Speak Like a Mouse: Eight Strategies to Pixie-Dust Your Presentations | Recorded Webinar

Speak Like a Mouse: Eight Strategies to Pixie-Dust Your Presentations

60 minutes

Walt Disney was a creative genius, a master showman, and an amazing teacher who once firmly proclaimed, “The normal gap between what is generally regarded as ‘entertainment’ and what is defined ‘educational’ represents an old and untenable viewpoint.”

The entertainments Disney created were both informative and enjoyable – unlike many learning programs. When entertainment and learning are aligned Disney style, the results are magical; participants pay attention, they absorb information, and they change behavior.

In this insightful and engaging presentation, Lenn Millbower, a 25 year Walt Disney World training leader and the author of the book Care Like a Mouse, shares the ways in which Walt’s entertainment strategies can be, and were, applied to actual learning challenges. Focusing on your needs, you will then identify specific tactics to make your own presentation, training program, class or communication magic.

Attendees will learn

  • The connection between entertainment and learning so you can pixie-dust your learning objectives with messages that matter to your learners.
  • To identify the strategies Walt Disney’s theme parks use to draw people into the experience so you can apply specific tactics to capture learner attention and maintain focus.
  • The techniques Disney’s team used to transform rides into immersive environments so you can create your own captivating learning experiences.
  • Disney’s approach to making a message so memorable that the meaning sticks for years afterwards so you can create magical memories for your audience. 

Who should attend

  • Leaders and managers
  • Independent consultants
  • Others interested in Disney’s workplace method 

Resources

Presenter

Lenn Millbower

Lenn Millbower, the Mouse Man™ and author of Care Like a Mouse, teaches Walt Disney-inspired service, leadership, innovation, training, and success strategies. Everything Disney touched seems magical. It isn’t. It’s method. Lenn saw that method up close. He spent 25 years at Walt Disney World: Epcot Operations trainer, Disney-MGM Studios stage manager, Animal Kingdom opening crew, and Disney Institute, Disney University, and Walt Disney Entertainment management. Now he shares methodologies that will help you make your own magic. Connect with Lenn on LinkedInTwitter, and at www.likeamouse.com.

Sponsor

Product - Product design
The HRDQ Online Assessment Center

A library of 40+ online assessments that deliver soft skills training to transform your workforce. HRDQ Online Assessments are informative and powerful learning tools for employees at all organizational levels. And our platform makes delivering and administering them fast, efficient, and secure.

Learn more about the HRDQ Online Assessment Center >>

Watch the video

Play Video

Sarah Cirone:

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s webinars, Speak Like a Mouse: Eight Strategies to Pixie-Dust Your Presentations hosted by HRDQ-U presented by Lenn Milbower. My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, please type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel. And we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session. Today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQ’s Assessment Center. The Assessment Center consists of 38 online assessments that deliver soft skills training to transform your workforce. HRDQ assessments are informative and powerful learning tools for employees at all organizational levels with the ability to complete assessments from any location on any device and at any time.

Sarah Cirone:

Learn more at www.hrdqstore.com/hac. And now I’d like to give a welcome to our presenter today, Lenn Milbower the mouse man and author of Care Like a Mouse. Lenn teaches Walt Disney inspired service, leadership, innovation, training, and success strategies. Everything Disney touched seems magical, but it isn’t, it’s method. And Lenn saw that method up close. He spent 25 years at Walt Disney World as an Epcot operations trainer, Disney MDN Studios stage manager, Animal Kingdom opening crew, and was part of Disney Institute, Disney University and Walt Disney Entertainment Management. Now he shares methodologies that will help you make your own magic. It’s an honor to have you speaking with us today, Lenn.

Lenn Milbower:

Hey, thank you. Glad to be here. And I would like to give a special shout out to a couple people that I know are in the audience. One is Chester Stevenson. Chester and I were on the International Alliance for Learning board together. And Karen Gates who was a mantra to me at the Disney University. And everyone else there, welcome as well. Today, we’re going to talk about how to speak like a mouse. It’s an entertainment and advertising perspective, and I hope it will help you deliver a better presentation. Now, I’d like you to think of a presentation and your ability to deliver a presentation in three segments, three circles, if you will, three links. You’ve got the person who is absolutely fluent at speaking on stage, and they know what to do with their hands. They know how to stand, words just flow naturally out of their mouth.

Lenn Milbower:

Then you’ve got the person, may not necessarily be the same presenter, but you have the person who is all fact-based, words flow out of their mouth, but they’re not with the fluency of professional presentation. This is more of the subject-matter expert, the person who just goes fact after fact, after fact, after fact. And then you’ve got the third person who is an excellent presenter at presenting fun. People have a wonderful time in their class. They’re not necessarily the most fluent in their presentation, they may not necessarily have all the facts, but boy, you have a good time. Now, I think that the best learning comes when you can merge all three because if you’re one of those and not the other two, you may end up with your attendees running out of the room when you’re done.

Lenn Milbower:

So my question for you just to frame up what we’re going to do today is what do you think your percentage in each link is? What’s your percentage of fluency? What’s your percentage of facts and of fun? If you take 100%, how would you divide that up? We’re not going to share yours with the entire world, it’s just a way for you to be thinking about what we’re going to talk about today. Well, Sarah, I’ll let you explain this. We have the question area. And if I’m saying this correctly, what you would do is you would write the word facts X percentage, fun X percentage, fluency X percentage. And I’ll leave it to you Sarah if I’ve left anything out of that explanation.

Sarah Cirone:

Yes. Lenn, you got that right. So whenever Lenn’s asking you to participate in the question area, you can just free type your response in to the question box on your control panel. And for this exercise, you’ll want that percentage to add up to 100%. Let’s see, Stephanie says fluency 25%, fun 15%, facts 60%. Leo says facts 30%, fluency 30%, and fun 40%. And let’s see, we have a lot coming in here. We’ll read off one more rom Brian. We have facts 45%, fun 30%, and fluency 25%.

Lenn Milbower:

Yeah, interesting. It’s good to have a good balance with these. Now, I realize some subjects are more technical than others. And I’ve discovered if you have a really technical subject, if you do a couple of fun things, you’ve probably done enough. But it’s also important for us as presenters, facilitators, trainers to make sure we’re as good as we can be in each of these areas. So using that as a jump off point, Walt Disney’s take on education is interesting. He said the gap between entertainment and education represents an old and untenable viewpoint. He said that very early on. And Walt unfortunately been gone for about 70 years now, so that shows you how far back that was. And Walt demonstrated it in everything he did.

Lenn Milbower:

So for instance, you have the Goofy How To series, how to play baseball, football, golf, how to ride a horse. The last one they did was how to hook up your home TV system. It was very funny. And then during the World War II, the Disney Studio turned to making military shorts. And those include the winged scourge, which by the way you might think is about airplanes. It’s actually about mosquitoes and how to combat mosquitoes when you’re in the Pacific arena. Victory Through Air Power was very influential in convincing the US military to use air power. Donald in Math Land was done a little bit later, and it teaches you how to do math. And how to have an accident at work is also a Donald Duck cartoon. Very, very funny, but very educational.

Lenn Milbower:

And by the way, you may wonder how come Disney did not become a big player in education other than the Disney Institute and the Disney students series that they offer? And the answer is that Walt tried, but he couldn’t get one theory of what made for the best education from the educators. There were too many competing theories. And he finally threw up his hands and he said, “Well, boys, we’ll entertain them. And if they learn something, that’s better.” So I saw a lot of this entertainment and education in my career. Just very quickly up in the upper left is me at the land boat ride, a lot less middle, a lot more hair. Then a lead at horizons, then getting my leadership certification and then being a stage manager for the turtles and being a parade manager at Disney MGM Studios, the entertainment training coordinator at Epcot, opening Animal Kingdom, working at the Disney Institute and getting the Partners In Excellence award.

Lenn Milbower:

So, yes, I worked for the mouse, but this is not a Disney sponsored presentation. It’s no way authorized, endorsed by, affiliated with, has very little to do with Disney other than my own opinions. And those opinions are largely captured in my book called Care Like a Mouse. So if you like it, it’s all me. If you don’t, don’t complain to Disney, it’s still me. Having said that, I had from my prior entertainment career before joining the mouse come up with something I called learnertainment and applied that at the Disney University and the Disney Institute and discovered much to my surprise that it aligned very well with Walt. So I’m going to introduce you to those concepts and the action steps very quickly. You have them in the handout piece anyway.

Lenn Milbower:

So here’s the concept, emotion creates memory, and the action step is to evoke emotion. Now, let me review the other ones and then we’ll do something with these. Perspectives deepen meaning, so you should layer your learning program. Visuals aid retention, so should present in pictures. Professionalism produces results, so you should really work to perfect your performance. Suggestions guide outcomes, so you want to the outcomes you want. You want it to just seem like magic to your participants. The environment talks, so you want to stage your surroundings because it sends a message. And sound trumps sight, so you want to use music and audio wherever you can. And laughter produces positivity, so you want to harness humor. So those are the eight principles. Basically you could say it’s emotion, layering, visuals, performance, music, illusion, staging, and humor.

Lenn Milbower:

What I’d like to ask you is thinking about the Disney experience, now the picture is of the tree of life, but we’re talking anywhere on Disney property. Thinking of the Disney experience, how does Disney use emotion, use the layering of the experience, use visuals, use performance, music, illusion, staging, or humor? And what I’d like you to do in the chat box is if you’re going to talk about visuals, you would write visuals slash highly attractive big tree, whatever you want to say there. And let’s see what you say. How does Disney deliver these things?

Sarah Cirone:

So take a few minutes to type your response into the question area, and we will shout out some of the responses that we receive. Pat says visual big and bold. Ann says extensive use of symbols. Rachel says visuals, lots of color. Lisa says Mickey Mouse everywhere, even hidden. Philip says visual, bright, vivid colors. Catherine says dynamic images, compelling stories. Let’s see, Lucilia says emotions, magical kids fantasy. A few more we’ll read off here. We have tons coming in. Joel says emotion, nostalgia. Debbie says music everywhere to set the tone.

Lenn Milbower:

Yeah. All those are very true. Of course my background is musical background, so I very much appreciate that one. But yes, it’s true. And we’re going to talk about some of those things and see how they might apply in a training or a presentation environment. But given that we only have an hour, unless you guys want to stick around for four or five, we’re going to focus on four, evoke emotion, layer learning, present in pictures, and perfect your performance. So let’s start with evoke emotion. Interesting quote from Walt, others hit intellect, we hit emotion. Those who appeal to intellect only appeal to a very limited group. Very provocative, but he was onto something. You see, this is the human brain, of course. On the lowest end, you’ve got the brainstem, and that’s very primitive. That’s the thing that animals have the most of, particularly reptiles.

Lenn Milbower:

And on the upper end, you have the neocortex. That’s the thinking brain, the intellectual brain, if you will. The brain that humans have the most developed and that animals depending on their place in, if you will, the hierarchy have lesser development going all the way down to the lizards that just basically have a brainstem. Then you’ve got this purple-ish area in the middle called the limbic system. Now, the reason the limbic system is interesting is it’s the center of emotions. It’s where that fight or flight response comes from. It’s also the gatekeeper to long-term memory. And that’s very interesting to know and very helpful for a trainer or a presenter. Now, speaking of logic versus emotion, these two pictures I took them. And I took them at the opening of a mall here in central Florida.

Lenn Milbower:

On the left is the Microsoft store, on the right is the Apple store. Now, I use Microsoft products. In fact, these pictures I’m showing you are on a PowerPoint. I think Microsoft products are very good, and I’m pretty fluent with Word as well. But they’re logical, they’re detailed. Comparatively, the Apple products, which I’m on an Apple computer at the moment are very intuitive, very emotional. I don’t think it’s an accident that the Apple store is filled and the Microsoft store is not. And in fact, if I understand correctly, Microsoft has shut these stores because they just didn’t draw the crowd. It’s because, in my opinion, they weren’t emotional enough. So let’s look at emotion and how it can help learning.

Lenn Milbower:

Now, I have here what I call the memory chain. And I have these four components, attention creates, emotion creates, entertainment creates, meaning creates. What I would like you to do is put them in the correct order. And Sarah will tell you where to do that in a second. So basically you’d be looking to put together an order that’s something like attention creates emotion, which creates entertainment, which creates meaning or in whatever order you think is the correct. And there are your four choices. So pick the order you think is correct, and then we’ll talk about it.

Sarah Cirone:

Yeah. So I’ve just launched the poll. You can take a few moments here to submit your answer.

Lenn Milbower:

Oh, it’s fluctuating some, isn’t it?

Sarah Cirone:

It is. And again, just a couple more moments here, we still see those responses streaming in. Okay, great. I will share those results now with the audience, Lenn.

Lenn Milbower:

All right. Well, some of you have it right. Let me explain this to you now then. And we’re going to start with the second one in the chain because it actually … Well, it’ll make sense why we’re doing that in a minute or two. When something emotional happens, your brain snaps to attention. The reason it snaps to attention is that fight or flight response I was talking about. It’s like this could be dangerous, better pay attention. That attention then creates meaning. So what the brain does, and obviously I’m not a brain scientist, I’m synthesizing and simplifying so that we can grab a hold of this. So what the brain does is it rivals, if you will, through its memory banks searching for something that is like what the emotion caught the attention of. So it’s like, what does this mean? And how does this relate?

Lenn Milbower:

And if you’ve ever had an experience in a training room where you say something and then a trainee tells you a story about what her grandma used to do. What that trainee is actually doing is taking that attention and assigning a meaning to it. So something emotional happens, it snapped you to attention. Your brain quickly tries to figure out the meaning of that thing that’s caught your attention. And then if that thing that happened is meaningful and may need to be remembered again, the gatekeeper, the limbic system allows it into long-term memory. So emotion creates attention, attention creates meaning, and meaning creates memory. Now, here’s the interesting part. Because a lot of things create negative emotion and we remember those pretty well like, for instance, if you remember the riots this summer or if you remember the storming, if you will, of the Capitol Building. Both of those things were emotional for people.

Lenn Milbower:

So that will be remembered as 9/11 is most remembered and other traumas get remembered. But entertainment is one of those few things that creates positive emotion. Now, what I take from all this is if your attendees are having a positive emotional experience in your training environment, then they may remember what you said. So entertainment creates emotion, emotion creates attention, attention creates meaning, and meaning creates memory. So that’s what 36% had, yay. So how does that relate? Well, for most training programs, we have objectives. That’s what the company wants you to learn. And it’s a logical that we have objectives because that’s what the company needs. And it’s important to have some objectives so you’re just not floundering around in the room.

Lenn Milbower:

However, we often assume that those objectives will matter to the learners. And truthfully, they do to some people. But I would suggest not everyone because what really matters to them is how something impacts their life. So let me give you an example. Let’s say your company is putting in place a new paying system, a new way for people to log their hours so they get paid. So the objectives would be things like learn how to fill out form 2221B, learn how to verify that your hours were entered correctly, learn how to log off of the computer. Now, of course, I’m making those up as we’re talking. And all those things would be important to the organization and truthfully to the learner. But they’re not meaty, they don’t grab the learner.

Lenn Milbower:

However, if you take that same program and build a whole program around what you like to do in your life. So for instance, this person likes to go out, take their kids out to Chuck E. Cheese on the weekend, this person likes to go to museums, this person likes movies. Neither of those you can do right now with COVID, but do you understand what I’m saying. This person just likes to make sure the house is paid off and there’s groceries. And the way you get those things that impact your life is by paying yourself properly. So if you restructured the training around what you want out of your life and how we’re going to help you get it, then all of a sudden you’ve got a hook that people will pay attention to.

Lenn Milbower:

So the next thing I want to talk about is perspectives and how perspectives deepen meaning. There’s a debate, and it’s about learning styles. And are they real or not? Frankly, I don’t care. What I think is you don’t build it for yourself as Walt did. You figure out what people want, and you build it for them. So you can’t possibly know what the people attending your program want or you’d have to survey them and then you’d have to analyze the data. So you can’t know that, but what you can do is do so many different things that at some point you’re reaching everybody. Irregardless of what the subject is, what I try to do is answer these four questions in sequence. Why should I pay attention to this? What are the basics? Now that I know the basics, how does it work? And where can I use it?

Lenn Milbower:

So it’s like the why pay attention if you know the disc profile, it’s kind of like the high I, it’s the people that like to talk a lot. And the whats are Ss or the people that really want to know what the experts have to say. The how are the Cs in that disc profile. They’re the people that need to get their hands on it. And the wheres are the people that just want to take it and do something with it. So any subject I present, I try to continually go through that cycle. And by the way, if you are interested in instructional design and how that cycle would work in instructional design, a previous seminar I did for HRDQ-U is called the Disney Inspired Approach to Learning. And you can find lots of detail on this there.

Lenn Milbower:

Now, the other thing is while I’m answering those four questions, what I try to do is do what the Chip brothers who wrote Made to Stick, which by the way is a marvelous book. If you’ve never read it, it’s worth the read. They said, memory is like Velcro. The more hooks the information has, the better it clinks. Now, how do I put hooks in? I use Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner said, people are intelligent at different things, and people whose intelligences are engaged learn more effectively. Now, truthfully like many learning styles, his theory has not been proved. It’s not like they can point to a region of the brain and say, here’s where a specific intelligence is. Again, I don’t really care what I use multiple intelligences to do, it’s try to communicate in a number of ways. My thinking is we talk a lot about diversity, and we tend not to do anything with how one of the ways we are most diverse. And then it’s how we take in information.

Lenn Milbower:

So let me talk for a minute about the eight intelligences and share how that might work in something. The intelligences are musical rhythmic. Now, think about a bird always singing. Naturalist, which is the natural world. So Mufasa there, I guess. Interpersonal, which is like, think about how a dog is always happy and ready to see you. It’s a people animal. And then you’ve got the intrapersonal, you could compare that to the cat that just, no, thank you, just leave me be. And then you’ve got the logical mathematical folks, and that would be like the beaver who’s constantly billing and making the dam work. The verbal linguistic, you could say that’s like a parrot. The bodily kinesthetic, to me that reminds me of squirrels just scurrying all over the place. And the visual spatial, the hawks flying from above.

Lenn Milbower:

So I try to intersperse things that will appeal to each of these areas throughout my why, what, how, where. So let’s take an example. Let’s say you’ve got a traditional orientation. And I frankly think that orientations are the most squandered opportunity for many new hires. And, again, I recognize that in the era of COVID, things are a bit different right now. But assuming we ever get back to an onsite orientation, let’s talk about that. So a traditional orientation would have lecture and video and a leader would talk to you, and there’d be a lot of company’s facts, and they present you with a mission and vision. And there’d be a lot of paperwork to sign. And you get a walking tour where they’d say, “Here’s your lockers, here’s where you pick up your paycheck. Here’s where the human resources folks are if you ever need them.”

Lenn Milbower:

But imagine an MIed orientation instead. Now, I did one of these for Epcot entertainment, and I did another one for Animal Kingdom entertainment. And the Epcot entertainment one is an example, had theme music. We used something that sounded like the Mission Impossible theme, the. It had engaging activities. And the way it started was you were challenged by a guy that was on the TV screen, looked like Robert Stack. This was back in the era where Unsolved Mysteries was on TV. And he challenged you to find your packet in the room. So it was interpersonal, you had to get up, you had to move around. You were working with other people, you find your top secret packet. And then in that packet were a lot of facts and statistics you had to look at that explain what a mission was, what a vision was, and the statistics about how effective the organization was at pleasing guests.

Lenn Milbower:

Then you went on a discovery tour to see the mission and vision in action. And you weren’t just getting shown where your lockers were, you would get that during the process of the tour. But what was actually happening was you were seeing how the mission was put in place. Now, there’s one thing we did earlier that I didn’t mention. And I want to talk about visualizing success, which is partway down this page. But one of the things we had people do very early on, and we use this as the opening activity after they’d found their packets is to draw their own reason for being there. So one person would draw they wanted to bring home a paycheck, another person would draw they wanted to make pixie-dust. And we use those drawings as the introduction. Then a little later on while they’re walking around the park, they’re looking at maps for layouts.

Lenn Milbower:

While we’re walking around, we’re pointing out the landscaping, talking about the recycling footprint, the way the corporation takes care of nature. We had group discussions about vision and mission. And then when we came back into the room, we had them list out the things they saw that were working for the mission and weren’t working. And we were able to take those observations, because these were newbies, and share them with the appropriate person in the appropriate department. And then finally, we asked them, now that they knew what their vision was, mission was, and they knew what ours was to tell us how they would align their mission with ours. Now, in doing the program that way, you had a very deep meaning develop. People would actually ask to do that orientation again. And I would get evaluations back that said, not only did I learn about the organization, I learned about myself today.

Lenn Milbower:

So they were aligned to deliver the mission once they left orientation way beyond knowing where their paychecks would be. The next thing I want to talk about is presenting in pictures. You may have noticed my PowerPoints are vibrant, that’s intentional. As Walt said, humans learn life lessons by seeing pictures before writing and speaking. They still learn most readily by pictures. So anytime you can do a visual, you’re ahead of the game. And Walt and his people were masters at the visual as demonstrated by this look of Main Street, USA. Now, I want to talk for a couple minutes about color. If you were driving down the highway and you needed a fast food fix and you pulled off the highway and you saw a Burger King, a Wendy’s, and a McDonald’s sign, you would notice the golden arches first.

Lenn Milbower:

And why is that? It’s because the neuro-linguistic programmers tell us that yellow is the first color people see, and that red is an exciting color. So McDonald’s has got it all covered. Those golden fried, they look so delicious. The arches tell you exactly what’s going on. And the red builds some excitement. Here’s a sign, a local shopping center right near my house. And if you were to look at it as a glance as most writers do, the Wells Fargo sign really stands up. The only reason the Publix sign can compete with it is because Publix is a supermarket and green is a earth home color. So red for excitement, yellow to draw attention, green to say hearth and home. If on the other hand you’re wanting to say that our product is safe, you can trust us, nothing to worry about, you would do it in a nice calming blue.

Lenn Milbower:

This is one of my favorite logos. Unfortunately, Holiday Inn is not using it anymore. I think they went through a question of who their clientele was and they decided to go more towards home and less towards corporate. However, if you look at the top of the sign, it is very homey. If you look at the bottom of the sign, it is very business. So you’ve got the gray for business, but a little green to say even though you’re on business, you can relax here. And then you’ve got the green up top that says, yeah, this is like you’re coming home. But even then they put that strip of yellow in there because yellow is the first color you’ll notice. If your product is delivering things by ground, of course, you’re going to use brown, home and hearth and earthiness. But again, you’re using the yellow to draw your attention.

Lenn Milbower:

And of course, this is the ultimate in sleek, the white on the black background with black meaning the absence of color and white just popping out at you almost in 3D. Also very good for people who are color blind. Now, FedEx, what they did is very interesting. You may already know that between the E and the X, there’s an arrow basically saying we’re moving forward. But if you look at the different divisions of FedEx, of course, the original is red, but ground is green. Corporate is gray. Kinko’s is a light blue saying, yeah, it’s okay, you can trust us. Very intentional choice of colors.

Lenn Milbower:

So how in the world does this relate? Well, the Disney World signs are very interesting, and they would make excellent PowerPoint slides. Notice the background is purple but it’s bluish purple. And a lot of my backgrounds are blue as well. The fonts are sans-serif, there’s no curly cubes on them. They’re very easy to read and they’re in a neutral white with a black shading behind them. The most important words on the sign are in a bright yellow, although in their case, it’s a Mickey yellow, very clever they are, with red surrounding it to say, pay attention here. And if you are color blind, you still got the arrow in black and white, you can see. Very, very smart and something I would recommend for PowerPoints.

Lenn Milbower:

Of course, that’s not the only colors Disney have, they also have a color called go away gray. And at the studios, you would walk right by this thing and you never even notice it because it’s go away gray. Color is one way you can use visuals, another way is with props. Here, we have the Flying Dutchman ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies anchored at Disney’s Castaway Cay private island. Now, Disney didn’t have to do that. They could have scuttled this thing once filming was done, but the mouse is never one to miss an opportunity. So they towed the ship, it is an actual ship. They towed the ship to have the private island and anchored it there for over a year, and it was an amazing prop. Now, I realize that you can’t put a ship in your training room. You could however use smaller props, and you can use props as visual aids to demonstrate what you’re talking about.

Lenn Milbower:

You can use them to frame an environment as people are walking in. For instance, for a custodial training, you might have the equipment that the custodians would use framing the room. You can use it to capture attention by holding up something unique that people look at and think, oh, what’s he going to go with that? You can use it as metaphors for the subject at hand. We’re going to experiment with that in a minute. And you can use it as a pacing device on the table where people can fiddle with their hands with the stuff. And any prop you select should be original. That doesn’t mean you create it, it means it should have an original application, something that is unexpected. It should be fun, so it should engage them. It should be focused on your content. It should be brain-based meaning it’s both visual and analytical. Educational, it should add something to the subject.

Lenn Milbower:

It should of course be aligned to the content so you’re not just adding something to a subject, you’re adding something to the right subject. And the lesson from it should be tangible. Now, I want to give you an example. Back in the 90s, the invisible dogs were no. Everybody that sees this now knows what it is and it isn’t fooling anybody. But when I was tasked with writing food and beverage training, they had a acronym called FIFO. FIFO stood for First In, First Out. What it meant was that the food items you put in the fridge needed to be the first ones you use the next time you went into that fridge, first in, first out. So what I did was I had one of the facilitators walk in the room with this invisible dog saying, “Here, Fido. Here, Fido.” People remembered that stupid FIDO acronym because of that invisible dog

Lenn Milbower:

I’ve talked a very long time here, I have a challenge for you. I have four items pictured on the screen, you can see what they are. What I’d like you to do is pick an item. And in chat, tell us how you might use that item in a training program. So, as an example, in a feedback training, you might put your hard helmet on because you never know what kind of debris is going to fall on your head. Now, you’ll have to be judicious, we can’t get into very long-winded stories about your training when this time this happened and that. Say which prop you’re using and in very broad terms how you would use it in a specific kind of training. And I’ll turn it over to Sarah for additional direction.

Sarah Cirone:

Great. So we already have some responses coming into the questions box. We’ve actually had a few responses come in saying feedback is a gift. Sonya says, present as a prompt to talk about what’s in it for you. Let’s see. Casey says, you hit the nail on the head using the hammer as a right answer. Gary says, helmet for discovery. Let’s see here. Elise says, the gold present, rewards and recognition. Sonya says, hard hat for getting to work. Catherine says, hammer tool for the job. And let’s see, a few more here. Let’s get the piggy bank. Jennifer says, piggy bank, budget discussions. And Paula says, piggy bank, financial status. We have tons more coming in, but I think we’ll answer just one more here. And Carla says, pig for money.

Lenn Milbower:

Okay, great. Great stuff. You see, the idea is to just change it up just to use something so it’s not all you, it’s not all lecture. You’re throwing something at them they didn’t expect. And once you do that once or twice, they start paying attention because they never know when you’re going to something else. And again, talking about a very technical training, I found if you do a couple of these things in a day, they think you’re brilliant and the funniest person they’ve ever met. So it doesn’t require a lot to do this, the hard part is you have to carry this stuff around. But who knows, maybe you’ll need a hammer. Let’s talk about professionalism and perfecting your performance because this gets right back to our three learning links at the start with fluency, facts, and fun. Your performance matters a great deal.

Lenn Milbower:

There’s this interesting story about Walt. They wanted to put something from Walt in the annual report and wrote it all up and gave it to Walt and he rejected it. He said, “I’ve worked my whole life to create the image of Walt Disney, it’s not me. I smoke, I drink, all the things we don’t want the public to think about.” So he didn’t want to share his personal life because he was more concerned with the image. Likewise, when you walk into the room and say, “Oh, my daughter gave me such a hard time, I can’t believe I’m here on time,” you have accidentally identified yourself as an amateur in my opinion. Anything you do that denigrates yourself or denigrates the subject distracts from the subject matter. So you want to make sure your performance is really good.

Lenn Milbower:

Then you may have noticed Disney does that, and you mentioned that earlier as well. I liked the striking difference between these two photos. The lady on the right is in front of the Liberty Tree Tavern. And she’s ringing her bell and saying, “Come and get it, [inaudible 00:40:29] ready.” And the lady on the left is at the haunted mansion merchandise shop. It’s a little hard to see, but she’s holding dead roses. I asked her to pose for this picture, and she insisted on standing in front of the picture, and that’s as close as I could get her to a smile where the other one was all smiles. It’s something Disney calls performance theming. And the idea is that the performer takes on the attitudes, basically the role of the location they’re in. So if you’re in the haunted mansion, you’re going to be doomy and gloomy. If you’re in the Harbor House restaurant and you’ve got to caller’s smell, you’re going to be loud and boisterous.

Lenn Milbower:

If you want to see how effective this is, consider two different examples. You have the cowboy working at the Dude Ranch, and you have the elegant lady all decked out in jewelry behind the counter at Tiffany’s. Now, switch those two and put the cowboy behind the Tiffany’s counter and the elegant lady with her jewelry trying to rope a cow. It doesn’t work, it’s all backwards. And likewise, we are entertainers actually. And as training professionals, as presenters, we have a role too. And Georgi Lozanov, the father of accelerating learning said that facilitators should create an aura of joyfulness and then use that aura to suggest positive learning outcomes. And he is right on the money when he says that. And incidentally, if you don’t know anything about accelerated learning, that’s another subject you should dig into, it’s a very interesting idea.

Lenn Milbower:

Basically you’re helping accelerate learning by doing a lot of the things I’ve been recommending to you today. But Lozanov was very particular about creating this aura of joyfulness and playfulness and positivity so that people could relax and learn the content. Now, the example of performance theming mismatch was a train driver at Disneyland. And Walt Disney saw this guy, and he was scowling. He went up to the supervisor and said, “See if you can’t make that fellow understand the business we’re in. If he feels that way, he don’t work here. We sell happiness.” See, Disney was very clear about what they were selling as I would suggest you should be clear about not just the objectives, but as we said earlier, how it matters to the people in the room. And when you’re very focused on that and you’re performing within the theme of that, then you really have something.

Lenn Milbower:

But how do you do the same program over and over, and over? That can be a challenge for a lot of people. I would suggest to you with my entertainment background that I had to do that six nights a week. Actors do that. When Broadway was open, when they were on Broadway, they would do it. Musicians have to do that. I saw the Eagles two different times, and both times they played the songs like the record, exactly like the record. For my part, basically, I never want to hear Color My World again. But when you are performing, there are certain tricks you can do to keep it fresh. And that’s what I want to talk about now.

Lenn Milbower:

So the first thing you do is you’re not there playing for you, you’re playing for the audience. The information you’re parting is for them not for you. So you focus on that. The second thing is there’s always a different way to make the same point. You can explore alternatives. You can look for different ways to do the same thing to keep it fresh for you. Your delivery can always get better. You can practice lines, you can practice hand movements. You can do a better job of standing in a certain spot. So you refine your delivery. You focus on the emotion. Now, here’s what a musician does, say a classical musician. They learn the piece so that the fingers know exactly what they’re doing. And then they no longer focus on that because the fingers know what they’re doing. Instead what they focus on is the emotionality within the piece the music is playing.

Lenn Milbower:

Now, for you, your car already knows, for instance, how to drive to work or the grocery store or wherever you have to drive to. It just knows that, so you no longer focus on that. Now. I would suggest that delivering a program should be the same way. You should know it so well that you don’t have to focus on the words anymore, you can just let the emotion spill out. Another thing you can do to keep it fresh is own the material. You don’t want to be the one that says, “Yeah, I don’t know why they put this on the PowerPoint. I’ve been trying to get them to change this PowerPoint forever, but I would ignore this. We’re going to skip it in fact.” Now, it’s your material, you’ve got to own it.

Lenn Milbower:

And if you really sink into ownership of it, you become one with the material. That helps you to deliver a better performance. Then if none of those work, there’s a reason you’re doing what you’re doing. Why did you get into this role? What’s your purpose? And if you can reconnect with that purpose, then you can be re-energized. And if none of those were, the only thing left to do is what actors and musicians do all the time, make a move. Nobody said you had to do the same thing forever.

Lenn Milbower:

Again, a lot of talking on my part. We have a little extra time, so we’re going to do one last subject, and that is music. And a very little bit about this, but some tips you can use. Walt said studying music is indispensable, a realization of how primitive music is, how natural it is for people to want to go to music, how rhythms enter our lives every day. And they really do, even the windshield wipers from your car is a rhythm. So there are ways you can use music in training and in presentations. And these come from my book Training With a Beat. You can use music to establish a positive mood. Now, there’s a specific kind of music you use, and it’s major key music. If there any musicians here, bear with me, I’m generalizing a little bit. But major keys have a happy sound to them, they’re positive, they’re optimistic.

Lenn Milbower:

An older song that comes to my mind is I Feel Good by James Brown. It’s pretty hard to frown when that song is going on. In my show band days, it was Celebration. Everybody had to get up on the floor and dance to Celebration. But the point is, if you want to create a better mood, you play happy, positive, optimistic music, especially when people are entering or during breaks. Another way you can use music is to aid thinking. Now, that requires a different kind of music. Where major keys are happy and uptempo and positive, minor keys tend to be slower, sad feeling, reflective, and thoughtful. So when you’re asking people to do something, to think about something, so they’ve got to reflect, you use minor key music.

Lenn Milbower:

And these two techniques can also be applied to online learning, you just have to make sure you have the legal permission to use it. Now, something else about asking people to talk to each other and then putting your music on. When you want music to be in the background unnoticed and secondary, use songs without lyrics. So when you’re asking people to think, to ponder, to compare notes, use songs without lyrics. Because what do you want to have happen is you want the music to just sink into the background and be kind of like lemon cuts the fish taste and smell. You just more want it to cut some of the rumble. When you use songs with lyrics is when you want people to pay attention to the lyrics, when you want it in the foreground, when you want it to be noticeable.

Lenn Milbower:

So for instance, another way you can use music is to share commentary. Now, there’s the song by MisterWives called Superbloom, fairly current song. And it’s about you can bloom and be everything you want to be. It’s an excellent song to use for diversity, for new leaders, for someone learning a new role. For anything that says you can do it, I know you can. And the final thing that you can use the song to do, it’s to theme an environment. Before COVID, I was doing a lot of keynotes. And I also do this when I design training for groups. But for instance, here’s some mix I’ve used in the past for doctors and dentists and dental hygienists, anyone in the health space. So the songs are like, bend me, shape me, I got you, I feel good, I want a new drug, shake your booty, you can’t touch this because it hurts, I don’t need no doctor, I’ve been in the right place at the wrong time so they got injured, bad to the bone, I just want to be okay, every breath you take because it hurts. Songs that relate to what the people do.

Lenn Milbower:

Now, there are some dangerous to know. You have to be aware of the technical issues, the cultural norms, and there is cost and time involved. Also, you have to be careful about the legal issue. Some songs are in public domain, some are not. You can purchase rights to use songs. And that way you can use copyrighted songs. And there’s something called fair use. If you use just a snippet of a song and you’re commenting on it, it’s what’s considered fair use and often no royalties are required. But I’m not a lawyer. If you’re going to use music, I encourage you to ask before you do. The one thing Walt said he learned from Disneyland was to the control the environment. I want them to feel like they are in another world. In a word, I would say that everything I’ve talked about today and everything Walt Disney did was intentional. It’s about the totality of intentionality, about every detail in the environment, in the experience being in alignment. Because when something’s out of alignment, it sends the wrong message. You either are furthering your message or distracting from your message.

Lenn Milbower:

And being intentional is what makes your message fully sink. Is it work? Yeah, it’s a lot of work, it is a lot of work. But we’re paid to deliver an experience, and that’s how I would recommend you do it. And that’s what Walt did, and I would suggest that’s one of the main reasons the Disney company is still in the forefront that it’s in. So that was a lot of talking in my part. Let me ask you, how can you be more intentional with your design and your delivery? You can think of those three things we started with, the facts, the fun, the fluency, all the things we talked about. We talked about layering, emotion, visuals performance. And we did talk about music, and there were others there. What can you do to be more intentional?

Sarah Cirone:

Yeah. So you can take a few moments here, think about your response, type that into the question area, and we’ll share some of those responses. Deanna says she loves the idea of using music and props for online learning. Using colors intentionally, use games. Embed gamification in training design. Pat says, incorporate more music. Debbie says, use more prompts and definitely add music. Mildred says, visuals. Tahere says, add pictures. We have a lot of people saying that they liked the idea of using music to set the mode and including props as well. Color is a big one as well.

Lenn Milbower:

The PowerPoint is a good point as well that the neuro-linguistic programmers say the absolute worst color combination is white background and black font. If you do nothing else, if you can jazz your PowerPoint up so that it is more user-friendly, you’ll be farther ahead from a visual standpoint. What else do we have there?

Sarah Cirone:

Let’s see. Molly loves owning your material. Tahere says real photos of team members.

Lenn Milbower:

That always helps, yeah.

Sarah Cirone:

Cynthia says meeting different-

Lenn Milbower:

Because they want to see if it’s you, they want to see if their photo comes up as well.

Sarah Cirone:

And we have Cynthia who says meeting different learning styles.

Lenn Milbower:

Yeah. And then I would, again, encourage you not to get bogged down and whether they actually exist or not. Just check the attitude that anything that forces you to not be the deliverer in one modality the whole time is probably a good thing as long as you’re not trying to say that it’s scientifically accurate.

Sarah Cirone:

And I’ll leave us with one more comment here from Nathan who said to see it as more of a performance with emotion rather than just passing along information.

Lenn Milbower:

Nathan, that is wonderful. That is an excellent point. If I was there, I’d give you some sort of tchotchke. They’re all excellent points too for that matter. I guess I’d have to give you all tchotchkes.

Sarah Cirone:

You’d give a lot of tchotchkes.

Lenn Milbower:

Yeah. Let’s talk about next steps. You could always purchase Care Like a Mouse. It’s on Amazon, it’s on my website. Follow me on Twitter @LikeaMouseTips. I have something called Mickey snaps. Every other week, I take a photo of something that’s gone on at Disney. And I talk about that in very brief newsletter. I will be back on April 14th for Mousify Your Culture through HRDQ-U. And I’d love to talk to you. You can always contact me at likeamouse.com, Lenn with two Ns, @likeamouse.com. Of course, I’m on Twitter and Facebook too. LinkedIn and Facebook, pretty easy to find. And I know Sarah has some things to point out as well. So I’ll move ahead to that.

Sarah Cirone:

So before we get into that, it looks like we have maybe one or two minutes here to answer some questions. So if you have any questions, you can type those into the question area on your control panel. And we can answer maybe one or two to today. Let’s see. Our first question comes from Tara, and Tara would like to know, she says, given these principles, why didn’t Disney become a big player in the education industry?

Lenn Milbower:

The expert wouldn’t agree, he wanted to know what was the best approach to learning. And every educational expert he talked to gave him a different solution. So finally he threw up his hands and said, “I’m going to do it my own way, they can’t tell me they don’t know. So we’re going to entertain.” He said, “No, we’ll entertain them, and they’ll learn something.”

Sarah Cirone:

Great. And the last question we’ll answer today is from Vanessa. And she would like to know what you think of the use of webcams.

Lenn Milbower:

Of the what?

Sarah Cirone:

The use of webcams.

Lenn Milbower:

Oh, webcams. I think it’s just where we are, but we have to. I think the log jam for working from home was always the leaders. Earlier on it was technology, but more recently it was the leaders because I don’t think a lot of leaders knew how to manage when you’re not looking at a body. And the COVID crisis has forced a situation where leaders have learned how to do that. So I think work from home and webcams and training via webcams are with us forever. And I think we have to adapt to that. And I would suggest that these same techniques apply to online learning as much as they do to life. Now, I’m a live baby, it’s just where I’m at. But I think they can be done. For instance, music, they’re going to be listening to something while they’re doing eLearning, wouldn’t you rather they be listening to you? And if you can control what’s on the audio, you’ve got a better chance of them looking at you.

Lenn Milbower:

Also, I think that the vendor who figures out how to turn, and there’s probably some of this out there already, but the vendor who figures out how to turn eLearning into video games is going to be way farther ahead than the template we seem to always use, which is we’re going to tell you something and then we’re going to check to see you learned it, and then you can move on. If you think about a show like Jeopardy, they don’t assume you know everything. Why would we assume that before we can ask them a question they have to know the answer? It’s okay if they don’t know the answer because then they might be curious to learn it. So I think our old methodologies don’t suit us that well. Webcams are part of the landscape. they’re going to be with us. And the more we can do to make the learning interactive, the better we’ll be.

Sarah Cirone:

Great. And that will conclude Q&A for today. Today’s webinar was sponsored by the Assessment Center from HRDQ providers of informative and powerful learning tools. Online anywhere, anytime. Learn more at www.hrdqstore.com/hac. And make sure you join us on your favorite social media site for quick access to all of our latest webinar events and blog posts. You can find us at HRDQ-U. That is all the time that we have for today. Thank you very much for joining us today, Lenn.

Lenn Milbower:

Oh, you’re welcome. And I have one final thing to say, and that is assuming you do either of those things that I recommended or the things that Sarah recommended, then all I have to say is we’ll see real you.

Sarah Cirone:

That was great. And thank you all for participating in today’s webinar, happy training.

Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email