Starting to Work out Loud


Photo from Mickey O’neil via

I’m reading Working out Loud by John Stepper and it is enlightening to say the least. I’ve made my first pass through the book and am now returning to the exercises on how to start working out loud. I’ve done some of this in the past, but I want to be more deliberate about it and make it a habit. In chapter eight Stepper discusses developing a growth mindset. To do this you must “focus on getting better versus being good.” This hit me like a ton of bricks. For much of my life I’ve strived “to be good at something” which often paralyzed me from growing or “getting better.” The first step in the guided mastery part of the book is to determine your goal for the next twelve weeks. So to that end, my goal is to work on getting better in my presentation skills.

As a step in this direction, I’ve decided to start recording screencasts on how to use Articulate Storyline. This will serve several purposes.

  1. It will help me become more comfortable presenting material (yes I realize I’m not really presenting to a group of people – baby steps).
  2. It will serve as a means to narrate my work. I can share the process I go through, challenges, successes, insights, etc.
  3. It will help me to learn Storyline better, because teaching someone else how to do something is the best way to learn it yourself.

After I record a screencast, I’ll check for the following things.

  • Delivery: Am I stiff as a board or lively? To borrow from A. A. Milne, am I a Tigger or an Eeyore? I readily admit I lean more toward Eeyore, so that is something to work on.
  • Cadence: Am I tripping over words or inserting a bunch of ums and uhs? Do I need a script? If so, how do I read it without sounding like I’m reading a script? Maybe just main points.
  • Mouse movement: Am I being deliberate in my actions or distracting by moving the cursor all over the screen?
  • Content: Did I get it right? Did I forget anything or show things in the wrong order? Did I present too much or too little material?
  • Opening and closing: Do I have a coherent introduction and conclusion vs. rambling into oblivion?
  • Sound quality: Too loud? Too soft? Humming? Echo chamber? Static?

Finally, after I do my initial check, I intend to share these screencasts and ask for feedback on the same topics from people who have more experience in recording screencasts. I’ll pick 3-5 people from my PLN and ask for honest assessments. In my next post I’ll detail some of the challenges I’m facing as I start this journey.

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