We just wrapped our annual Training Industry Conference & Expo! Being surrounded by the exuberant enthusiasm of learning and development professionals for a few days has left me inspired to apply the lessons I learned back in my job and personal life. Below is just a sampling of the insights I gained.

1. Give every idea a chance.

Kelly Leonard, Second City’s executive vice president, gave an excellent keynote on the first night. One of his main points was the power of using the phrase “Yes, and…” in response to ideas. Rather than responding with all the reasons why an idea might not work, you can encourage creativity and innovation by affirming the idea, offering additional thoughts and providing the parameters in which it could work. For example, when our website editor asked me to write a blog two weeks ago, I said, “Yes, and it will be on the conference,” knowing the conference was top of mind and would thus be an easy subject.

2. Positive thinking is powerful.

Another great keynote came from Jack Canfield, creator of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. Jack pulled a lucky volunteer on stage to demonstrate the influence of the mind on actual physical behavior. We saw that his physical strength was directly influenced by the tone and veracity of what he said aloud. It was astounding!

Part of this session including setting a stretch goal to accomplish over the year. We were instructed to not only set this goal but also to envision the steps that we need to take to get there and to think positively about achieving it. I’m looking forward to applying what I learned about goal-setting to reach my stretch goal!

3. Systems thinking is critical when designing learning.

Ken Taylor’s session focused on the anatomy of a modern learning system, with “system” being the critical word. His presentation detailed the connections and interactions between components of the training function and drove home the importance of applying systems thinking when designing learning initiatives, developing learning programs and defining training processes. Understanding the connections among all of the components facilitates these processes and ensures we capitalize on opportunities to achieve our learning program goals.

4. Videos can increase communication effectiveness and efficiency.

Dr. Brandy Parker’s session on using videos was a great example of efficient and engaging communication. She demonstrated how using prerecorded videos can lead to shorter presentations and thus allow for more collaboration and interaction. I’m eager to embrace her challenge to use video to improve my presentation style through more efficient communication. I also plan to embark on post-presentation reviews of videos in order to observe the things I do well and identify opportunities to improve my presentation style.

5. CPTMs are an amazing group of learning and development professionals.

There were over 40 Certified Professionals in Training Management (CPTMTM) at TICE! Spending time with this exceptional group always reminds me of how amazing and talented our alumni are. It keeps me motivated to build our alumni network and maintain the quality of our professional development programs.