Friday, June 22, 2012

Connect Your Solution to Their Needs

illustration by: dgray_xplane
Teaching is all about a partnership. You are teaching and they are participating. If what you present is what they need and you present it in a way that captures their attention and holds it then you’ve had a successful teaching experience -- whether it's a webinar or an online self-pace course you've developed. Once you have their attention, by knowing the audience and their needs you need to keep that attention.
Remember, you have something of value to present and share. You have a possible solution to their needs. You know it, but they may not know it yet. Help them understand it. They could be somewhere else, even though they’re physically logged on. You need them to be not only “on the webinar” but “in the webinar”, engaged and fully focused.  

Review your teach and look for frequent opportunities to connect with them on their level. Your material's ability to mesh with their needs at every stage of the presentation is the best way of sending the right message.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Learning Explosion Now in Russian!

Our first book, The Learning Explosion (January 2011) is now officially translated into Russian. It is also found in Chinese, and will soon be in Korean. Here are some interesting facts about the book:
  • Listed on the Washington Post's top-five business-title list the week of July 20, 2011.  "Their (Muller and Murdoch) outstanding, authoritative book makes it clear that they have the chops to teach you how to organize online learning initiatives and how to plan, set up and run virtual classrooms. (we) recommend this concrete, easy-to-understand, highly enthusiastic explanation of virtual learning programs to chief learning officers, and to corporate education and training professionals."

  • Listed on the Shanghai Daily's  Top 5 US Business Books list, July 23, 2011. (Distributed in more than 50 countries and regions around the world)
  • Reviewed on The Wall Street Journal's online book review site,, on July 28, 201o (Audience of 1.2 million)
  • Featured in The Hindu, on July 3, 2011 (Indian newspaper with circulation of 14 million) "A book that can prepare you for the unfolding life that will have learning unobtrusively woven into it."
  •  Featured as a "Top Seller" in the Handelsblatt newspaper on August 22, 2011--the biggest German-language business and finance newspaper and is the most cited business medium in Germany. It boasts a circulation of almost 150,000 and has a daily readership of 500,000.
  • Business Wire press release, on June 3, 2011 was posted on 285 sites, including Bloomberg Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money and The New York Times.
  • Review in "The Press-Enterprise" newspaper on August 28, 2011. (The leading news and information source for Inland Southern California and boasts a daily print run of almost 150,000)

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Survive Webinars as an Extreme Sport

photo by: t r e v i
Webinars can be an extreme sport if you choose to push the limits. In order to do this and break free from the mundane–and survive–you need to be connected to a relevant network of people and organizations who can both push you to try the “extreme” and help you survive your webinar.

Commit yourself, today, to never doing ANYTHING on your own again – don’t try to think through it alone, work through it alone, solve it, suggest it, summarize or share it – alone. You have the resources, unlike any other time in history, to engage the best minds around YOUR issue. You may collect and reject a lot of what you’re offered but that’s a lot better than “winging it” all on your own. There are experts out there – find them, meet with them, listen to them, use them.

Take Action: Find resources that can connect you to others. These might be professional sites like LinkedIn or social sites like Facebook. They might be general interest gathering places or very task or job specific chat rooms where experts gather to share specific problems and to synergize solutions. Try connecting with some of these individuals and groups: 
@cindyhugg; eMarketing Association Network; The eLearning Guild; @janebozarth

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Declaration of War--On Bad Webinars

We’re declaring war—on bad webinars.

And we want you to join us.

This is a revolution and, like most revolutions, this one is both

against something 
 for something.

What we are fighting AGAINST

We’re against “Zombie” webinars where the walking dead hang out in cyber space, begging for someone to put them out of their misery.
We’re against mundane, talking head PowerPoint presentations. 
We’re against the insanity - doing webinars the same way we always do, even when they keep failing. 
We’re against working alone in silos. 
We’re against vapor world experiences – where no one talks, no one interacts, no one shares – it’s just me, my webinar and – nothing…


We’ve tolerated and nurtured the webinar as it is for years. We’ve made some real advances and done some very cool things. We’re closer than ever to getting past the machine and up next to the people. But, we still have a long way to go. And, we don’t believe that webinars can continue to evolve incrementally, like some single celled amoeba waiting another million years to get closer to the edge of the ooze and start growing some legs. We must speed up the evolutionary process. This needs to be more caterpillar/butterfly and less dinosaur/human.

And so we’re declaring war – on bad webinars, and we want you to join us. We want you to join us in committing to KEEP doing the things that work and STOP – now – doing the things that don’t work, that never worked,

…that will never work.

What we are fighting FOR

We’re for captivating our audience through eloquent delivery and beautiful design. 
We’re for pushing the limits of our technology. 
We’re for amplifying what works and what doesn’t. 
We’re for synergy and sharing.
We’re for better transformational webinar design and delivery. In our previous book, The Learning eXPLOSION, we laid out some of the rules we should follow to create great webinars. Now we’re taking those rules to the street – to you. This requires action.

In the next few weeks we will be launching our newest book, The Webinar Manifesto, and we'll be asking you to join this revolution and help spread the word about this movement. So stay close and together we'll win this battle!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Movement is About to Begin. Are You In?

We have not been as active as we usually are on our blog because our focus has been on finishing "The Webinar Manifesto: Never Design, Deliver, or Attend Crappy Webinars Again."

It's amazing how much time, research, and effort goes into writing a book. There is always tweaking, fine-tuning, and overhauling to do. But there comes a time when you have to just let it go. We are at this phase in the book writing process right now...just letting go. So, now its onto flowing the copy into the document and getting the design just right.

The 7 Manifesto Priniciples we introduce in the book are:
1. Connect or Crash
2. Don't Default
3. Shut Down The Ugly
4. Captivate or Alienate
5. Humanize The Screen
6. Crack The Feedback Code
7. Cage The Monsters

If you are interested in signing the Webinar Manifesto and joining the movement against crappy webinars stay tuned. You will play a VERY important role in this revolution.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Introduce a Connect-the-Dots Strategy to Your Job

Most coloring books come with connect-the-dots pages.

You know, pages with seemingly random numbers and dots spread out all over the paper. To make sense of, and discover the hidden image on these pages, you have to put your pencil down on the dot by the number one and draw a line to number two, then number three, and so forth. After connecting all of the dots in sequence, you end up with an image of a car, or a rabbit or a flower.

The newly discovered end product is a complete contrast to the initial smattering of dots first experienced. One dot, by itself, didn't represent anything. All of the dots by themselves still didn’t represent anything. It’s not until all the dots are connected that you actually see a finished product. The answer you were seeking was always on the page, it just took you to connect the pieces to see it.

               You are one dot. *
                                           * * * * * * There are millions of other dots.

The game we play in our professional life is similar: to connect to the right dots so that we can support each other with questions and issues we have with any of our current projects.

You need to connect socially.

Find and connect to other relevant groups -- sometimes into great adventures, sometimes into great tragedies and sometimes into serendipitous discovery. And then connect back with the rest of us and share your knowledge.


Connecting is not always advantageous or productive. Especially in a virtual world where everybody, everywhere is off doing their own thing, paying little or no attention to what everyone else is doing. Less interaction, less sharing, less synergy, less world changing stuff going on.

Most of us use the social media connections not to go to anywhere important – the new idea, the new solution, the important discussion, the critical synergy. Nope, we use it to wander around, often in circles. Sure, we chat a lot, especially with the person who just popped up next to us. But we don’t talk about much of substance. After all, typical social network connections seem to be something we only grab on to when we’re done with work, with the important stuff, the thinking and solving stuff. We rarely seem to use it to improve our expertise and skills -- let alone share our knowledge with others. It’s mostly used just for hanging out.

What if we re-introduced a connect the dots approach into the important work of business – finding ideas, locating thinkers, connecting to others, problem creation and problem solving. What if we spent more time connecting dots at work and less time as a solitary dot struggling to find our way through something all alone in our cubicle?

Try this: Want to see who's connected to you and who you're connected to? If you're on LinkedIn, go to this site for a great graphical map of your connections. Or
go to this site and type in your blog address or social network URL for a list.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to unblock your creativity

Are you experiencing a creative mind block? 

We find that when we're stumped by a problem at work we need to read or see something that is completely random -- meaning it has nothing to do with the problem at hand. For example, if you work in a business setting all day, take time to shake up your brain and look up information break dancing or how to drive a sports car or how to watercolor.

For some reason, it will help change your brain waves and help you think in different, creative ways. Here is a list of some web sites that can help stir up your grey matter when you need some fresh ideas to help you think creatively:

Future Technology Portal: Crazy futuristic ideas and images
Picocool: Random images from social media and subcultures
PrintMag: Where you can read/see innovative print design. We also found this awesome video there created by Element X Creative (check out their demo reel).
Poetry Foundation: Fill your mind with new combinations of words
Dvice: Feed your technology obsession

There are a bajillion other places to visit so, if you've got other sites add your comment to this post so other's can learn from you.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Webinar Hypnosis

You all know how hypnosis works – pick a spot, fixate on that spot, listen carefully to my voice, keep looking at that spot, hearing my voice, you’re getting sleepy, sleepy, sleepier…. You’re now fully relaxed and in my power….

How’s that different than “sit there while I talk at you”, “look at your screen or that tiny webcam at the top of the screen”, “stay focused on that unmoving, text drenched PowerPoint… and don’t feel sleepy, sleepier, sleepier…

The goal of webinars should not be to induce an hypnotic state. You shouldn’t create a “spot” for people to focus on while you lull them into a near death experience.

The goal of webinars should be to induce an engaged, interactive, vital state. Not nap time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What is your Twitter strategy?

Twitter is one of the big three social media sites. In our opinion, LinkedIn and Facebook make up the other two. Social media has also received a lot of media lately thanks to the now infamous and inappropriate antics of politicians (Anthony Weiner), sports stars (Brett Favre), celebrities (Gilbert Gottfried), and many other "not so famous" web citizens.

One recent article on actually lists some of these in their, "10 People Who Lost Jobs Over Social Media." 

Besides some of the negative press associated with Twitter and social media, there is really a lot of productive ways to use 140 characters. So, how do you use Twitter?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We have a winner! See what the cover of our next book is thanks to YOUR input.

Thanks to your feedback and input, we have what we feel is a great cover for our new book, The Webinar Manifesto: Never Design, Deliver, or Attend Crappy Webinars Again! (Coming in May 2012)

Many of you who voted on our Facebook page, contacted us via Twitter, and gave us your opinion at learning conferences we presented at. While the voting was close, this design kept rising to the top.

With this book we intend to start a movement against badly designed and poorly delivered webinars. We will be enlisting the help and wisdom of several other thought leaders and platform providers in this movement. To give you a feel for what is coming, here are several of the principles we will be presenting:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are you trapped in an intellectual hall of mirrors?

Oftentimes we're trapped in an intellectual hall of mirrors. We get lost in our own knowledge and only reflect what we know and nothing else. We aren't able to break past the glass that shows us what is familiar and into other circles where our knowledge could be expanded indefinitely.

Through the power of the Learning Explosion, you now have the ability to find your way past the mirrors and into a whole new world of knowledge. Try it now. Click here or here or here and find something you never knew before.

Go on...explore.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thunderstorm vs Snowstorm Teachers

Living in the Rocky Mountains we need snow to survive. It piles up in the mountains and then slowly melts throughout the spring and summer filling up our lakes and reservoirs. Without snow we wouldn't have enough water to drink through the rest of the year. We've learned to love it when a snowstorm rolls through and drops feet of deep powder on our mountains.

When you learn something, which teachers made the biggest impact on you? The most lasting impact? Was it the equivalent to a snowstorm or a rain shower?

Thunderstorm Teachers are those who come in with a big bang, make lots of teaching noise dump some water on your head and then leave quickly--along with their precipitation.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

If you don't put it online, don't print it!

I was flipping through a magazine the other day, when a particular article got my attention. After reading it, I immediately wanted to share it with you and others online.

However, after searching online for a while I could not track it down. It was nowhere to be found. Not even the magazine website (which will remain anonymous) had any reference to it...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today's the day! You've got an extra 24 hours!

You've said it. We've said it. Everyone's said it. "If I only had an extra 24 hours I could learn to..."

Well stop dreaming and start enjoying because, thanks to the switch over to the Gregorian calendar 430 years ago, you now have that extra day. It's called Leap Year. So, what will you do with it?...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Have Apps Made Your Life Easier?

With the number of iPhone app downloads nearing 25 Billion we have been asking ourselves if these handy little tools have made our lives easier or just more complicated.

With this question in mind I did some personal research and found that out of the 102 applications on my iPhone, this is how I used them (not counting the basic apps like Calendar, Phone, Texting, Music, Clock, and Email--these I use all the time):
  • Daily - Besides the basics already listed I probably only use 5 to 7 apps--Wunderlist (To do list), Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Hootsuite...
  • Weekly - Over the span of seven days my circle of apps more than doubled to around 15 (including the five already mentioned)--Instagram, HootSuite, Accounts (Banking and Checkbook), Evernote (Notes), Pinterest, Words with friends (Scrabble game), Flashlight, Calculator, Fandango...
  • Monthly - Surpisingly the total number of apps I used in a month only increased by a few to around 20...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why we LOVE social media...

On valentines day we presented a session on our how to build a Mutant Learning Lab, or Social Learning Lab, at Training Magazines 2012 Conference.

In summary, the session was how we can effectively use social media and the web in general for learning. The five-step process we introduced included, connecting to the relevant few (sites and people), creating a system where relevant information is either pushed to us or where we can easily retrieve it, scheduling just fifteeen minutes five times a day to work in your lab, following a three-step process of scanning, reviewing, and studying in our lab, and then sharing what we learn with the community...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Social media can be an effective way to learn!

According to a Nielsen Social Media Report, “in 10 major global markets, social networks and blogs reach over 75% of active Internet users.” Which means most of you reading this post are probably already socially connected in the traditional social media sense.

The mantra we want you to adopt is to “Join the relevant few,” because you can very easily get caught in an online web of irrelevance. We would like to bring to your attention to the fact that social media can be a effective form of informal learning, if you take the right approach, that is.

For starters, you should join the Big 3 of social media, if you haven’t done so already. They are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (Google+ is making a serious push to break into this elite group, but is not quite there yet.)  While LinkedIn is not like your typical social network, it does does share many social media characteristics, making it the number one method of connecting to other like-minded business professionals. The power of this network is found in the groups that are founded and run by experts in a wide variety of industries.
As you start connecting to the big three, make sure you separate out the benign, banal, and boring that is so prevalent in some social media circles. Don’t waste your social time on irrelevant people or topics. Avoid the self-centered individuals who erroneously think the rest of the world cares what they are eating.

Choose to follow, like, and join ONLY relevant thought leaders, research sites, trade magazines, and knowledge brokers that can help you become competent in the topic or area you want to be competent in.

If you follow this simple advice of only joining a few social media sites, and then only following the relevant few who can help you focus on an area you wish to learn about, you will be amazed at how effective social media can be as a form of oinformal learning.