Whenever I go to a conference or to training I like to think about what I get out of it.   Did I go and just hang out with friends and party?  Or, did I accumulate knowledge or find some tools I can use in the future?  Anything I accumulate and intend to use later is like all of the things found in a sailor’s sea bag.  When you pack to go to sea, you never want to have things that add weight and are unnecessary in there.

     And so I went to my first summer training and I accumulated some things and have added them to my “sea bag.”  This first training was conducted by two folks from The LearningForward Texas Institute.       The training was entitled Tips, Tools and Techniques for Staff Developers but would also benefit anyone who does public speaking or professional training.

     The presenters utilized their own materials but also leaned heavily on How to Make Presentations That Teach and Transform by Robert J. Garmston and Bruce M. Wellman.    This is a short book but is packed with good advice.

     As a person who gets pretty darn nervous in public speaking situations I especially enjoyed the chapter on dealing with nerves in this book.  A review of that chapter will be good prior to presenting at any conferences in the future.

     I also picked up a bunch of ice breakers, ideas for setting up expectations, and ways to have groups be more comfortable with me and my topic.  The best part of the 3 days of training was having the presenters purposefully manipulate us and then spend time explaining what we had just experienced and why they had done what they had done.

     I would highly recommend this training.  We actually completed both Level 1 and Level 2.  Level 1 is normally two days and the level 2 training is normally done 6 months to a year later.  Several in the room had been to Level 1 before and our superintendent decided that we would combine them and complete the entire training in 3 days.

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