Is Nervousness Limiting Your Career?

If you suffer from nervousness during presentations, you’re not alone.For some business presenters, nervousness is a temporary condition. When they’ve moved past the first few minutes, their nerves seem to float away.

For other presenters, nervousness is long-lasting and debilitating. It never goes away, even when the presentation is going well. We’ve heard this described as having an out-of-body experience, or experiencing an eleven on a nervousness scale of one to ten. Others describe it as a screeching in their heads or swirling the drain.

Regardless of how you might describe it, it’s unpleasant. If you suffer from that kind of presentation nervousness, and if presenting is a regular part of your job, it can make having that job a miserable situation.

I know this to be true because I was there once.

Back Story – Performers and Nervousness

I started my career as a stage actor. For a few years in my 20s, I toured internationally on a few shows.

Nervousness had always been a passing thing for me. Sure, there were opening-night jitters and the occasional pre-show butterflies, but nothing I couldn’t handle as soon as I walked on stage.

The problem started for me about a year into the run of one of the touring shows. I got lazy. This is something that many actors can relate to. When you’ve been doing the same role for a long time, you know it by heart, and you no longer need to think about what you’re doing. In the theatre world, it’s referred to as “phoning it in.” To be clear, actors SHOULD think about what they’re doing, but my laziness kicked in, and I’d find myself onstage not knowing quite where I was in the show. It was as if I had been flying along on autopilot and suddenly the autopilot turned off. And there I was, suddenly awake on stage, feeling out of sorts, and trying to figure out where I was so that I could land the plane. If you’ve ever been driving and realize you don’t remember the last few miles, you know the feeling.

For me, being on stage was suddenly paralyzing. My mind would race, my heart felt as if it would jump out of my throat. And what was worse, I was letting down my fellow castmates.

As the weeks churned on, it happened repeatedly; then it started happening backstage. The fear of forgetting my lines would stop me in my tracks as I awaited each entrance. Nothing I did would make it go away. So, I quit the show and eventually quit acting altogether.

Nervousness Can Be Career-limiting

My nervousness was career-limiting. As it happened, I was in good company. Barbara Streisand panicked during a 1967 performance in Central Park. Because of that, she avoided live performances for decades. In a piece by CBS News, she said, “I couldn’t come out of it… It was shocking to me to forget the words… I didn’t have any sense of humor about it… I didn’t sing and charge people for 27 years because of that night… I was like, ‘God, I don’t know. What if I forget the words again?'”

A business woman in her mid-30s, we’ll call her Ann, whom I worked with recently experienced something similar. She was attending one of our presentation skills training workshops because it was part of a larger training initiative that she and her peers were involved in. Ann confessed to me during a coaching session that she felt as if she was in a hostage situation having to take the class.

When I asked what nervousness felt like to her, she said that it’s like her head is under water and she can’t breathe. “Crazy nervousness,” she said. What’s interesting is that her outward appearance was calm and poised. The only indication of nervousness that I noticed was that she teared up a little when she was in front of her classmates; otherwise, she looked as if she was in complete control.

In private, she told me stories of being so nervous during presentations that she had thrown up in her mouth and had to swallow it before continuing. She described other instances as having blacked out and having no control over her body or her words. She said that she goes into “panic mode” sitting in meetings before having to get up and present, which, of course, made her situation worse.

To deal with her fear, she’d learned several coping mechanisms over the years. These ranged from spending the hour before a presentation in the bathroom and moving meetings into smaller rooms, so she wouldn’t have to stand up. And then there was the time she rescheduled a meeting for a time when her manager and other superiors weren’t available to attend.

When I asked her whether she’d like to move up in the organization, she said, “No, I’d prefer to move down so that I don’t have to put myself in that position again.”

So, here we are, Barbra Streisand, Ann, and me. All of us limiting our careers because of nervousness and the fear of failure. Barbara turned down money from live performances, I changed careers (thankfully), and Ann wants a demotion.

Managing Your Nervousness

The good news is that Barbra worked through her fear and now she performs regularly in front of thousands, I speak for a living in front of varying-size groups, and Ann can learn to manage her nervousness too. She just needs the right coaching and some positive experiences so that her fear of failure can be replaced by better memories associated with her success.

The bad news is that there’s no one-size-fits-all tool for dealing with presentation nerves. The solution for each person is unique and requires a gentle touch from a manager, communication coach, or mentor.

The class that Ann attended was a baseline program designed for moderately nervous and novice presenters. Ann’s issues went beyond the scope of that program, but we did make some progress. Through our coaching sessions, we discovered that her nervousness was connected to her dislike for being the center of attention. It had very little to do with the content. In fact, she described herself as an expert. Knowing her nervousness trigger was a good start.

Secondly, Ann was equating speeches and meetings. They’re two very different things. At one point, I mentioned that she seemed to be a good conversationalist, and she agreed, as long as conversations took place in intimate settings. However, she had never considered that a business meeting has more in common with a conversation than it does with a speech. “You’re rewiring my brain,” she said. That’s an important insight because learning new skills often requires unlearning old ones.

If Ann and I had had more time together, she could have started stacking up some positive experiences that would ultimately lead to her ability to manage her nerves better. And who knows, maybe she’d even start to imagine herself getting a promotion instead of the demotion she had been hoping for.

Have you overcome your fear of presenting, performing, or public speaking? If so, we’d love to hear about it.

Do you have a team that could benefit from learning to manage their nervousness? We’d love to help. Contact us to learn how we could do that.

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP at Turpin Communication and co-author of the books “The Orderly Conversation” and “Effective SMEs

Turpin Communication Shares Expertise on Training SMEs During ATD’s International Conference & Exposition!

Turpin Communication will be speaking at this year’s Association for Talent Development (ATD) International Conference & Exposition.Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger, Turpin Communication’s leadership team, will be speaking in two different time slots at this year’s Association for Talent Development (ATD) International Conference & Exposition. The annual conference, celebrating its 75th year, is the go-to event for the industry.

Dale and Greg will be in good company because President Barack Obama is the keynote speaker!

Sharing Expertise about Training Subject Matter Experts to Facilitate Learning

Both sessions that Dale and Greg are leading focus on helping Talent Development professionals (the key audience at the conference) support Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the training room. It has become standard in the training industry for experts working in the business to share their expertise by training other employees. The challenge is that SMEs are experts in their topic, not experts in adult learning. These sessions are designed to give Talent Development professionals the tools and skills they need to support and coach the SMEs once they enter the training room.

Both sessions will be lively and interactive.

The Evolution of Our Expertise on Training SMEs

Turpin’s expertise in training SMEs has evolved over time. For years, Turpin had focused on the core of the business, which was, and still is, helping business communicators grow their self-awareness and improve their presentation skills. Eventually, clients started asking if Turpin could expand and work with their trainers to be more effective facilitators of learning. Our answer was, “Yes, of course we could do that.” This work with trainers evolved into helping SMEs be more effective as well.

Speaking about Training SMEs at Conferences

Greg started talking about this topic at industry conferences, and the sessions filled up fast. In 2015, ATD invited Greg back “by popular demand” and scheduled two sessions about the topic. Both rooms, set for 400 each, were so full that monitors had to turn people away.

TD Magazine: Dual Role by Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-BogerThe TD Magazine Article on Training SMEs

ATD saw the writing on the wall — this was a hot topic. As it turned out, there were lots of resources available for working with SMEs to develop training content, but no one else was talking about coaching SMEs to be more effective once they entered the training room. Seeing the need for more resources on the topic, the good folks in ATD publishing asked Dale and Greg to write the cover article for the April 2016 edition of TD Magazine, which reaches tens of thousands of Learning & Development professionals in over 120 countries. The article was called “Dual Role: SMEs as Trainers in the Classroom.”

The Book on Training SMEs

Effective SMEs: A Trainer's Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate LearningThe success of the TD Magazine article led to Dale and Greg’s latest book, Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning. It was published by ATD Press in November 2017. This book, similar to their first, The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined, takes full advantage of the power of the story to help readers visualize the concepts and techniques that are central to their approach.

Book Signing for “Effective SMEs”

We’d love to see you. If you’re attending the ATD conference, stop in and see us at one of the sessions mentioned above, or stop by the book signing of Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8 from 12:30 – 1pm in the book store.

Interested in learning more about our work and how we can help you and your team? Give us a call or email. 773-294-1566 or

4 Ways to Progress from a Trainer to a “Thinking Coach”

The trainer’s responsibility is to help learners think criticallyIf you are a trainer or a SME who delivers training, one of your major responsibilities, and possibly one of your major challenges, is knowing how to use the conversation that takes place during training delivery to meet your learning goals. Some trainers welcome unplanned, spontaneous interaction with learners. Others prefer a more controlled Q&A session at the end of each training module. No matter what your preferences are, you need to let the conversation go far enough to take advantage of the learner’s insight or concern without going down the rabbit hole of inefficient, off-topic rambling.

I read an article in TD Magazine that gave me a new way to think about this process. The article is titled, “Think on It” by Michael Kallet (accessing the article may require ATD membership). Kallet focuses on what leaders need to do to be effective “thinking coaches.” A thinking coach builds critical thinking skills in others, helping them solve problems more efficiently and effectively. Rather than just telling someone who reports to you what to do to solve a problem, a thinking coach leads that person to discover the best solution on their own.

This applies to the process of leading training conversations in important ways. Every workshop you deliver has the same business goal. Learners should walk away able to do their jobs better or more efficiently. No matter the topic or the level of experience of learners, it always comes down to those very simple goals.

As you know, reaching those goals is not simply about delivering information. It’s about helping learners think about what they’re learning. For example, they need to think about:

  • how they can apply learning to their job
  • the challenges that application may involve
  • how their learning helps the business as a whole

When these things are understood, learners will be more willing and able to learn.

That’s where being a thinking coach comes in. As Kallet says, “Critical thinking helps people make better decisions because there is a clear understanding of what the problem or issue is.” In the classroom the learner’s decision to learn (and it is a decision) is closely linked to why the training is taking place. What individual or business problem is being corrected through it?

What that means is that the trainer’s responsibility is to help learners think critically about what they’re learning. It’s about reinforcing context and relevance, on both the individual and enterprise-wide levels. Here are four of Kallet’s recommendations for thinking coaches that apply to your role as trainer.

  1. Don’t rush
    Learning conversations take time. Because they are driven by the learner’s needs, not your needs as trainer, they can feel slow and laborious. So, the first step is to be patient and listen to what learners are saying. When you don’t you may discourage learning and shut learners out.
  2. Allow the person you are helping (or training) to think out loud
    Give learners a chance to mull over what they’re learning. By doing this, you’ll encourage them to bring their perspective, concerns, and skepticism into the conversation. This will help you better understand how they think, which will, in turn, help you help them learn.
  3. Keep in mind that all responses have merit
    The desire to correct misconceptions and wrong answers is huge. Before you do, though, it’s a good idea to talk about how learners reached the wrong conclusion. Do this with real curiosity and without judgement. This will build trust and make them more willing to take risks and bring their thoughts into the open.
  4. Know that if you give an idea or suggestion, your thinking coach session is over
    And that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with bringing conversations to a close. Without your guidance or correction, learning won’t happen. The thing to remember is that there is a right time to step in, course correct, or comment. That time arrives when the relevance and business application of the learning point is understood and when continuing the conversation would feel inefficient to learners.

Our success in the classroom relies on our learners’ sensing the relevance of the information they are learning and the sense of efficiency they feel as it is delivered. Realizing that part of your job is to be a thinking coach is one way to reach both of those goals.

by Dale Ludwig, President & Founder and co-author of the books “The Orderly Conversation” and “Effective SMEs

Consider the SME’s Strengths: from “Effective SMEs”

This post is the seventh in a series of excerpts from “Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning.” In this excerpt Dale Ludwig (Turpin Communication’s Founder) and Greg Owen-Boger (Turpin’s VP) discuss the importance of designing learning to play to the SME’s strengths.

Effective SMEs: A Trainer's Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate LearningLearning conversations do not necessarily follow a logical path from A to B to C. Maneuvering through them requires flexibility. Some SMEs will be comfortable with this concept, while others will not. In addition to their comfort level with group interaction, they also have individual strengths and weaknesses. They may have preferences—and perhaps dislikes—for different types of delivery methods. For example, a SME may prefer group discussion over lecture or solo work over group activities. Because of these variables, the design needs to provide some flexibility. In this chapter, we’ll discuss how this is done.

Once you’ve laid out a strong frame for the training, certain content elements and delivery methods will start to emerge. Let’s take a look at Alan’s negotiation training example again. Let’s say that we’ve identified the delivery methods, in parentheses, for each of the agenda items:

  1. Share your experiences and successes (facilitated discussion).
  2. Share my best practices (presentation and stories).
  3. Identify client pain points (facilitated discussion).
  4. Identify common ground (small group activity with report out
  5. and discussion).
  6. Craft a plan (job aid; individuals work on their own client situation).
  7. Practice and peer feedback (role plays and coaching).

From an instructional design point of view, this training session will have a good mix of delivery methods, including facilitated discussions, presentations, stories, small group activities, individual work, and role plays with coaching. From a traditional instructional design perspective, this plan will satisfy a range of learning preferences.

But the SME’s perspective has not been taken into account. What if Alan is an ineffective storyteller? What if he hates activities? What if he is impatient and doesn’t want to hear from learners about their successes? What if Alan doesn’t see the value in role plays, or maybe his coaching techniques are off-putting to some?

In any of these situations, his ability to manage the second level of success (the process) is at risk because his attitude could seep into the training room.

Not only do IDs design learning events that support the business, but they also have to design so that the SMEs they’re working with feel successful. This is not to say that the design should be dictated exclusively by the SMEs, but their strengths, weaknesses, and preferences should be taken into consideration. There are many paths to a final destination, and if the path that works well for the SME is just as good as any other, why choose something else?

For more information or to order the book, go to ATD Press, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Dry Runs: The Key to Training Readiness

Dry runs help you prepare to deliver trainingIn our new book, Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning, Dale Ludwig and I encourage trainers (and subject matter experts-turned-trainers) to conduct a dry run before they deliver their training for the first time.

What’s a Dry Run?
A dry run involves talking through the training content. Dry runs help you identify trouble spots, discover sections you may not fully understand, and get a better understanding of how everything fits together. It’s also a good way to find out if you don’t fully understand how an activity is supposed to be conducted. The time to learn about any areas of concern is before you have a room full of learners. For these reasons, we almost always recommend dry runs to our clients.

Oh, You Mean Conduct a Rehearsal?
No. Actually we don’t. Rehearsal is what actors do. As a trainer, you’re not an actor, and if you attempt to recite a script, you’ll fall flat in the training room. Dry runs help you to be spontaneous. They free you from content concerns and prepare you to engage learners in a learning conversation.

Learning Conversation?
The training you deliver should feel like a conversation to you and your learners. Thinking of it this way will help you steer clear of a lecture-style approach and it will help your learners engage. Adult learners, or, as we call them, “Busy People at Work,” crave efficiency and relevance. They want to feel part of the conversation. A spontaneous, listener-focused learning conversation helps them feel that way.

Who Should Attend a Dry Run?
We get this question a lot. There are two options, and both have pros and cons.

  • Conduct the dry run by yourself. The benefit of this approach is that you get to work at your own pace. The down side is that you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of and no one to actually engage as you walk through the content. If you’re already comfortable in your role as facilitator, this may not be an issue, but if you’re new to training, having others in the room with you can be helpful.
  • Conduct the dry run with other stakeholders in the room. The benefit of this approach is that you’ll receive feedback from others. The downside is that the feedback you receive might be overwhelming and not particularly helpful.

Here’s what I mean. Often, dry run observers say things like, “I don’t understand why the content is laid out like this; we need to change it.” or “I’d say it like this…” Comments like those are not helpful during a dry run. First, because the time to make major changes to the content has passed. And it’s never easy to receive feedback that sounds like it’s coming from a theater director delivering a line reading. The goal of a dry run is to make the training your own. Reciting someone else’s script works against that.

Lay Some Ground Rules
So, if you do a dry run with others in the room, make sure you lay out some ground rules. Here are just a few examples.

  • The goal of today is to get me (or other trainers if there are more than just you) prepared to deliver this content. The instructional design is pretty much locked down. The feedback I’m looking for is not about the design of the class, rather my delivery of the content.
  • As you observe, try to put yourself in the mindset of the learner. You probably know a lot more than they do, and they need a different level of detail than you would if you were taking this course.
  • Familiarize yourself with the learning objectives so that you’re clear with what we’re trying to accomplish with each module.
  • Please do not suggest that I (or the others) deliver the material the way you would. This is my time to make this training my own. I’ll let you know if I need help describing something.
  • Please only interrupt me if you feel I’m being long-winded or if you are role-playing a learner with a question. We’ll debrief after each module, so please save your feedback for the debrief.

These are just a few examples of ground rules that you could set forth. I’m sure you can come up with some of your own. By setting the ground rules early, your observing stakeholders will be more likely to provide helpful feedback.

What are your thoughts about dry runs?

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP at Turpin Communication and co-author of the books “The Orderly Conversation” and “Effective SMEs

Designing for Busy People at Work: from “Effective SMEs”

This post is the sixth in a series of excerpts from “Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning.” In this excerpt Dale Ludwig (Turpin Communication’s Founder) and Greg Owen-Boger (Turpin’s VP) redefine “adult learners” as “busy people at work.”

Effective SMEs: A Trainer's Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate LearningLet’s begin by refining our understanding of business learners. Learning theory tells us that adult learners need to feel safe, understood, and respected in the classroom. Place adult learners in the business environment, and we can see that they also need to trust that the trainer is going to deliver relevant information and be respectful of their time. So let’s think of businesspeople not simply as “adult learners” but as “busy people at work.” There are three reasons for this:

  • Busy people at work learn new things because it’s part of their job, and they are motivated to learn for practical reasons. But, during instructor-led training, they are not in control of what they learn or when.
  • Because of this, busy people at work crave efficiency. They do not want to feel that their time in the classroom (and away from their regular duties) is wasted. They want relevant learning, delivered efficiently.
  • Finally, businesspeople understand that the learning they do is, ultimately, for the benefit of the business. What they learn needs to be placed within the context of not only their own responsibilities, but also the business as a whole. Questions like, “Why is this important to the organization?” and “Why do we do things this way?” need to be answered.

Most SMEs understand the needs of busy people at work because they, too, are busy businesspeople. They need help, however, applying that understanding to training delivery. Doing that begins with instructional design.

For more information or to order the book, go to ATD Press, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

The 3rd Fundamental Principle of Success in the Training Room: From “Effective SMEs”

This post is the fifth in a series of excerpts from “Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning.” In this excerpt Dale Ludwig (Turpin Communication’s Founder) and Greg Owen-Boger (Turpin’s VP) discuss the third of three fundamental principles for success in the training room.

Design and Delivery Must Focus on Initiating and Managing the Learning Conversation


Effective SMEs: A Trainer's Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate LearningThe learning conversation, just like other forms of business communication, is an orderly conversation. That means it is an outcome-oriented event that is prepared and well organized, and takes place in a responsive, conversational way. Using this definition, we can move away from traditional lecturing techniques, often preferred by SMEs, and toward a more responsive, flexible, and listener-focused approach. Therefore, the third fundamental principle is that learning design and delivery must focus on helping the SME initiate and manage the learning conversation. When this does not happen, learning suffers, as you’ll see in the following example.

Save Your Questions for the End


As part of an organization-wide initiative, Liz had recently taken on a new role in L&D.

She’d worked as part of the delivery team on a few successful training programs in the past, so it seemed like a logical move for her. Liz had always prided herself on her attention to detail and her methodical approach to the work that she did as a systems analyst.

Knowing that her precision had served her well in the past, she applied this approach to the first training initiative that she led. However, despite having the best of intentions, her plans did not go well.

Her new manager, Rory, called us and asked us to work with Liz and see if we could help. To do that, we read her course evaluations from the failed workshop and interviewed some of the learners. We heard comments such as:

  • “Liz didn’t allow for questions to be asked. She said that if we had questions, we should save them for the end of the day. She was nice enough about it, but it was just weird.”
  • “I don’t think she meant it, but she was a bit condescending. At one point, we were discussing what I thought was a gray area in our procedures, and she made it sound very black and white. My manager is always saying ‘it depends, and here’s why. . . .’ Liz didn’t like it much when I brought that up.”
  • “On the evaluation, I gave her relatively high scores because I didn’t want negative comments to be traced back to me. Liz and I are friends.”

After the interviews, we worked with Liz to hear her side of the story. “I want things to be just right,” she said. “I was nervous because it was my first training event in my new role. I was given slides and a facilitator guide. There was a lot there. I was nervous about the content, so I figured I had to memorize everything. During my dry runs getting ready for the training event, I rehearsed everything I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. I even practiced where to stand and when to gesture. Once the big day came and people started asking questions, I freaked out! They pulled me off course, I forgot where I was, and I lost my confidence. It was awful.”

The coaching that we provided hinged on helping Liz shift from a lecture-based approach to a conversational approach. This was a big change for her, but she came to realize that as a learner, she actually prefers a looser style herself. She explained, “It’s strange to make that realization. I love a good debate, when there’s a lot of back and forth in the classroom. When I’m in training as a learner, I get bored when someone just lectures. Why in the world did I think I should do that myself? Good grief. I feel as if I should apologize to that group of learners.”

For more information or to order the book, go to ATD Press, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

The 2nd Fundamental Principle of Success in the Training Room: From “Effective SMEs”

This post is the fourth in a series of excerpts from “Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning.” In this excerpt Dale Ludwig (Turpin Communication’s Founder) and Greg Owen-Boger (Turpin’s VP) discuss the second of three fundamental principles of success in the training room.

Learning Events Succeed on Two Levels: Plan and Process


Effective SMEs: A Trainer's Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate LearningCreating the conditions conducive for learning—a sense of equality, respect, safety, relevance, and shared purpose—requires recognizing the distinction between learning objectives and the learning process. Learning objectives are planned and the learning process is managed. Once SMEs understand their dual responsibilities, they’re much more likely to succeed in the classroom.

From the learners’ perspective, the live training process requires a sustained level of engagement and focus. Unlike asynchronous delivery, for example, learners do not have the option to pause the process, back it up, or complete it another day. They give those options up when they enter the training room, just as they did when they entered the academic classroom. The difference in business, however, is that facilitators are responsible for making sure learners feel good about that decision. They do this by managing the learning process well and creating the conditions for fruitful learning.

So while meeting learning objectives is the SME’s primary goal, it cannot be reached effectively or efficiently without learner engagement. That requires bringing the instructional design and all its components into the here and now of the learning conversation, making whatever is taught understandable, relevant, and useful for each learner. Facilitators must be relentless in their effort to adapt and respond. When they do, trust is established and good will is earned. For these reasons, the SMEs’ success in the training room must be measured on two levels.

For more information or to order the book, go to ATD Press, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

3 Things You Know About Learning That Your SME Doesn’t

This blog article was originally posted to ATD’s website and is based on the new book Effective SMEs, co-authored by Turpin Communication’s leaders, Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger.

An excerpt:

3 Things You Know About Learning That Your SME Doesn’tBringing subject matter experts (SMEs) into the training process is often necessary and important. Their knowledge and perspective during the design phase help talent development (TD) professionals determine what learners need to learn and what they need to be able to do after training.

When your SME is also the person delivering training, new challenges arise. SMEs are not learning experts, after all, they are subject matter experts. This can lead to ineffectiveness and inefficiency in the training room. Therefore, they need to be coached on delivery and facilitation skills that we, as TD professionals, already employ. Finding the best way to coach your SMEs, though, is daunting because each of them has different experience, strengths, and needs.

Before you dive into delivering feedback to your SMEs, make sure they understand the fundamentals of the learning process itself. Here are three things that trainers know, but SMEs may not.

  • SMEs must embrace the learning conversation
  • SMEs must understand their responsibilities to learners
  • SMEs must trust learners

Read more…


Podcast: A Talk with the Authors of “Effective SMEs”

Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger were recently interviewed by Amanda Smith from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) about their new book, Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning.

Check it out.

Amanda Smith sits down to interview Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger, authors of Effective SMEs










Need to pick up a copy of the book? Visit ATD’s website.