female presenter
ATD Blog

32 New Year’s Resolutions for Learning

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

New Year’s resolutions are a popular way to refocus intentions and strive for personal growth and improvement. New Year’s also is a perfect time for learning professionals to refocus their self-development efforts. Listed below are my suggestions for resolutions learning professionals should commit to making, whether they are working in person or virtually.

Platform: The Stage on Which You Perform

1. I will arrive early for my events.
2. I will ensure the presentation room or teleconference screen background is clean, neat, and orderly.
3. I will be fully set up before the participants arrive.

Performance: The Image I Project

4. I will be one with the message I teach.
5. I will not denigrate my organization, its leaders, my fellow presenters, or program content in front of my participants.
6. I will not talk about my personal life while I am presenting.
7. I will add novelty to my delivery so that I can attract and maintain attention. If I am presenting virtually, I will use chat, polling, and other participation tools.
8. I will get professional advice on my clothing choices and, when in a virtual setting, wear clothing that does not blend into or clash with the background. I also will wear makeup, if necessary, when I present virtually.
9. I will not pack up during my presentation.
10. I will be the last person to leave the room or sign off.

Program: The Design of Your Program

11. I will acknowledge that having a learning professional title does not make me a learning expert and that I will learn human brain functioning and instructional design theory.
12. I will align and sequence the information I share so that it is delivered when participants need it.
13. I will talk less so my participants can do more, especially during virtual presentations.
14. I will find ways to prove the value of my learning programs to leadership.

Practice: The Skills You Hone


15. I will record myself performing and watch and listen to the playback to improve my performance.
16. I will remove verbal ticks (um, ah, you know, like, basically) and repeated phrasing from my delivery.
17. I will expand my knowledge about things that matter to my participants.
18. I will never be stumped by the same question twice. I will find the answer.

Technology: The Tools You Use

19. I will master the technology I use, especially in a virtual setting.
20. I will test my technology before the participants arrive.
21. I will learn proper lighting, staging, audio, and visual information I need to present in a virtual setting.
22. I will use legally obtained music to fill auditory holes in my presentation.
23. I will update my PowerPoint and other visuals to make them pop.
24. I will not use bulleted slides when a picture can communicate the same information.
25. I will not use my PowerPoint as my personal CliffsNotes.
26. I will look directly into the camera, not my screen, when presenting virtually.

Participants: The Learners You Serve

27. I will shine the spotlight away from myself and onto my participants.
28. I will treat my participants equally while providing individualized attention.
29. I will display a “can do” confidence in my participants.
30. I will not tell my learners anything I can get them to tell me.
31. I will stay current on pop culture, current events, and company information so that I know what my participants are talking about.


Pleasure: The Life You Live

32. I will have fun training or move on to some other line of work.

Now it’s your turn: What resolutions for learning professionals would you add?

The past two years have been hard. May this new year be filled with the joy of learning. May you know more when it ends than when it began. And may all your participants, when they have left your presence and presentation, have gained more knowledge and confidence in themselves and ability to solve the problems they face in their world.

Happy New Year!

About the Author

Lenn Millbower, the Mouse Man™ and author of Care Like a Mouse, teaches Walt Disney inspired service, leadership and training. 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 Studios stage manager, Animal Kingdom opening crew, and Disney Institute, University, and Entertainment management. Now—via consulting, keynoting, training and instructional design services—he shares methods that help organizations, leaders and learning professionals make their own magic.

1 Comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
I love the simplicity and spirit of this list. That being said, I'm surprised to find a list that encourages wearing makeup. If men don't have to wear makeup to "look professional," why do women? Bringing your whole self to the training session should mean being able to choose if one wants to wear makeup, not being told to wear it "if needed."
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.