Facilitator + Trainer + Creative Coach |
Based in Connecticut, Working Worldwide

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Justine Ickes workshop facilitator

Need to Know, Nice to Know

Need to Know, Nice to Know

Where do you do your best thinking?

In the shower? At the gym? In the checkout line at Whole Foods?

No matter when or where your creativity sparks, it’s important to capture your ideas so you can create engaging and effective learning programs.

When you’re an expert in your field, it can be tempting to pack your webinar and your course with everything you know. 

But smart course designers realize that it’s not enough to simply churn out a laundry list of topics. You need to be selective, too.

Identifying your core “need to know” content and prioritizing it over other information that’s merely “nice to know” is the first step in developing your signature learning program


Because in a live webinar or online course you can have too much of a good thing.

Cram too much information into your learning event, and you run the risk of giving students (and prospective clients) a serious case of information overload.

At the very least, they might exit the webinar or not complete the course.

Worse, learners might be so turned off that they don’t enroll in your other courses, buy your products or services, or hire you for other work.

Let’s say you’re developing a basic course for people new to photography. You’re passionate about the history of the art form and your bookshelves are bulging with biographies of Robert Capa, Annie Leibovitz and other legendary photographers. You can talk a blue streak about lens and editing apps and your Instagram account is ginormous.

Your ideal learner, however, still hasn’t taken her point-and-shoot camera out of the box. 

See what I mean?

When you’ve got oodles of ideas, scaling back on your curriculum is a good approach. But you need to make sure you trim the right content.

Skimp on the core learning and your students will leave feeling hungry and unsatisfied.

So, how do you serve up the right content?

The key is to select the essential information and skills practice and deliver it in a way that keeps your students sated. 

Ask yourself:

  • Does the learner need to know this?
  • Is this essential information?
  • How will this content help meet my course objectives?

Want some support figuring out your key content so you can develop, launch and sell a course that’s just right for your clients? I’ve spent decades designing courses for clients large and small and I’ve got a proven system to get you in the learning game. Check out “The Launch Pad”, my hybrid coaching + consulting program here. Or contact me for a consult to find out how I can help.


Justine Ickes coach trainer facilitator

Three Tips for Engaging Learners

What makes for a great learning experience?

The short answer = A laser-like focus on the learner. 

As we all pivot to new ways of connecting, business owners, coaches, creatives, and folks like you are looking for the best ways to deliver powerful learning experiences.

Whether it’s a live webinar, pre-recorded course, virtual instructor-led training or a combination of all three, there’s one key rule to follow.

Put your audience front and center with these three simple rules.

  1. Show, don’t tell.

Make your content real! Remember those amazing Apple product launches? Like the legendary iPhone reveal? Or the iPad presentation? Steve Jobs didn’t just talk about these products; he actually showed what they could do in real-time.

I’m pretty sure the former Apple CEO knew there’d be a learning curve. That people would need time to figure out all the cool things they could do with the new devices.

But did Steve get bogged down in wordy step-by-step instructions for all those features? 

Nah. He knew people would be so excited and motivated that they’d experiment and learn on their own. 

The same goes for your own courses. Instead of boring your clients and customers with all the details, structure your courses so people can jump right in and teach themselves.

  1. Make your content real!

Candy Crush is fine when you need a mental pick-me-up. But when a chocolate craving strikes, wouldn’t you rather have the real thing?

Real live adults — like the ones enrolling in your webinars and courses — prefer content they can relate to. 

So, instead of imaginary scenarios and stock photos look for ways to boost the real life quotient in your courses.


Here’s one idea: Instead of spending money on stilted, professional voice-overs, or robotic find someone in your network who has a great voice and have that person do the narration. 

Think about it. You know your niche inside and out, right? And your employees (if you have any) should too. (And, if they don’t, why are they working for you?)

Do-it-yourself audio lets you tap into your in-house expertise and emphasize your brand’s unique personality.

So, talk about your products and services in real-world language your prospects and clients can understand.

  1. Watch your language.

Social media sites like Twitter, TikTok and Instagram have made tongue-in-cheek quips and commentary all the rage. To be sure, a smart and sassy title can bring traffic and maybe even boost sales.

But, when it comes to effective e-learning, it’s best to steer clear of this style of communication. Because what’s great for marketing can be downright annoying to a learner.

Remember, people come to your course to learn, not to be wowed — or worse, confused or irritated — by clever titles.

The next time you’re tempted to serve up some snazzy, punny text, ask yourself: Is this really necessary? Is this the best, clearest, most helpful way of educating my customers?

Follow these three rules and you’ll be well on your way to creating meaningful webinars and educational courses that your clients and customers will love.

Want some support getting your signature learning program up and running? I’ve spent decades designing courses for clients large and small and I’ve got a proven system to get you in the learning game. Check out The Launch Pad, my hybrid coaching + consulting program. Or contact me for a consult to find out how I can help.