Training trainers in Toronto

This past week, I was out of town.  The purpose: to teach a bunch of trainers the content of Business Writing Made Easy, so that they, in turn, can teach others.

The class was composed of three trainers from one business line and 6 from the other.  BWME Nov 19-22 001Though I may, as I mentioned last week, be returning to the training team in September, there are several possible alternatives that might prevent this from taking place.  I have to be prepared for the possibility that I won’t be able to help train staff much or at all in the future.

This was my fourth time co-facilitating the course, and I’ll be training it one more time this week coming.

The course is 15 hours, or two days, spread over three.  I added a day onto the end so that the participants could adapt portions of the course, present them, and get some focused feedback from the rest of the class.

The class is very participant-centered, that is, there are a lot of activities and the facilitators are constantly using questioning techniques to engage learners in their own learning.  This last is a challenging bit for me, because I’m a word-nerd and a total grammar-Nazi.  I have to restrain myself from talking about the things that I love.

The course went well.  I was able to help one of my colleagues get some experience co-facilitating the course because she may be turning around and delivering it to her business line in the future.  I also got the trainer’s high that come when you see the participants getting enthusiastic about the subject matter.

I think they’re all going to be brilliant 🙂

As I’ve mentioned before, the course involves learning a business letter writing model, tips on clarity, concision, and readability in writing, and a final module on grammar review.  The practical component is a letter that the participants draft as part of their pre-course work and revise as the course progresses.

Actually, looking back, every time I’ve blogged about BWME, it’s been about the process surrounding the course, not the course itself (eeps!).

I learn, or have something confirmed for me every time I teach this course.  I hope that my newly-minted business writing teachers feel the same way.

I still get nervous every time I have to train too, but I hide it well.  I’m introverted (as all get out) and training, though enjoyable, tires me.

I’m reading Susan Cain’s Quiet right now, and will likely post about introversion in the future.  For now, let’s just say that I’m learning a lot about myself 😉

Just yesterday, I saw a post on Facebook by the wonderful Nancy Kress, who said that in preparing for a 4-hour workshop, she was nervous, even after her many years of writing and teaching.

One of the comments that followed mine was that, if you care at all about the subject you are teaching, or presenting about, you will be nervous.  Every time.

I do find this to be true.

Getting back to the course, since it’s only two days, I can’t teach anyone who to write properly or how to use the principles of grammar.  The course is a combination of review and resource-building that we hope will give participants the tools to continue improving on their own.

Practise makes perfect.

bunch of starsThe participants seem to enjoy the word pairs exercise most (affect/effect, practice/practise, principle/principal, further/farther, etc.).  The “snowball” fight is a great energizer, and the subject/verb agreement and punctuation exercises tend to confirm that most participants already know a lot about grammar, it’s just not something they’re aware of in their everyday work.

The key with BWME, as with so many other topics, is to cultivate that awareness, and promote its continuance on the job.

 

Have you had the opportunity to learn or teach something that you’re passionate about? How was the experience?  Do you practise after the fact?  What stayed with you most?

 

May submit-o-rama was a bust :(

I got side-tracked, in a marvellous way, but still side-tracked, by courses.

May Submit-o-rama ChoiceI know myself and my limits.  Further, I’m focusing on fiction at this time versus verse, so I opted for the Choose your own Challenge category, and set my goal, as I had back in October, at one submission per week.

At the time, I was working on two short stories for submission May 31, 2013, and so I thought maybe a couple of flash fiction pieces, or something equally non-angst-inducing and I’d be able to make it.  If necessary, I could polish up some of my older, unpublished poems and see what I could do, but then the learning opportunities came knocking, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to do more than the two stories.

Last week, the deadline on one of the submissions I had planned was extended, and frankly, I was glad. Being out of town for training derailed my writing plans.  So in the end, I submitted one short story in the entire month of May.

It was an original, though, so at least it counted toward Kasie Whitener’s Just Write short story challenge (13 original stories in 2013).  Unfortunately, it was April’s original 😛

I participated, but I don’t think that it could be considered a success.

I’m remarkably okay with that though.  I’ve got my fingers into so much right now, that something had to give.

Other perceived failures

I’d submitted a guest post that was to have gone live sometime in April but my colleague’s even more hectic schedule intervened.  There was some hope that the post might have been rescheduled in May, but the month has passed and it looks like it won’t see the light of day any time soon.  It’s only the second guest post I’ve submitted.  It’s also the second that didn’t pan out.

An interview that I arranged recently also seems to have fallen through.

Why it’s all good

There’s a saying that if you aren’t failing, that you aren’t doing enough to stretch yourself.

I agree with that, so long as the individual who perceives their actions as failure can put the attempt in a positive frame.  Otherwise, it can weigh on the soul.

My perspective: so long as you’ve tried your level best, you’ve upheld your part of the bargain.

I put my best effort into everything that I do, or try.  I can feel satisfied with that and I learn something important every time.  At the end of the day, it is enough.  I am enough.

Are you failing upward?  Have you had some perceived failures recently that have left you questioning yourself?  How have you overcome the negative and turned it into a positive?

Do share.  I’d love to hear what y’all have been up to 🙂

The yard, she be nekkid!

Well, not really, but while I was away training trainers, the excellent and knowledgeable arborists at Tamarack Expert Tree Care took down six trees in our back yard.

Before

Before

nekedyard1

After

 

As you can see, there is still a honeysuckle and a few pin cherry trees back there, so it’s not completely nekkid, but my lovely (but potentially deadly) ladies are gone.  Also, my hostas and ferns were trampled (sorry, wasn’t going to move them—they’ll survive) and my mom’s fence lost a couple of boards.

A moment of silence, please.

Now we’ll be able to get the patio set up and I’ll be writing outside every nice evening and weekend through to the fall!

It’s been a rainy weekend here, but it’s one of my favourite times of year.  Yesterday afternoon when things dried up a bit, the breeze was pulling in the scents of lilac and honeysuckle from all around the house.