Monkey Business

Earlier this summer was a first for me as I was approached to appear as a guest on podcast. Danny Seals was someone I met when presenting at the Digital Engagement Conference back in September 2017.  At the time, I was presenting on our new campaign and he was talking about how to use WhatsApp as a Learning Tool.

Since then we've been sharing a few tips with each other via LinkedIn and he has been a great supporter of this blog. What surprised me, after listening to him, was that Danny's background was in Learning & Development rather than Marketing. However, he has realised that Marketing is a sector which has many transferable lessons to help enhance the L&D offer. My feeling here is that Marketing gets the bigger budgets and is generally ahead in terms of measurement and technology from other related disciplines. This is generally down to access to bigger budgets due to being able to prove that Marketing is key to winning businesses in the form of new contracts and sales.

So, Danny has devised the Mindchimp podcast to chat to some of the best people in the industry to discuss what shapes them and their thoughts. In particular, learning and development, experience design, product/service design right through to marketing, communications and corporate culture.

The first series of around 25 episodes had an obvious focus on L&D professionals giving some great insight on their careers and what makes them tick. Then, as a natural evolution, the second series has more of a focus on what L&D can learn from other disciplines surrounding it (i.e. the aforementioned Marketing).

And that's where I got the call! Being on a podcast was to be a new experience to me as I'm usually the listener, on my drive to work, not the guest. There wasn't really any preparation required on my part and it was just a case of booking in a suitable time for a Skype call. Obviously I did listen to a few past episodes, just to get an idea of what I was in for, and found all of the guests to be pretty eloquent! Ouch!

Overall my experience was really good. Danny got straight in there with the challenging questions and quickly put me at ease. I did feel the pressure to answer the questions as quickly as possible so there wasn't any 'dead air'. I think I may have got a bit tired by the end too!

A few weeks ago Danny released the trailer for the new series (it was cringe-worthy enough hearing myself on there) and last Monday he got in touch to say the full episode was being released.

Overall, I am pretty happy that I gave a good account of myself, although the conversation fillers get a bit wearing ('um', and 'obviously' seem to be mine!) The one question I let myself down on was what are the five things that L&D professionals can learn from marketing. A pretty tough question when you're put on the spot (my poor excuse was that I was tired!) So, now I have the gift of time, here's how I should have answered!

1. Find champions - within any business there are people who have the positive influence and mindset to push forward new ideas and help craft new products. Identifying and engaging with them at the early stage of a project is vital
2. Use existing tools for buy-in - there's not always the need to procure a new system to fulfill a need. Sometimes the tools already exist (i.e. Instagram or MS Teams) and will take off faster if users are comfortable and familiar with them
3. Remember you're dealing with people - This is vitally important as in whatever you do digitally it is people who are the ultimate audience. So be as human as possible in the way you talk and write
4. Analyse - It's always easy to spend lots of time on what looks like doing the work. But without spending at least an equal amount of time analysing the results you'll never be able to keep learning
5. Personal projects - to properly stay relevant you need to be experimenting with your own projects. That could be blogging, design, video, photography or podcasting (like Danny!)

There's lots of places you can download the final show, and I'd definitely recommend subscribing and checking out the other episodes too:
And yes, I should have used the stockings as a fishing net!
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