“Logic will get you from a to z; imagination will get you everywhere”

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150. Speaker in the USA + Roadtrip

For the 5th time I was a speaker at the largest 4-day conference for trainers: the ATD International Conference & Expo, in the link you’ll find an aftermovie of the conference. The ATD (Association for Talent Development) hosts this event every year in May and about 10.000 learning professionals come to visit.

Last year it was held in San Diego, I was a speaker there as well and this year I flew to New Orleans for this conference. My workshop was on day 4 and titled: ’10 Brainboosters in Online Training’.

Around 400 learning professionals visited my session! I spoke about 10 facts and exercises that you can do as a live online trainer live that helps your audience focused during an online training, engaged and energetic. It’s a topic that many learning professionals found interesting, because they want people enjoying online sessions. This is a 1 minute video of my session:

I enjoyed giving the session about 10 brainboosters, I also told about the E-book 100 online teaching forms that I wrote and I sold E-books as well during that conference.

These e-mails and LinkedIn messages I received that day and the days after of participants were positive, so I was happy!

Dutch and Belgium colleagues Delegation

About 55 trainers/learning professionals from the Netherlands and Belgium also travelled to the USA for this conference and we met a couple of times as a group in the 4 days.

Some of these Dutch colleagues I also know from working in the Netherlands, but some were new to me, so it is nice to get to know each other during the conference, or having lunch/dinner during those days!

We call ourselves Lowlands delegation and even had T-shirts made as a group!

Americans make conferences more fun!

Before I became a trainer at 25 years, I studied Economics and Psychology at the Erasmus University in the Netherlands. And I always enjoyed the examples from the USA during my study, because they are so good in Marketing and making a 4-day conference a fun event!

For example, you can enjoy painting, playing tennis, have your picture taken, having ice cream breaks, cocktail hours, and a networking night in a Mardi Grass setting with foodtrucks and lots of fun activities. I really enjoyed the extra activities the conference offered and I got to know more colleagues from all over the world, for instance Yuri from Brazil, Kristian from Danmark, Robert from Slovenia or Christel from Aruba because of all the informal nice moments!

And no, below is not a real tattoo, this is a brain tattoo! Huh, a what? Another fun experience at this conference! The Storytelling company Dear World took us (10,000 people!) through 5 steps to make your own brain tattoo:

  1. Choose 3 values ​​that suit you (for me: growth, curious, connection)
  2. Now choose 1 value that you feel most strongly about/have stories about (= growth)
  3. Share stories about this with your neighbor (for me: Yuri Trafane)
  4. What phrase/motto do you always hear in your head about your value at important moments (“I’ve never done it before, so I think I can do it”)
  5. Have a photo taken in 1 of the 6 colors that suit you (in my case passion = red) with your brain tattoo written in marker on your body

My ‘braintattoo’ is a slogan that has helped me when making ‘growth decisions’ in my life (buying a catamaran, going on a world sailing tour, starting my company, speaking at international conferences).

I thought the brain tattoo exercie was an inspiring, creative and tangible way of storytelling!

Trends in Training and Learning 2024

I like to go this conference for the personal challenge of being a speaker for a large audience and speaking in English, getting to know more colleagues/clients. But also learning from other sessions during those 4 days. Because all authors, speakers and trainers that have developed important models/theories in my working field are there! For instance Kirkpatrick, Blanchard, Stephen Covey jr, Brene Brown!

It’s a pleasure to listen to sessions about new trends, or experience a workshop where you have to create a learning game, writing new ChatGPT prompt, hear the latest research on topics like motivation in learning or evaluation.

This year there were keynote speakers like Venus Williams, actor Matthew McConaughey and Daniel Pink, the author of ‘Drive’ about the 3 crucial factors in motivation.

Like last year, I had a collaboration with the Dutch Training Association NOBTRA, that I would summarize the most important topics of the conference in an online session.

About 115 participants from the Netherlands had registered for this session, so that was great!

Their comments about the 1,5 hour online session were enthusiastic, I was thankful for that!

Roadtrip from New Orleans to Miami

I had never been in New Orleans, so it was a great opportunity to get to know the southern state of Louisiana as well. Gilles and I visited the French Quarter in New Orleans, a sugar cane plantation where slaves used to work, we rented a car and drove to Baton Rouge and through the state of Mississippi, Alabama into Florida. In 2 weeks we travelled 1.000 miles, which is 1.600 kilometers.

You can really experience the South this way: you drive along wetlands, swamps (called the bayou), eat in American diners with the Southern kitchen (cajun, creole, pink lemonade, gravy in pulled pork and for dessert thick milkshakes or fried beignets)!

I was impressed by the Mississippi river, also the kindness and hospitaility in Louisiana and Alabama. In Florida we stayed for 1 week, visiting Miami, seeing manatees during a boattour at Crystal river, taking the watertaxi to see Fort Lauderdale and enjoying a sunset snorkel trip in Key West.

I really enjoyed travelling through the Southern states of America and I realize by looking at the 4 pictures above, that most of all I like being around water ;). So it was also time to get back to our catamaran and saying goodby to the USA after 2,5 week being there!

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