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740 - Comcast University Honored; Part 2 of Keynote Anatomy

Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie - August 24, 2012.
#740 - Updates on Learning, Business & Technology.
55,799 Readers - - twitter: emasie - The MASIE Center.
Host, Learning 2012 - Oct 21 to 24, Orlando, FL -

1. Comcast Learning & University Honored!
2. Part 2 - Anatomy of a Keynote Speech - Design, Bathrooms & Headsets!

1. Comcast Learning & University Honored! We are honored to announce that Comcast will receive a Learning Spotlight Award at Learning 2012, October 21-24, in Orlando, FL.

This award recognizes Comcast’s  commitment to employee engagement while continuing to grow its business. Comcast leverages an internal National Executive Learning Council that includes members of the C-suite and other senior leaders to ensure alignment between the business and learning. This includes setting new expectations and strategy. Comcast University has established a business imperative team to connect daily with the enterprise project management office to clarify what learning solutions are needed and drive product trials, betas and pilots. Also, they have successfully redesigned new hire training for their almost 26 thousand call center employees.
“We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition from the Learning CONSORTIUM,” said Martha Soehren, Ph.D., senior vice president and CLO for Comcast University. “Comcast is bringing new products to customers faster than ever, and the 500 learning and development professionals across Comcast University are passionate about making sure our employees have access to training that will help them provide the best service for our customers.”

“Comcast’s ability to regularly engage senior leaders in the evolution of its learning strategy ensures that, through continual experimentation and innovation, learning is improved to directly support the business. Learning 2012 is pleased to honor Comcast and its leadership in the learning and performance field.” - Elliott Masie, Host & Curator, Learning 2012

Details at:

2. Part 2 - Anatomy of a Keynote Speech - Design, Bathrooms & Headsets!: Yesterday, I delivered the keynote address for the Navy in Orlando - following up on the design process described in the last Trends (

With all of the prep in the world, the design of a keynote address will continue to evolve once on-site.  Here are my notes from yesterday, starting with breakfast at 7 am:

* Day of Design Check: At breakfast, I went over my notes and thoughts - to check if there were any changes or open issues.  I paused as I thought about how to address the leader of this Naval Base, where simulation, learning systems and training technology is developed.  He has sent me a note with his nickname - Capt. Steve “Snak” Nakagawa.  But, would I use Captain, “Snak”, Steve or some other title?  There was no simple answer, so it fell into an open question list.  Other than that, I felt that my design was aligned with their needs - subject to change when I arrived at the theater.

* Face to Face Pickup: While I could have taken a taxi from the hotel to the speech, I had requested that one of their senior leaders might pick me up. So, we had a 15 minute conversation and I was able to fill out a number of key issues and also get a sense that this whole morning was designed to be “fun and community building”.  This had not been articulated in the previous video, but I smiled when I heard that they referred to this meeting as a “Town Hall”, and that music, video clips and other elements would lighten up the morning.  Aha, that led me to do a mental tweak - and put back in a story that would fit the spirit.

* AV Choice: When I got to the theater, there were AV choices to me made.  While I normally opt for a wireless handheld microphone, my options yesterday were for wired podium microphone or a “behind the ear, Madonna like setup”.  I chose the ear piece, tested it out in my voice and made sure that there was not too much slap back sound to me in the theater. And, I opted for a wooden big high stool in the middle of the stage, rather than standing behind the podium.

* Listening and Learning to the Program: There was a great 90 minute segment before the intermission and then my keynote.  During that time, I got a sense of the spirit of the event, the degree to which they were actively using language from Covey’s Habits and Senge’s Learning Organization.  The national anthem was sung vibrantly by four of their teammates and I laughed with the group at the upbeat nature of the content.

* Skipper Was My Choice: Every one of the senior leaders referred to the chief of the unit as “Skipper” and the second in command as “XO” - for Executive Officer. I made a mental and written note to use those terms.

* Bathroom PLEASE: There was only a 10 minute break before my speech and over 600 people were heading to use the restrooms in the theater. I asked for help to find a shorter line - down the hall - and made sure that I could get back in time to be ready to head up on stage 3 minutes before the start time. Whewwww.

* Connecting in 120 Seconds: You only have 2 minutes to make a connection with a large and distributed audience.  I adjusted my comments and got them to do some audience hand raising and laughing in the first 120 seconds. And, I framed up why I felt I was there with a few outcomes for the 45 minutes.

* Get Them Engaged: Several times during the speech, I had them turn to a neighbor and talk about an issue or question.  The first one was in the opening five minutes, when I had them tell a neighbor how they ideally like to learn themselves.  The room buzzed, the energy shifted to the audience and I then got rapid answers from the back and middle of the theater. I looked at Skipper and the XO and asked them for their answers which were: “Through Experience” and “From Peers and Experts”.  This set the tone that my keynote was not a pure download - it also curated some content from the audience and brought the Skipper’s words into the segment as well.

* A Coin at the End: It is always great to feel the audience responses during a keynote and at the end.  One wonderful tradition in the world of military presentations is when the Skipper puts an “Honor Coin”, a medal engraved with their base and name, and shakes your hand - gifting that to you. I have a collection of 50 great coins, including Secretary of Defense, Joint Chief of Staff and CIA Director, but each one feels like an honor.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take our MASIE Center coins, to give in return.  But today, I am sending the Skipper and his team our coins and appreciation for being asked to address their group.

* Design Feedback: I delivered 80% of what I had planned. I dropped one segment, based on comments from one of their leaders before me, that covered the same material.  And, I reorganized the order of the content - based on a sense of the energy and focus of the group.  Got several emails within an hour and a few Tweets from both the audience and leaders, saying thanks for adding stimulation and perspective to their work.  And, today there are several notes with questions and follow-up ideas in my email from new colleagues in Orlando.

The cycle of a keynote takes some time - if you are committed to DESIGN.  I appreciate working with groups that see face to face meetings as special times for broadening the perspectives of their audience - by bringing in outside speakers and authors.  The 45 minutes actually got stretched by me to 47 minutes, but I kept to our joint design and felt honored to be there.  Finally, I learned things. I made a page of notes during and after the morning with ideas that will pop up here in Learning TRENDS and at our Learning 2012 event.

Thanks for listening to the details of how one person approaches keynote addresses.  If you have any questions or comments, send me an email to

Yours in learning,

Elliott Masie

MASIE Center Seminars, Events and Services:
* Learning 2012 - Oct 21 - 24, 2012 - Orlando, Florida.
* Membership in The Learning CONSORTIUM
Info and Registration: - twitter: emasie