Tips for Working Productively with SMEs with guest Bridget Manley

Bridget Manley's background as a journalist has helped her find ways to productively work with SMEs. It makes sense; journalism and instructional design have lots of similarities.

So check this episode out and learn from Bridget's experience, as well as the very rich discussion that was happening in chat during the session. There's definitely an abundance of tips in this one.

Luis Malbas  
Good morning, everybody. Happy Friday to all of you. Thanks for joining us today. Let's see who we got into in chat so far. Jennifer Kim, of course is here. Our end. Devin nice to see a Katrina. Let's see Callie Dean Tammy folks are oh, let's see. Cat Iowa. Okay, thank you. Yeah, lots of people are rolling in here. So welcome to another TLD cast. This one's a special one. We've got Bridget Manley from ascended design and training. Bridgette has actually been on the broadcast before at least I think in events or, you know, we've definitely had I'll look, look that up, and then I'll post them in the links like them in links in the chat later on. So you can see more of Bridget later. But today, we're just going to be talking about tips for working productively with SMEs and something I'm totally interested. And I also want to mention, Bridgette, I just had love that quote, I think I just pushed it out there about instructional designers, one of the joys of being an instructional design is dignifying people's people's work. And I thought that was just such a wonderful thing for you to, to say in one of our last events. And that has just impressed me forever about you. So with that, I am going to go ahead and let you just take things away. I'm gonna hide myself and just be one of the audience.

Bridget Manley  
Okay, well, cool. Thank you, Louise, for that amazing introduction. I appreciate that. And I appreciate everybody logging in today. I'm logging in from my gloriously messy office in Laramie, Wyoming. And I'm excited to share with you today some tips and tricks I've learned about working with subject matter experts, drawing primarily from my past experience as a daily newspaper journalist. So with that, I'm going to go ahead and just launch the old slide deck here. Good. Okay, so you should be able to see my slides. If you don't, please feel free to drop in the chat. Or if at any point, if the connection drops off or anything, feel free to let me know. So. Okay, so just a little bit more about me. I'm a learning experience designer, and I'm also a business owner, primary owner, and co owner of ascendant design and training. My husband and I started this business in August of 2020. Because what else do you do in the middle of a pandemic, right. So we've been going for about two years now. And we provide both products and services for the elearning industry. On my side, I'm kind of head of the services department. So I work with clients to create custom eLearning solutions primarily for employee training in hospital and cannabis primarily. I'm also a former reporter and editor for daily newspapers. I was a reporter for about five and a half years in small daily newspapers in Colorado and Wyoming. It was a trip it's got lots of lots of stories from, you know, the old reporting days, but I still use the skills I use. I still use the skills I learned in that industry. When I'm talking to subject matter experts. I found that talking to SMEs is a lot like talking to what we would call sources in journalism, just somebody who's the kind of the, you know, kind of the expert on what you're trying to write your story about. So you can help other people understand concepts that affect their world. So before we go any farther, just like you know, just in case you can't see the screen today, I am a middle aged white woman with dark, dark brown hair cut into a blunt Bob and I have gold rimmed glasses. All right, cool. So let's go ahead and jump into the fun stuff. So I like to start just with a question just to kind of get a feel for everybody's at today. I'd like to know what your current biggest pain point is when dealing with subject matter experts. So feel free to drop that in the chat, your biggest pain point when you're dealing with subject matter experts. And I'll try to get to, you know, basically as many of these today as I can, so I can kind of customize today's chat to make it fit with the pain points you're having. So I'll let you think on that for just a minute.

I know that for me, when I was a journalist, the hardest thing I had, one of the biggest things I had working with sources is getting them to get back to me on time. And I think that matches with Devon's comment deadlines, right, getting them to get back to you to where you can do your work. Not returning emails or not doing act not doing after action items is what Melissa says. Yeah, yeah, totally. And then Kim says they want to structure content for those who are experts like they are, but we need it at a novice level. Yeah, getting them to not talk. Like expertise, you know, like not speaking specifically in their higher level of understanding and getting them to explain concepts in ways that that people can understand. Yeah, totally. And these were a lot of the same challenges I has, you know, like, you know, like, you know, that I had as a reporter. I remember I used to cover school finance for a midsize County in northern Colorado. And finance out there is like really complicated anyway, so I would talk to the school financial officer. And he would have to sit with me for like 30 minutes to explain just how the Taxpayer Bill of Rights works, which of course, affects school funding. And he would talk and like this very high level stuff, and like, wait, wait, wait, you got to explain what that means. Yeah, so getting them to come down is is kind of difficult sometimes. Okay. Melissa says objectives are low on Bloom's. So I'm assuming that means that they want to just tell people stuff, right, as opposed to having them actually practice and apply. And feel free to correct me. Unless if I'm right on that. Yes. Okay. Perfect. Yeah, that's a big one, too. They just need to know stuff. Well, no, like, knowing and doing or different things. And that's yeah, it's definitely a big lift is getting them to understand that. Kim also says so many things LOL, right. Like they want all of the content on the first slide of the course. This topic is missing. Yeah. Just trying to cram it in again. Like everything's important. Everything you need to know everything. No, you really, you really don't. Yeah. And getting them to kind of pare down that vision is is a challenge too. Katrina says elearning deadline competing with priority over their normal workload. Exactly. totally hear you on that one. That was a challenge I had as a reporter to where I'm like, Hey, I got the story due by Tuesday. And some of them were like, I don't care not my problem. Like I've got all these other things. You Why would I talk to you? And of course they wouldn't like say like that, right. But that was kind of the feeling I got. It's really hard to get yourself high on somebody's priority list when they have so many other things that in their minds, they can easily justify and say, I can get to you later. It's not really an urgent need for me. Right. Jennifer says speaking and acronyms. Oh my goodness. Yeah. That one and using passive voice all the time. Like, as I may seem to do those two things a lot. And yeah, so again, just getting them to, to break it down. What does this acronym mean? Perfect. Okay. Yeah. So I'll try to give you some tips. So, you know, hopefully, you know, address most of these are all of these issues that we're having today. And then we'll have a little time at the end where we can kind of discuss and, you know, maybe, you know, talk about some other solutions to. So that being said, like, I'm not the expert on this. So as we go on, and if you have suggestions yourself for ways that you know, you might be able to fix some of these pain points, feel free to drop it in the chat. I'd like to kind of have this be kind of a discussion rather than me lecturing at you for 45 minutes. Okay, well, thank you for participating today. This is awesome. Some, yes, Kim says I'm an enthusiast. This is true. This is true. Okay, so today I'm going to kind of break it down and make it simple two keys to productive relationships with SMEs. The first one would be building and maintaining rapport. Once they get to know you as a person, and they like you as a person, they're more likely to put you higher up on their priority list. So we'll talk about some ways you can do that. The second thing is using some interviewing techniques that will help you get the most important and useful information from them. And also getting it to where they can kind of start thinking and describing topics more from a novice perspective.

Okay, so let's start with building and maintaining report. One of the things that helped me the most as a journalist, just, you know, just in getting better stories, and in getting people to give me callbacks, or even coming to me and say, Hey, we've got this cool thing going on, you think you know about it. The biggest thing with was like in with, like, in with all of those was just building a good relationship with my sources. And I found it's the same thing with subject matter experts. One of the things you can do that doesn't take a whole lot of time for anybody, but really goes a long way is just taking the time to kind of chew the fat with them. You know, I mean, you don't really need anything, you just like, hey, how's it going? How's your day going? Or, you know, I mean, or keep in mind important dates for them, like, Hey, I heard you on vacation, how did it go, you know, just reaching out when you don't necessarily need something. But, you know, just having those interactions just to kind of build a relationship with them. Again, doesn't take a lot of time, but it really does a lot in terms of building that relationship. Another thing I found is helpful is when you follow up with them and nudge them frequently, I had, I had an editor once who told me something that affected like, there's a very fine line between, you know, being a good journalist, and just being a pain. And it's like, you know, it's very true. And I don't like to, like bother people, it makes me nervous. So I've like odd bothering you. But I found that most of the time, so I'd booked matter experts appreciate when you follow up with them, and just say, Hey, I'm following up from this conversation the other day, you know, if you can have this information to me by filling the blank time, a lot of times they respond pretty well to that. Another key point is just finding a working style that works for everyone. We had this conversation on another professional groups that I'm part of just a couple, probably about a month ago. And one other instructional designer that I know was saying that they had a really hard time getting subject matter experts to give them feedback on storyboards. And they found the way to get around that was to actually sit down with them, you know, over an hour and just go over it slide by slide, just because for some reason, that was the way to get their attention, and that they were able to ask questions, they just felt more comfortable working on that one on one. And she found that to be a really helpful kind of workaround to get her work done sooner. So that's another thing too, it's just it's just finding a style that works for them. Sometimes you just have to ask outright, you know, it's like, Hey, I've noticed I haven't gotten any feedback on this, you know, deliverable. Is there another way that works best for you? Can we, you know, structure this some other way? What do you think, you know, kind of along with that, another good tip is just to know, their preferred communication style. When I was a journalist, I had all different kinds of sources, and all of them had different preferred methods, some of them would give me my cell phone, or they would give me their cell phone and say, hey, if he like, you know, like, you know, say, and they would say, you know, if you need anything, you know, just call anytime. There were other sources who if I called them after five at home, it was not appreciated. And I totally get that. Some people like to use email, some people only responded by texts, it just kind of depends. Everybody has their own preference. So just knowing how they like to communicate, will go a long way to hopefully getting information back in time and helping you meet your deadlines as well. Another good tip is to simply just be clear about what you need from them. Sometimes subject matter experts get so high up in, you know, how they're thinking about this topic. And, you know, like, you know, again, kind of like the cognitive scope creep, we need to include everything well, no, not really. It's, it's, it's really helpful if you can describe for them the objectives of the course, like what are we trying to accomplish here? And that'll help them hopefully narrow down what they think will be important for that particular project. And then beyond that, you know, I mean, anything that you need In terms of like, deadlines, or you know, ways that deliverables are reviewed or anything like that, just be sure that you're very clear about what you need from them. Another tip is if you're really not getting any headway at all, with a subject matter expert, they're not returning calls or emails on time, or they're not getting deliverables to you on time. It's totally fine to go to the project owner and requests and additional subject matter expert on the project. I think Kathy Moore recommended this in her book map. And I think it's great advice, where you just say, you know, this is a big project, and I, you know, I mean, I get the feeling that subject matter expert, one is got a lot on their plate. And maybe it would be helpful if we brought in somebody else, that's totally fine.

The one other tip I would really recommend that's not on this slide, is, when you're working with subject matter experts, it's always important to try to get into their world as much as possible. When I was a journalist, one of the things that really helped me build rapport with people was to make it very obvious from the beginning that I'm a novice, I don't know anything about this. And, and at the same time, trying to understand the topic from their perspective and say, you know, please explain this to me, why are we doing it this way? Or, you know, why can't you know, like, you know, why can't somebody on the workshop floor do this, I don't know, the more that you make it apparent that you don't know, the more oftentimes they're willing to explain it to you, right? Subject Matter Experts usually love sharing their expertise, they love having that badge of expertise, and they love sharing it with people. So the more that you're open about that, and the more that you're willing to embrace that kind of novice status, I think the more that they're actually willing to open up to you, as well. So I'm gonna pause and see if there are any questions or any thoughts so far, go ahead and feel free to drop those in the chat if you'd like.

Any of these tips that you've tried, or maybe other tips that you'd have, or any thoughts like that, feel free to drop those in.

So I'll let you kind of think on that. And then, in the meantime, I'm gonna go ahead and hop to the next part. And this is interviewing techniques. And this is just ways to get information from SMEs in a way that you can use it in a way that narrows it down to what exactly your learners need to know. And this is another overlap I found between journalism and instructional design is that as a journalist, you're writing for your readers, right? People who don't have the same level of expertise, or in some cases, even interest that your subject matter experts do. But you still need to use that information to or you still need to work with your subject matter experts to get the information you need to explain a particular topic to somebody in a way that makes sense. So for awhile, I was a, you know, basically like a healthcare reporter. And I would report on the local, you know, hospital board meetings. And a lot of it was very, you know, kind of higher level stuff, like moratoriums on hospitals or whatever. And I'm, I don't know what this means. And most of my readers don't either. But I would like you know, sit down again with like, like the president, or the CFO and say, Okay, I need you to explain this to me in a way that my readers will understand. And that always, I think helped to kind of reframe it. So we're like, okay, so I'm talking to some Joe Blow on the street who doesn't know about this? Okay, that that, that kind of helps put it in perspective. Okay. I'm just gonna go to the chat, I saw a couple things pop in here. Let's see Katrina matter, or Mater. I'm sorry. Sorry, if I butchered your last name Katrina, or C, or maybe better way to ask is what are appropriate ways to hold an SME accountable? Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's a really good point. Yeah. Yeah. Like, how do you? How do you hold them accountable to their commitment to you, right? Because especially if you're working in a company, or say, You're a, you know, you know, like me. You know, if you're working with them as an outside consultant, they do have a commitment to you, or to their company, at least the company who hired you to make sure that they get that they get the correct information to you, as well. So yeah, I mean, that's a really good way to frame it is like, how can we be helped out? Like, how can we be accountable to each other, both as a subject matter expert and as an instructional designer, to make sure that we're both working together on a product that will ultimately benefit learners? It's a good way to put it. Okay, I'm Mater. Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Katrina. Okay, so let's go over some interviewing techniques. The first technique that's really helpful is simply to pause, it's really easy to just want to, you know, rapid fire questions and fill in all the gaps or fill in all this, you know, awkward pauses, but the more you give your subject matter expert, time to think, and time to kind of mull over the questions, the more that they're going to be able to think, kind of more critically and more effectively about the topic that they're talking to you about. The second one here is kind of been kind of like my go to superpower trick. This one really works, not only for talking to SMEs, but also building relationships with clients and other instructional designers is really good tip overall, which is to repeat back what you think you heard, to verify understanding. So, you know, for me, when I interview, like, we'll go over, like, you know, like, you know, basically just a small topic, it's, it's kind of manageable. And I'll say, okay, so I think I heard you say, fill in the blank. And that does two things. First, it verifies that you are actively listening, and that you want to get it correct, which does a huge, which, which really helps you build rapport with that source. It's part of that rapport building. The other thing is, it allows them to provide extra content, clarification correction, whatever. And, and it helps you understand maybe areas where you have blind spots, things that you thought you understood, but you maybe don't, I know that for me, one of my biggest cognitive downfalls is is just assuming things like, Oh, I, you know, I mean, they must mean this, right? And then it's like, oh, no, they didn't mean that. Okay, I'm glad I asked. So that's a really good tip you can use for any kind of interview, especially with subject matter experts.

Another one that's really helpful is at the end of an interview, ask, is there anything else you'd like to add or anything you think I forgot to ask you? Again, this is another way for them to provide extra content or context, clarification, anything like that. And when I was a journalist, I found this question saved my bacon on more than one occasion, where I would, you know, go in with a list of questions thinking I had this kind of, you know, in the bag, I, you know, I like I understand this topic. And then I would ask this question, is there anything else you'd like to add? Or like, well, actually, it kind of works like this. And I was like, Oh, I'm glad I asked. You know, I mean, again, I mean, you just go into it. And there were things that you don't know that you don't know. And this question helps you identify that right from the start, or at least at the end of the interview, and gives them a chance to provide that information to. The next tip here is to ask subject matter experts, what they're thinking while they're doing a process. So this is kind of relevant to people who are, you know, say, like working on the floor, or, you know, actually doing the tasks that you're going to be training on. This kind of gets into kind of like the cognitive infrastructure that underlies the expertise, right? Because it's not just doing the process. It's also thinking about how you're doing the process. One of my favorites, or one of my first instructional design projects was developing storyboards for a course, for hospitals, on high reliability organizing, which is basically a way of mitigating risks that's been pioneered and other high risk industries, such as aviation and nuclear power plants. It's basically a way of being very cognizant about your thinking, and changing your expectations. You know, so a lot of it was about the cognitive infrastructure that underlies processes like, you know, what are you trying to avoid? What kind of outcomes do you not want? What kind of assumptions are you making. And the more you get into, again, that cognitive infrastructure, the more you can actually provide really good instructional design that helps new performers or new learners adopt those same mental mindsets and processes to help them become effective to. Again, this kind of goes back to what we talked, you know, kind of at the beginning of the session today, this next point, which is ask them to define unfamiliar terms. And again, like sometimes if you're not familiar with something, and you're like, oh, I don't want to look silly if I don't know what this means. No, it looks silly. It's totally fine. I think of the reporter was Thomas Wolf. He would walk around in a white suit all the time. And, I mean, it made him stand out, he looked like a nut. So he'd like, and I don't know, he'd be like in let's see, like, you know, say to racetrack, and he'd be in the pit, right? Any of you wearing this white suit and like, Hey, you're nuts. But he said, he did that for a reason, because it made him stand out. And it made it very obvious that he didn't know anything about what what was going on. So he was kind of like, as he called it, the man from Mars, he just wanted to know stuff. And he found out that actually helped him a lot as a reporter, because it got people to open up to him. So, you know, you can think of, you know, asking very obvious questions as a way to kind of put on that white suit, right? And make it known that you don't know, and that's totally fine. A lot of times when I'm asking a question, I'll often preface this by saying like, look, this might seem like an obvious question, but and that usually, again, just you know, I mean, like, it helps you build rapport, because it indicates that you're willing to learn, and you want to ask those obvious questions.

The next step is to do some background research before you go into an interview. This, this really helps you prepare the right questions, so you can structure the interview accordingly, so it can flow, you're not jumping around from one topic to the other so much. It also helps you provide that background knowledge that you need to make sense of new information, right? So as instructional designers, we're thinking about things like, you know, previous knowledge and how we like know how people scaffold new information by connecting to what they already know, it's the same concept, you're giving yourself some of that mental scaffolding, so you can make sense of the new information that's coming at you, especially if you're doing something that's very technical, I would sometimes do again, you know, kind of technical stories on say, like the housing market or things like that, things I didn't know anything about at the time. So I would, you know, take some time to do some research, just so I had some basic ideas, or at least some things that I could try to verify or confirm with my sources to say, Okay, I think it works like this. Is that true or not? Just to give you something to start with. So background research is really important. And then finally, I think this is going to answer a lot of the questions folks asked at the beginning in terms of how you get them to give us information that's helpful for learners. And that is to ask them to put themselves in the learners shoes when they're describing these processes. When I was a reporter, one of the questions I would ask a lot would say, like, Okay, I'm asking this question, because I think readers would like to know, or, you know, something to the effective, like, I've heard that you'd like I've heard that readers really have a difficult time understanding this concept. Can you explain it in a way that somebody who has no background with this could understand it? And that's a really good way to start getting them to thinking about, okay, how would I boil this down? Right? And sometimes it's also a part of walking them through, like, you know, what is essential and what is not? Right, like, what do we really need in this course? And what are those seductive details that we would like to have? What are actually going to add too much cognitive load? Right? Okay, yeah, we've got some good comments in here. Kim says agree, but many SMEs just cannot do that at all. technical people sometimes lack empathy. Yeah, right, they get so into their subject matter. So this is where an instance where you might have to do more than heavy lifting, to say, okay, like, you know, say they've given you just a whole bunch of technical stuff. And then you say, Okay, well, if I were somebody new learning this, I think I would probably need to know, A, B, and C, and then you rephrase it in your own words in a way that makes sense to a new learner and say, does that sound right? I mean, even though you might have some pushback, I know, they need to know this, and this and this, and this, and this, you know, at some point, you have to kind of pull, pull, not pull rank, necessarily, but do your due diligence as an instructional designer and say, Okay, thanks. And then when you build the course, leave out all the stuff that they really, really want. And then say at the end, when they push back on that say, we only have so much space so much time, we really need to focus on this particularly. Okay. Kim, then says, Yes, um, if smees were good at that, we wouldn't be as needed. Right? So it's job security, right? So if we can take really technical stuff and boil it down. We've got job security. It's a good thing, I guess. You know, you can look at it that way. Katrina says, Okay, how would you explain this feature to your parents? Yeah, exactly. It's a great question. I know when I explain what I do to my parents, I have to really boil it down because they're like, you do what? So yeah, I mean, I think that's a great way A to explain that. And it also kind of goes back to the empathy thing, right? I mean, it's really hard to imagine writing a course or providing information for somebody who don't know. But if you can put yourself in the shoes of somebody who you do know and care about, but still doesn't know about what you do, or still doesn't know why this topic is important, yeah, that helps them get past that kind of empathy gap. Right. Another thing you might ask is like, you know how to explain this to your best friend over a beer or, you know, something like that, you know, just something where they can actually relate to the person they might be explaining it to.

Danny Says, excellent points for developing relationships and interviewing SMEs, a few of my best managers helped me to develop similar approaches. So I'd recommend that Id folks try to find a mentor, or leader that can help them to develop and refine those skills. Yeah, right. A lot of this is, is just kind of soft skills that you really have to practice over time. Like, when I started as a reporter, I didn't have the skills. And, you know, it took me about a year year and a half to really get good at it to where I could really get into, you know, building rapport pretty quickly with people and getting them to trust me, getting them to open up and provide me with what I needed. So yeah, I mean, it's definitely a skill you need to practice and having a mentor is really helpful for that. Okay, so kind of following up from the conversation earlier, Ken says sometimes they can't see it, even in the final dress versions of courses, the company's lnd leads, just cuts, the company's l&d lead, just cuts it off. Okay. I'm assuming that's relating to like, extraneous information that the SME wants to sneak in, but we, we really can't let them is. Like, you know, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong on that, Kim, but that seems what I'm, that seems like, that seems like what I'm hearing. Okay. Um, Danny asks any tips for folks to find mentors to help them develop those skills? Okay. Yeah. That's a good question. I think I haven't had really a lot of experience with like finding mentors, really? To be honest, that's a good question. I think it can be helpful maybe to look in your network, whether it's your virtual network or your network at work, you know, kind of like your physical network, and just find people who seem to be doing it well, and then just, you know, ask, Hey, can I pick your brain for a few minutes about how you do this? That's the way that I've usually found mentors in the past. It's just like, hey, this, you know, you know, you know, like, you obviously, know what you're doing. So I would like to know how you do this. But if anybody else has insight on that, feel free to drop that in? That's a really good question. Okay. And then Kim follows up with, let's see, even the language level. So I'm assuming that means, like, the language level that they're using, again, the high level vocabulary is something that they sometimes have a difficult time letting go of. And I think, you know, one way you can break that down, maybe a little bit, because I think sometimes people use technical language is kind of like a shield. You know, like, I'm so smart. You can't fire me, you can't lay me off. You can't downsize me, you know, I'm so I'm so smart. I mean, you know, I mean, what you can understand, but a way to maybe break that down is to say, you know, maybe not so many words, but tell the SME, look, your value is describing this in a way that new people can understand that is very, very hard. I mean, people think it's simple. Anybody can, you know, break it down? No, they can't, they really can't. So if you can say, Okay, your power here is breaking down this concept in a way that new people can understand. Not only helps you personally, because then people see you not only as an expert, but possibly a mentor, right. But it also helps the whole company because you're taking what you know, and you're spreading it around and you're helping other people. Now, this is probably also a good point. This is probably also a function of culture. If you're in a culture where knowledge hoarding is not only tolerated, but encouraged, then you're going to have kind of an uphill battle on this because I get the feeling just based on the comments we've had so far, that a lot of SMEs, really insisting on how technical language and stuff is a form of knowledge sharing, or excuse me, knowledge hoarding, or maybe even gatekeeping to a degree, it's like, I don't want anybody else doing what I can do, because then all of a sudden, I'm you know, you know, you know, like, you know, that point I'm expendable. So that's probably an issue of culture that you need to keep in mind as well. But as much as you can, you can start maybe shifting that perspective to you know, sort of hoarding your knowledge you can be more value to the company and to yourself if you share that knowledge Okay, I'm okay. Tamara. Tamara, pardon me if I'm permita mispronouncing that. But she says, or they say, I purposely say things wrong. So the SME explains things. Again, that's a good technique. That's a really good technique. Because if you say it wrong, they're gonna be like, Oh, no, no, no, no. Okay, we need to break this down. That's a really good technique. I've never tried that. But that's, yeah, that's genius. Cool.

Okay, awesome. And that might be a technique that maybe you pull out after you've tried a few times to get it, explain it to you. And you're like, Can they still don't? You're like, Okay, this is my, this is my final option here. But yeah, I mean, that's definitely really effective. Okay. All right. So that's pretty much all of the talking points I had today. But I'm interested to see what are the questions you have? What are the thoughts you have, if you're having a particular issue with an SME or just a problem in general, go ahead and drop that in the chat. And we'll see if we can kind of crowdsource it together and figure it out. So I'm just going to

Luis Malbas  
Hey, Bridget, did you see the that and the acid questionary? I'm not sure if you've covered this one that Kim had mentioned, and what are some different tips on working well with SMEs during the review process, versus during your initial research? And then at some times, I'm surprised what trips them up or sends them off on tangents. tangents. Okay, yeah.

Bridget Manley  
Um, can you see that? Oh, actually, I can see it here. Ask a question. Okay. Cool. Cool. All right. Yeah. Um, okay, review process versus initial research. Okay. Yeah, um, I would say during the review, okay, two things. So during the initial research, you know, get as much information as you can and tell them explicitly, okay, so this is our first pass at this, this is where we're getting all the information when I get a review to you in whatever, you know, deliverable that is, that's going to be what we're going with minus small changes. So this is the time now in that first kind of discovery or research phase. Tell me everything you want. Or like, Tell me everything you think that new learners should know. Because once we get to fill in the blank milestone, we're kind of locked in at that point. And I think that might help a little bit in managing some of that kind of, you know, you know, kind of the hang ups or the tangents. Yeah, cuz I've had them before, they're like, oh, no, this thing, this thing here, you need to do this, and this, and, you know, this is involved and all that stuff. So I think I mean, I think again, it comes back to having very clear communication and very clear boundaries in terms of what we can and cannot change at different phases of the project. I kind of like to tell clients that like, look, once we're on review stage, we're looking at, you know, any, like corrections of like factual information, maybe a little bit of reorganization, maybe, but not like large scale, just like, you know, fine tuning things. So I think if you set that expectation at the beginning, I think it'll help cut down on some of the issues with them, you know, jumping off on tangents, or wanting to change everything, ask or feel free to let me know, Kim, if that answers your question.

Okay. The other question here, it's marked as answered, we'll just kind of circle back to it. When do you engage their manager? What are the appropriate ways to hold an SME accountable? Yeah. Okay. I would say, a good time to engage your manager is if you are behind on deadlines, because they're not getting stuff back to you. Or even if you feel you will be behind, that's probably the best way to do it is get ahead of that problem. I would say if you've called them or message them, multiple ways, and multiple times, and they're still not getting back to you, that's the time to contact the manager. And again, like it doesn't have to be like this SME is not helping me at all, you know, like, you want to probably be diplomatic, but just be like, Hey, I kind of get the feeling they're busy. Can you nudge them? For me? I've actually found that to be very effective, you know, just, you know, please give me a nudge and have me call me back. That'd be great. Or if there's somebody else who can help me, that'd be cool, too. Right. But yeah, like, you know, I would say if they're non response or late response has the possibility to delay the project, which probably falls on you right at the end of the day. It's good to get ahead of that early. So I hope that answered that question. Feel free to drop in if you know are, feel free to drop in the chat if you have other questions or if that didn't make sense. Okay, cool, cool. Okay, so going back to Dan. Let's see going back to Danielle's comment, she says, Oh, yes, boundaries are key. Sometimes I'll send the guiding questions like three, about what kind of feedback that will be helpful during the review process. Excellent. Excellent. And I'm sorry if I misgendered you, so I apologize for that. But yeah, yeah, definitely, like, you know, I mean, just giving them a heads up of like, you know, what kinds of feedback Am I looking for? Yeah, I mean, that is really helpful. Just to set that expectation at the beginning and say, again, this is what I need at this particular juncture. And I think setting those boundaries at all of the different milestones are really helpful to say like, okay, discovery process, I need this from you, you know, initial interview, we need this second review, blah, blah, blah. All those things I think will help make your relationships with smees more effective. Okay. All right. Yeah, definitely. Thanks for dropping in today, Melissa. I appreciate that. Any other thoughts or questions? Feel free to drop those in and hit my coffee pretty hard today. I'm kind of tired. Okay, yeah, definitely. You're welcome. You're welcome, Devon. Thanks for dropping in today.

Yep, thank you. Thank you, Daniel.

Luis Malbas  
All right. So I guess we'll wrap this one up, Bridgette.

Bridget Manley  
Yeah, sounds great. I think I think I think we've covered all the things.

Luis Malbas  
Awesome. Well, I wanted. Before I close things out, I just wanted to remind everybody that next week, we have that transitioning to learning development, virtual event that's happening, it's actually taking place all week, I just posted a link to the chat on there. Registration is free. It's actually I was looking at it, I'm really amazed that like, I think I have maybe 30 Something people involved in putting this one together. And I'm actually not even finished adding all the stuff to the agenda yet, just because I've had a bunch of stuff coming in last minute. But it is looking really, really incredible. And I think if you have the time next week to pop into some of the sessions, give it a go, it's going to be it's going to be a lot of fun. So next week, go to T to l If you want to learn more about that. And it's not just for anyone transitioning into learning development, you're going to find some stuff in there. Just even if you're a seasoned Instructional Designer. In fact, like the first day we have some things on mental health and in throughout the event, there's some things that I'm sure can apply to everybody's situation. So try to join us next week if you can. And with that, Bridget This was great. I loved it. It was really busy. The chat was fantastic. I'm looking forward to posting this recording is providing you're providing so much value. Thank you so much, Bridget.

Bridget Manley  
Thank you. I appreciate it. This was fun. All right,

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