Guest blogger Lucy Hayward – Are looks really that important?

FlipLucy1When it comes to the presentation of your workshops and the flip charts you design, then my answer is a
big fat YES!!!

I love being creative and designing flip charts is one of my favourite bits of putting together the finishing touches of a new training event; so as I set about designing my visuals for my new “Coaching for Leaders” workshop I thought I’d take the time to share some of them with you and a few hints and tips I’ve picked up (borrowed/stolen) along the way.

Keen Follower of Accelerated Learning

As a keen follower of accelerated learning principles I understand the impact the environment can have on the learners. The last thing I want to do is freak people out with a boring, grey, blank walled classroom that evokes memories of school and for some people it can act as a barrier for getting to know each other, for feeling welcome and for engaging with the workshop.

In the preparation phase of The Accelerated Learning Handbook, Dave Meier talks about creating a positive physical, social and emotional environment and how decorating the learning environment with colourful peripherals relevant to the topic can stimulate the learners interest and encourage engagement and curiosity. So I like to pre-prepare all my flip charts (see pics below) and put them up around the room; as delegates enter the workshop they are greeted with a “Welcome” sign and have plenty of opportunity to move around looking at the visuals and discussing them with others. This way they get a feel for the interactive and social tone of the workshop, a glimpse at some of the topics we’re going to cover to put them at ease and even a sneaky peek at some of the answers!

Hints and tips

So if you’re curious to see the impact this can have on your learners in future workshops and fancy ditching the projector and spicing up your flip charts here’s a few hints and tips to get you started:

  • Borders – simple, very effective and you don’t have to be an artist to get it right! There’s so many you can choose from, squiggly lines, arrows, picture frame, note book, double/single lines, computer screens…. and the best bit about borders is they only takes 2 minutes!
  • Icons and shapes– are a great way of making bullet points more exciting, they can also be added into the borders to outline the title or emphasise a key point. If you want to be really clever you could try using icons that match your subject; so if you are facilitating a time management workshop you could draw mini clocks in the corner of each flip chart!
  • Colours – I love using colour! The Big Book of Flip Charts by Robert William Lucas talks about
    enhancing your visual messages with colour and how the appropriate use of colour can connect key subjects and guide learners through a page of information. It does warn you not to use more than 3 at any time otherwise the flip chart can appear too busy and cause confusion. (Look out for the scented pens to double up on sensory stimulation, the fruit ones are lush!)
  • The 6 to 8 rule* – Research into neuroscience tells us that the brain can only retain 7 (+ or – 2) pieces of information in the short term memory. So don’t overload your flip charts with text, try and keep to a maximum of 6-8 lines with plenty of space. It looks much better, is clearer and easier to read and also ensures the learners are listening and not just reading.
  • Correcting mistakes – I picked up a wonderful tip from recently; she said when you make a mistake rather than throwing away your flip chart and starting again or scribbling out mistakes, just cut out a small section of paper from another sheet and stick it over the top! Magic! Another one to try is covering up the mistake with sticky address labels, though they’re not exactly the same colour so you may prefer not to. (Can you spot my cover up job in the pics below??)

Here’s a few examples of my latest flip-charts, showing you a variety of borders, icons and colours. Feel free to copy/steal/borrow mine or have fun designing your own…

FlipLucy2 FlipLucy3

Lucy is a valued team member at How to Accelerate Learning but also runs her own consultancy in West Yorkshire. She specialises in delivering focussed programmes, designed using accelerated learning principles and using the Learning Loop Approach. Her areas of expertise are: leadership, emotional intelligence, time management and coaching.

The Secrets of LNA shared ….at Olympia #cipdldshow

screen-shot-2016-05-13-at-12-59-36Earlier this week we set off for London for the CIPD L&D show, to exhibit for the second time. This time seemed easier, I knew what it might be like. What I was blown away with was, the interest in my session on “The Secrets of LNA – evaluating business alignment”.

There were enough seats for 70 and standing room at least double that. As I spoke, eyes fixed on me, heads nodded and people identified with the content.

I began quoting from the CIPD L&D survey of 2015: “Of the organisations polled only 25% said that L&D are fully aligned to the organisation“. So this worries me – what is happening in the other 75%? Where does your organisation fall? In the 25% or the 75%? If you don’t know or if you are in the 75%, consider this. How would you like:

  • L&D to be the change agents for your organisation?
  • It to be easy to justify budgets for L&D interventions?
  • When there is a downturn, L&D is not cut, but people are invested in?

By analysing the needs of your organisation before delivering any learning or training, you may find the things above become a reality!


Is this all just semantics? Are they just all the same? So here is the thing, if I conduct a Training Needs Analysis, the solutions are always going to be training. It is a little like having only a hammer in your toolbox and so everything looks like a nail. Often organisations who conduct only TNA’s may be either very technical in the learning they deliver, or it could be that they do not know much about the organisation and how it operates.

So how does a TNA differ from an LNA you might ask? So an LNA will be broader in its outlook, the equivalent of having now a hammer and maybe a wrench and a screwdriver along with some allen keys in your toolbox.. The outcome will always be a learning solution whether it is a book to read, some coaching, a webinar or a full blown qualification. What I would love to happen and here is where over the last few years I have been trying to use my Jedi mind tricks (I do know I am not Yoda btw), is when you are conducting an LNA, you ask some questions:

  • Is there something happening behind the scenes that I need to know about?
  • Is there something missing?
  • Is something not happening?
  • Is there something besides learning that these people need (eg more resources, better processes, more support etc?)

Those are just a few to get you started. These are great questions to ask if you are trying to dig deeper and look beyond the traditional training or learning needs. For this to be successful though there are some things that you will need in your personal toolkit:

  • An air of curiosity
  • A willingness to find out more about the organisations and how it works
  • The ability to speak the language of the stakeholders and not just in L&D speak
  • Persistence and courage to challenge when people just tell you to “DO it” (the training that is)
  • An overview of what the culture is like and how the organisation is structured (this can be key in determining how easy it is to get people on board and change minds. For example a company with a hierarchical structure and a blame culture will resist change and pass the buck. Whereas a matrix structure and a culture of empowering, will welcome your curiosity and fresh eyes to see what might be going wrong.
  • Infiltrate the organisation so you have your finger on the pulse of what is happening, now, not 6 months ago

Sometimes we may not be able to foresee when we need to do an LNAplanned or un. Have a look at the picture below to see some of the instances when they can be planned and when not. Try as much as you can to plan in your LNA’s (always thinking about what might be going on under the surface). Once you start doing regular LNA’s and demonstrating the value your solutions bring, it will become easier and easier to get the resources you need to do a valuable LNA and any subsequent solutions.

Once you know you are going to do an LNA, you then need to choose some suitable methods. Below is a table of many different LNA methods. You could start by trying to sort them according to whether they are high/low cost and whether they are suitable for individuals or groups.LNA Methhods This is one way to see which methods are going to be most suitable for your situation. You will also need to consider some other criteria, to be able to decide which methods are most suitable:

  • Your budget
  • Resources, such as people and tools
  • Time
  • Commitment from stakeholders – without this, it does make it harder*
  • Size and culture of your organisation

*Read this blog about stakeholder management

So finally …. here are some of the secrets of LNA (I am sure you knew these already!)

  • Know the difference between an LNA, TNA and NA (remember the Jedi mind tricks!)
  • Choose the most suitable methods (use triangulation – 3 methods to get a broader picture)
  • Plan the LNA when you can
  • Always keep the end in mind so that you are aligned to your business

Thanks to everyone who came to the session and participated. We were truly overwhelmed by the numbers who were there and also the numbers of people who spoke to us saying “We are in that 75% and we need help!”

This topic certainly seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people and my concern is that if you are in that 75%, you get the help you need to achieve alignment with your organisation. If you need help, then please phone for a chat to see what we could do. Phone Krys on 07952 416530 or email

Inspiration from the most unlikely places

I think it is important to be inspired as an L&D professional, otherwise how do you maintain your enthusiasm? How do you inspire others to change or to follow your lead? Just thinking about it, shouldn’t we all be inspired? So my thought today is about my own inspiration and where it has come from recently. The surprising thing is that for these two sources of inspiration that I will share I was never expecting to be inspired (maybe this is part of the process?)

The first story I will share is being asked to attend a course named “Leadership in Coaching”, via the church I attend. I have a coaching qualification, have coached for many years and consider myself competent and really did not expect to learn much or come away with anything new. After all church institutions always lag behind industry and the secular world don’t they?

Without going on too much, here it is! “Mining for Gold”.

Shared by Tom Comacho from Blue Ridge vineyard church. North Carolina.

Simple and succinct as every great model should be. It has radically altered my thinking about how we should develop people. Often people are described as “difficult”,”challenging”, ” creative” or “passionate” which are all behaviours, some of which we will never fathom!

So instead of looking for a way to fix this “difficult” behaviour, why not ” mine for the gold” within them? What are they passionate about? You will know this by the way their eyes light up when they talk about it and the way they become fluent and lose a sense of time! What are they good at? These are often things they find easy and takes little effort on their part. What has borne fruit or given them successes (no matter how small) in the past? When you find these sweet spot where these three things collide, that is the gold.

If these “difficult” people can begin to operate in this sweet spot, I believe not only will people grow in confidence and successes, but they will inspire others to do the same. Their lives will become enriched and they will have found their purpose…. Something that is severely lacking in today’s culture of  materialism. When you find your purpose and bless others with it, no matter how small that seems, others will be changed.
Some people may say that it is not dissimilar to “Strengths finders” by Gallup and you may be right. This model for me however is crystal clear and has given me a different outlook when talking to people, not just to look at their strengths (gifts?) but to look for that sweet nugget of gold I believe is in every one of us. To find out more about how they could operate in that sweet spot; to help them discover how to remove the barriers that may stop them.

So please indulge me just a moment, let’s imagine not just in corporate life, but in charities, care homes, job clubs, schools, everywhere, if we mined for the gold in everyone, what would our country look like? What would the world look like?

The second thing/person that has inspired me is a lady, who I will not name, as she is quite a private person. She is small (maybe not even five feet tall), slight( under 8 stone) and 80 years old. This lady has battled cancer, travelled to China, Outer Mongolia and Siberia as a missionary and even today, goes out onto the streets of Leeds to bless street girls in a not so nice area in Leeds. She is quiet, unassuming and humble but with the heart of a lion. She amazes me with her kindness and her love of others and many people will never get to meet her. Many people will walk by and not realise the gold within her. Many people will walk by and never realise how 10 minutes listening to her story, might change their outlook. Thanks to M….a for being an inspiration to me!

Are there people in your life that have inspired you? Maybe you have been unexpectedly inspired. If so, I would love to hear your story!

Walk this way…part 6… use accelerated learning principles

walk this wayThis is the sixth in this new series of blogs called “Walk this way”, where I am inviting you, the reader, to follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.




Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.








This time we will look at the 6th step – “Learning interventions are underpinned by accelerated learning principles*“.

*5 secrets of accelerated learning

My business is called “How to Accelerate Learning” and so obviously I am an advocate of accelerated learning:

  • Because it delivers results
  • It incorporates the latest thinking about learning in the best way possible (for maximum retention)
  • It incorporate great objectives as part of the process
  • It is creative, engaging and fun!

Key statistics about what accelerated learning can deliver

  • 300% improvement in retention by learners (Eliot Masie)
  • 30% cut in trainer prep time (Debbie Meddins, Atos L&D Manager after AL workshop)

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® and this approach, then please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

This is the final blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

Walk this way…part 5….. an explicit objective setting process

walk this wayThis is the fifth in this new series of blogs called “Walk this way”, where I am inviting you, the reader, to follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.




Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

This time we will look at the 5th step – “There is an explicit and practical objective setting process“.

Of those people that know me well, no one would deny that I am “hot” on objectives, some might say to the point of obsession. I make no excuses for this because I truly believe that in L&D we should always “Begin with the end in mind”, as Steven Covey said. I just checked my blog history and 16 of my blogs have a mention of objectives, including one writes for consultants asking “Are you too expensive?” and another asking “Do you know how to be objective?”, which checks to see if you know the difference between aims, organisational objectives, performance objectives and learning objectives.

So why this obsession with objectives and objective setting? Well let me first put it into context, it has to be as part of the whole approach – objective setting units own will not yield results if the previous 4 steps are missing. It will however give focus to learning as part of this approach that I am putting forward. Quite simply, by having an explicit objective setting process that everyone uses, we can drill down to;

  • What the organisation needs (by looking at organisational goals and plans)
  • Select which aspects of performance you need to improve (with line managers)
  • Design the learning outcomes you need to meet the organisational needs

So here is a short video that may help you  in this topic. Would love to hear your thoughts about the importance of objectives.

This is the fifth blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® and this approach, then please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

Walk this way…part 3…using a consultancy approach in L&D

walk this wayThis is the third in this new series of blogs called “Walk this way”, where I am inviting you, the reader, to follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.




Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

This time we will look at the 3rd step – “Developing a consultancy approach”.

If someone says “Jump!” do you say “How high?” or “Why?” To create a really good L&D function you have to ask probing questions such as using the SPIN®-Selling which was created by Neil Rackham. Asking questions is key to building a consultancy approach.

  • Situation questions – e.g. “How would you describe the current situation?”
  • Problem questions – e.g. “How often does this happen?”
  • Implication questions – e.g. “What impact does that have on your department?
  • Need/payoff questions – e.g. “If we could solve that, how would it benefit your department?”

The benefits of following such a methodical approach will be that you will provide real solutions that deliver what is needed and get that all-important stakeholder buy-in. If you can identify needs that can be addressed by L&D versus those that would need to be met by other means you will be well on your way to improving the perception of L&D in your company.

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

This is the third blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

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