in the simulation. Then, on the last day, we’d wrap up with a “debrief” that could last two or three hours.

I thought it was a little weird and maybe a waste of time… until I did my first one. The debrief became my favorite part of simulations. Debriefing is where we were able to step aside from the simulation, back into the real world, and talk about what we had learned. Why we made decisions, why we followed certain people, why alliances were (or weren’t) formed. We learned what happened from different perspectives, and got time to analyze what the heck just happened. There were a lot of aha moments as people shared their insights and perspectives.

When I create my courses I hope, in my wildest dreams, that a group of people watch the course individually and then come together in a room and beat up my talking points. Not to prove or disprove my points, but to talk about them as a team. To come to a higher truth for that team, and figure out how they could apply the points and principles individually and as a team. I love to get feedback, and to know that teams have taken my course to a much higher level by talking about it. Figuring out what things they could/should implement in their organization and what things didn’t apply to them. And, because of that conversation, they could figure out their own tactics and techniques that I didn’t even talk about, and become stronger.

This might not happen at a team level but you could certainly talk to someone over lunch. “Hey, I just watched this really interesting course and I want to talk about some of the ideas with you. Can we get together for lunch?” Or, on a webinar. Or, with a group of people who have watched the course, even if they are from different departments. It’s like a book club, where you learn from others, see what stuck out to them, understand how they are thinking about implementing some of the ideas.

I think this conversation that happens in a debrief increases the value of a course exponentially. So don’t just one-and-done watch a course… talk about it with someone!

Here are some ideas from Twitter

I like this idea from Eliud… watch other courses on the same topic to get different perspectives.


Jeremy talks about really budget the right amount of time… this is smart because if you think it will take an hour but you keep pausing it you might think “I’m never going to finish this long course.” But you need to respect how you learn.

Jeremy and John both recommend breaking the course into parts, instead of spending a lot of time just to plow through:

Winnie emphasizes scheduling time out… actually block it out on your calendar! And if you have the list of KSAs you might understand more of the context of the course.

Rachel says (in my own words) to respect yourself, and the time you are investing into the course:

Leo is talking to course creators, but let me flip the coin on this and say that YOU (the learner) can put reminders in your calendar to either pick up where you left off, or to practice certain things, etc. Putting reminders in your calendar shows you really want to learn/master the material, and improve.

Dave’s four-point list is great, and reinforces everything in this post:

I think Colyn is talking to course creators or platforms, but if you agree you can see that debriefing and practicing after watching a course are just critical:

Alright, your turn… what do YOU do to get more out of online courses?

2 Comments »

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What Is JibberJobber (in videos)? A Job Search CRM…

July 13th, 2020

I was recently asked for some video explainers for JibberJobber, prior to doing a presentation to a job club. This is what I sent:

This 4 minute overview explains what JibberJobber is and how to not be overwhelmed (or, to focus on the most important parts of JibberJobber):

The one minute video on the homepage gives a conceptual overview:

This 4 minute introduction video gives a quick overview of JibberJobber, and emphasizes the Getting Started videos:

If nothing else, go through the Getting Started Videos table of content page to see what topics you might be interested in

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