Robin Sargent 0:00
Welcome to become an idol. I'm Dr. Robin Sargent, owner of idle courses. This is the place where newbies come to learn and veteran share their knowledge.
I have here with me, Matt Smith and I actually connected with Matt Smith on LinkedIn quite a few years ago, whenever I found his agency in Australia called pure learning. And now we've just connected again, and just with all of his years of experience in corporate instructional design, running his own agency, and now as a freelance instructional designer, I just know that he has a wealth of knowledge to share with us. And so, Matt, will you please do a better job of introducing yourself?
Matt Smith 0:53
Sure. Thanks, Robin. And thank you for having me. Yes. So I have been in this industry for quite quite some time. I currently work as in finance advisor to companies, I help businesses get better at learning, and I help l&d teams get better at what they do. As Robin mentioned, I'm previously the CEO of a digital learning agency called pure learning, where we focused on consulting and developing a lot of digital learning experiences or elearning courses animation video as well, and worked with a huge amount of clients across a lot of industries had a lot of fun with that. And yeah, I think at heart, I do, I do still consider myself a bit of an instructional designer. That's what I'm really passionate about.
Robin Sargent 1:31
I love it. And we actually said that we you'd really like to share with us is some of those things that you may not realize or be told before you get into the instructional design field. And I'm sure everybody has kind of different things. But I am just so curious about what yours are.
Matt Smith 1:48
Yeah, thank you. And this probably leans a little bit more towards corporate because that's where my, my life has been in as instructional designer. But I do see a lot of people that are very eager, especially in the last couple of years to join this field of work. And I think there's a lot of promises around, some of them are good and valuable. And some of them are just a bit far off, I think, from most people's experience. So yeah, I really want to talk about some of the things that no one really openly talks about, I guess one to start off with is a bit of a harsh truth. But if you are working in corporate, I do hear a lot of people say I want to get into learning and development because I've really liked helping people. And that's great. And, and, you know, kind of what I like about the field of learning and development. But when you work for corporate, you know, eventually you realize that it is ultimately about helping the business. It's that's your primary goal.
Robin Sargent 2:42
That is a very, very true statement. And you see that in a couple of ways. Don't too. I mean, where that becomes clear to you, what are some examples
Matt Smith 2:51
you're thinking of? Yeah, so you know, I mean, a really good way that we talk a lot about being human centered, and, you know, really focusing on the audience. But ultimately, you do have to be focused on those business goals, you can't just focus on I'd be great if these people would learn this, or they could upskill in this, it is really about serving the business and the business needs, Otherwise, they wouldn't be spending money, hiring people. And I think that can just be a little bit of a shock when you when you first get in there because you want to be really helpful. And you might not brush up on the business skills side of things you might not learn so much about, what is the business's goals, what's their strategic vision. And I think a lot of that can cause it might not be obvious at first, but it can cause a lot of problems. And, you know, I've seen new instructional designers be in meetings and just have really bad experiences with subject matter experts or senior stakeholders, because they are focusing a bit too much on how we're going to help people. And you can kind of see something switch over in the stakeholders or SMEs are like, No, we really need to achieve this business outcome here. So you know, I think, I think some people are kind of sold this dream, or they're, you know, they have this impression that they're going to come in and they're going to, you know, teach all these adults, like you would teach students, you're gonna make a real difference in their lives. But I don't want people going into industry having this rude shock where they realize actually, no, I'm serving this corporation here. I'm serving their needs.
Robin Sargent 4:18
Yeah, and I like that. This is like your first tip map. Because also, if you can have that mindset at the very beginning, that you're not there just to help people and like this fluffy, Rainbow type of way, but instead it's about helping the business, that you'll actually show up more as a professional and more respected in that role if you come with that mindset, because that's about everybody in that in their different roles, whether they're instructional designer or not. That's how they're judged, right is whether what they're doing is actually meeting any of those business goals. And so I think it would do a lot just for your the way people perceive you.
Matt Smith 4:59
That's That's right. I mean, another thing that I think is really important to understand is that business knowledge and skills is really just as important as your instructional design skills, which might seem a little bit strange. But when you do get into a business environment, and if you haven't had any business experience, for instance, like if you're a teacher or something like that, for me, I came outside of in the business world, but I wasn't exactly working for, you know, big corporations in skyscrapers and things like that, there was, you know, I felt most overwhelmed by all the acronyms and all the terminology. And I was working on some finance projects, I didn't really know much about finance. And I really underestimated how much you actually need to know about business as well just helps you so much. When you're having conversations with subject matter experts, it's not your job to be the subject matter expert. But if you're constantly asking the subject matter experts really basic stuff, you know, you can get them off site a little bit. And it's just harder for you to ask the right questions. But then even more, so you know, when you're dealing with stakeholders, it can be tricky, and they can lose faith in you very quickly, if they think this person doesn't really understand our business or doesn't understand business in general.
Robin Sargent 6:09
Yeah. So if you were to guide people down a path to start learning about business before they, you know, make the transition, what are some of the things that you would give them like Google search terms? Or books? Yeah, resources, what would you say?
Matt Smith 6:26
Yeah, absolutely. I've been looking at some general business books. So I should have, I should have made a list of should be in spite of me. But there's books like what the CEO wants you to know. And there's a lot of books that kind of reference, you know, pocket MBAs or speedy MBAs and things like that those, those are pretty good at getting a general grasp around basic business ideas. I think just doing some Google searches around how businesses are structured, what businesses are made up in terms of departments, and really doing a lot of research about the specific business you're actually joining, as well. So having a look and just doing a search term in the Google New Search, and finding out what they've been doing recently, going on their Wikipedia page. So you have one just to see the history of it. And then just digging around on LinkedIn to see what are the things that people are posting as well, it gives you a bit more of a feel for it. But what it also does is, you'll find as you go through, there'll be references to things that people are saying, you know, on LinkedIn or in these articles that you don't understand. And then And then Google those, and then you'll just kind of go down this rabbit hole of understanding more and more about that business. And that'll that'll really help you out.
Robin Sargent 7:32
Yeah, that's those are all great tips. And then I just kind of thought of one more, while you were sharing that, like, if you want to know more about how business works. And you have more specific questions, after you've kind of gone down your rabbit holes, or trails, whatever gonna call them. You could also do an informational interview with somebody who actually is familiar and has worked in corporate as
Matt Smith 7:53
well. Absolutely. And, and I mean, social media, I was having this conversation with someone the other day, social media is so great, especially LinkedIn, for the corporate side, if you want to learn, and I think a lot of people are reluctant. I know I was this way, when I first started, I just kind of set up a LinkedIn profile and just sat there. But it is amazing how much information you can get for free, and how many people that you might even look up to that would actually talk to you for free as well. So if you just start being active, start replying to things on LinkedIn, start reaching out to people, you can end up making some really great connections, which is, which is good for your career. But you also learn a lot as well. And I wouldn't be afraid to, you know, look like you don't know what you're talking about or anything like that. If you're new in your career, people will see it on your LinkedIn profile, go in there and ask questions. Prioritize learning, don't prioritize appearing to be something you're not really get in there and just just ask questions, DM people, you'll be so surprised at how much free time people are willing to give you just for free advice and to help because they were once like you, they they were one starting off. And yeah, this industry is full of people that are really lovely and really like giving up their time too.
Robin Sargent 9:01
I love that that is that's so true. And just I like how you just said prioritize and learning instead of like worrying about how you're perceived or what your image is. That's, that's so good. Okay, so people are like, Okay, well, alright, it's about helping the business. I need to know business knowledge, what were some What's another one,
Matt Smith 9:21
I think, coming into the industry and learning about instructional design as well. And what you want to do you know, because there's, there's options where you can work full time for a business or you can be a freelancer, we could go and work for an agency, I would really do my research. When you're looking for signing up to an academy or someone's course or you're subscribing or even just, you know, subscribing to someone's blog, I'd really look into how much experience that person has and what type of experience they have. Because it is complicated. You know, you need a diverse range of skills and instructional design and like we said you also need that that business expertise to if someone's only been in the industry for a few years. And they set up a, you know, Academy or something, you're not going to learn a huge amount from them, you know, they're still learning as well. And unfortunately, you know, it's it's treated by industry, there is a lot of businesses out there that teach very basic information and promise that you'll get lots of, you know, lots of job offers and high paying jobs and all that sort of stuff when those people actually haven't haven't done those things themselves or don't have the knowledge and experience that, that you'll really need.
Robin Sargent 10:25
Yeah, so just doing your due diligence on who you're going to take your advice from? That kind
Matt Smith 10:32
of, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Because, you know, advice is funny, you can't, if you're new to an industry, you cannot identify what advice is correct, and what is wrong, you know, some advice sounds really good. And you listen to it and go, Wow, that's like, you know, that's going to revolutionize my career. And that's fantastic. And I'm going to be able to do so much with that. But that turns out that the advice is pretty shallow, because that person themselves doesn't have a lot of real understanding around you know, the technique or the tool they're talking about, or, you know, the the industry or the profession themselves as well. So I'd really be just really think about it, you know, it isn't, you should invest in yourself, and you should learn, but you really do need to, you know, make sure that you are learning from the right sources and the right people, a good way to mitigate that is from learning from lots of people for free online. And there's also a lot of heaps of free resources around for you to for you to learn about instructional design as well. I would say that when you enter the field, that whatever you think instructional design is, you're probably pretty wrong about it. You know, I know, I know, some people that go in and they think, yep, I'm going to go in there, and I'm going to solve business problems. And I'm going to be doing all this really great stuff. And I'm not going to be developing e learning and then you start and yep, you probably will be developing elearning. But then at the same time, there's a lot of people that think that's, that's all you do, as well. And it really varies from organization to organization, you have a bit of influence over that around how you conduct yourself and how you run workshops, and how you suggest solutions. But then there's also there's so many different things that you can create and investigate and using your solutions as an instructional designer, it's not just a binary of face to face training, or elearning. There's performance support, there's coaching, there's mentoring, there's all these different variations of electronic media that you could use, there's so many different physical interactions and personal interactions that you can help create or be a part of. So I'd really just consider that you know, you are a bit of a bit of a blank slate coming there thinking that there's a lot more for you to learn. But once you get into the role, really think about what's the best thing for this situation, you know, don't don't go in there thinking this is what I've been told is the best is what I learned in the course I did. It's really about picking the best tool for the job or the best delivery method for the job. And it's so that's what makes instructional design so tricky. It's so diverse. And so, you know, broad in what we can do.
Robin Sargent 12:57
I know I find myself saying all the time Oh, well, it depends.
Unknown Speaker 13:01
Yeah, yep. Yep. Absolutely.
Robin Sargent 13:03
There's a lot of gray. Yep. So were there any other? I mean, I know you were kind of already in corporate. But were there any other kind of surprises that you had? At the beginning? I think,
Matt Smith 13:16
like you just said, it does, it does depend, I think one of the things that you probably anyone will probably be surprised at eventually is how often that training is not the solution. So one thing I would say is really start Googling things like performance consulting, or human performance technology, or performance analysis and start thinking about that. Because as you go on in your career, you'll start to realize, actually, that training I developed a few years ago that elearning course I developed, I didn't really tackle the problem, there are some other factors that needed to be addressed before that. And I think if you really do care about learning, and instructional design, one of the things you really should focus on is making sure that some sort of learning intervention, whatever you're creating is actually the right thing you should be doing. You know, there's a bit of, I'm gonna use the word integrity here. But I don't mean it in terms of like, I mean it in terms of integrity around the skill and the discipline, you really need to be going into each situation and thinking, I need to really prove that we've exhausted every other avenue before we've gone down the path of training first, because if I just developed training, because I've been asked to develop training, and there's other reasons why people aren't performing, or people aren't doing this thing, then my training is going to be useless. And then that's eventually that's going to reflect badly on you, it's going to cost the business money. And, you know, the thing that I think we don't think about enough is it has a real human cost of taking up people's time if you develop a you know, a one hour course or a two day session, and then that is useless and and you know, 1000 people have gone through that. That's a lot of human potential and time that is that has been wasted too. So I'd really be considering that and looking into that very early in your career if you're just starting out.
Robin Sargent 14:58
What about this one thing that I see A quite a few of my own students kind of struggle with. And I find interesting, I'd like to hear your take on it, Matt. And that is, I find that they'll get the job. And then they'll come back to me. And they'll message me about something like, they felt like the stakeholders kind of pushed them around. They, they felt like, you know, the the subject matter experts were just kind of dominating what they did and dismissed all their ideas, or some of them just kind of have a little bit of fear around kind of owning the project, owning their expertise, and that kind of thing. So what are, what are some of your thoughts about that?
Matt Smith 15:44
Yeah, I think one is the mindset. So I think you do need to go in, and it's hard when you when you first start out. And it's even hard when your experiences to think that I, my role in this is to play a very specialized role here, and to be the expert. And even though maybe I might only be a year or two into this, I need to still come in with that mindset. Because even if you've only had one or two years experience, the subject matter experts and the stakeholders have had zero experience in doing what you're doing. So I think, you know, you shouldn't be pushing an image of yourself that isn't isn't correct. But you do need to go in with that, that confidence, you do need to kind of stick up for yourself, I think a lot of people do get burnt out and want to leave and feel pretty despondent after a while if they don't establish them selves very quickly, with that kind of presence, where they're able to push back a bit. Business is full of pushing back businesses full of negotiation businesses full of you know, disagreements. So really don't go in there and start being an order taker, because you'll develop a habit of becoming an order taker, and it'll be hard to get out of it. So I think that is another thing that is something that people don't tell you, when you first get into instructional design on the corporate side is that you've got to deal with a lot of ego and politics. And a lot of you know, if you haven't worked in the business world, you will be surprised to find out that a lot of business decisions aren't logical and rational, they are emotional. And they're to do with, you know, people's own agendas or their, they just don't want to, you know, look like someone else's idea is better. There's all sorts of, you know, strange ways that businesses work. So you need to realize that you need to, you can't win every argument through logic, it's very good to use data, it's very good to use logical arguments around why you should do a certain thing, or why you're taking a certain approach. But you also need to understand that there are other things that play like egos and emotions as well. And so you need to also apply to the emotional side and do a bit of persuasion as well. One, one way to do that is to start the project off on a really good foot by really focusing on those business goals, really focusing on what is performance we're trying to improve here, and just always bring it back to that as well. And reminding people, because what you'll find is, as you're going through a project or program of some kind, things start to kind of fork off and people start, you know, focusing on things they shouldn't focus on, you know, the color of the button in the E Learning, or what sort of snacks are going to be in the classroom. And those are all details, you can sort out but you'll find yourself in meetings where you're spending 15 minutes debating those things. And you know, you shouldn't be there should be very quick decisions. And you should be able to bring it back and say, okay, the purpose of what we're doing here is actually to help these people do this thing better and achieve these better results. So let's go back to what what our objectives are. And let's focus on that I think we're getting caught up a bit too much in the details. So you always need to be very mindful of that.
Robin Sargent 18:37
And I think one other thing that I like to put in front of you to Matt, that I think might surprise some people. And I've seen a couple of things. And that is that that deliverable? I mean, yes, training is not always the solution. But once it's determined that it is pushing out some type of deliverables, some type of work, like whether it's your outline your scripts, your you know, getting the whole thing done. That is that is very important. And I don't think people realize, like, even if you, you know, are not getting everything you need from your subject matter expert or whatever, you still have to deliver something, you still have to like earn your key. Yeah. Have you knew did you find that as well? Can you talk about? Yeah,
Matt Smith 19:22
yes. Yeah, absolutely. So you do. And I think that's very much about expectations as well. And there's a few things in there. You know, a lot of people do have the expectation that l&d Their job is to produce content and run training. So there is that expectation. Yeah, we need this constant supply of stuff coming coming from you. So one part of that is, is really setting expectations around your process. So if you're, you don't need to go in there at the start of a project and you run a workshop and you're asking questions about the business and about the user. People might stuck on it. Can't we just send you the slides and you can just make make that or can't we just tell you what you need? To train, so you need to set really good expectations around this, the process we follow and, and this is going to help the training or the content be much, much better. And so you need to do a lot of that with every interaction you're having, you need to really make it clear that you have a process and people understand this, what you're doing is just changing an expectation, you know, if I went to the mechanic, and said, I need you to fix my car, and he said, are the carburetors as a bad analogy, cuz I know nothing about cars, but the carburetor is broken by I need to go through that. But first, what I'm going to do is check these other things to make sure something else isn't causing that problem. I don't go in there and say, not just just fix my tires, and it probably should work. You know, we're used to dealing with experts and understanding they have their own process, and they have knowledge that we don't have. And so you need to set the expectation that you are the expert in your field, and you have a process and you need to really stick to that process, otherwise, you won't be able to do the job properly. And people do understand that they do get it. The reason there is a conflict so much the time is because they just have an expectation that things are different. They have an expectation that you are the people you send a bunch of source materials to and you're pumped out some stuff. But then yeah, like you said, like once you are developing material, then yeah, you do have to get it out. And you do have to get it out on time, I think one of the biggest ways that you can lose respect in a business is by missing deadlines. So you need to be really good at setting, you know, good deadlines don't say what they want to hear if if you're going to take a couple of days longer than they want you to, you have to call it out, you have to say we just can't do that at the moment, we either have to remove things from scope, or we have to add more resources onto the project or we just need to have a different timeline. If you just say yes, and you know, take on a deadline, you know, you're not going to meet and then you don't meet it, you're going to lose much more respect. So once again, people used to be having pushback and negotiation in businesses. Really think about that. And then the other thing I'd say about deliverables, too, is you need to if you are someone who does become very focused on content development, or has that as a big part of your job, really understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, if people are coming to you and I've seen this a lot from running an agency, if people are coming to you and you're pumping out material that is of a quality, they could do themselves, they're gonna go somewhere else, they're either going to do it themselves, and they're going to think, why am I spending time in meetings when I could just spend the same time doing this myself? Or they're going to hire an agency? And I'd say 40 to 50% of my clients are pure learning, we're not learning and development teams, they were other parts of the business. And quite often, I would say, is there any reason you're not working with the l&d team, sometimes they would say, Oh, they're just too busy. But the majority of time, they would say, they just don't have the skills to create what we want to create. So I'd really be thinking about, you know, if you do want to specialize down to your path, like elearning, for instance, is really developing the right skills if you if you want to get good at visual design. Don't search up Visual Design for elearning. Go learn from graphic designers go go look at the work of graphic designers and go go directly to the source. If you want to learn more about writing, go learn copywriting learn UX writing, go and learn storytelling, go and learn a bit of journalism, which is which is actually a really kind of transferable skill, really go to the source around how do we develop this content. Because I think the problem is in learning and development, we quite often just look at what everyone else does. And we say that's the standard. But the people that we develop things for, they don't they don't look at, you know, blogs, and you know, the articulate heroes challenges or anything like that. What they look at is the apps they use the videos, they watch the the shows, they watch on TV, everything they use in their personal life. So they're going to judge material based on how it looks and how it feels and how they respond to it in their personal life. And I think that's something that a lot of people don't quite understand. So if you want to get to that level of skill and and create that level of material, you're going to have to use the same sort of tools that those professionals use, you're going to have to develop the same skills, you're going to have to understand the same principles. So go directly to the source to learn a lot of that stuff.
Robin Sargent 24:09
I love that that is such great advice. That's right, because like when you're designing for people like they are immersed in that apps that are designed by professional graphic designers, and UI and UX and, and so their standards of quality when they are interacting, especially with elearning is a lot different than what may be the industry standard might be for what's considered, you know, good elearning. And that's just that's such a great point. I love that you can go to the source.
Matt Smith 24:41
Thank you. I think maybe one other thing I haven't touched on as well just from, you know, being a hiring manager, internal but also, you know, having an agency as well and looked at lots of resumes and things like that. So maybe I know we're coming up on time, but maybe just to kind of close it out some things that I've noticed generally is kind of floating around. And like I said before, you know, some people are putting out a lot of advice that maybe they're not very experienced. I know, there are some people who teach people how to land jobs as instructional designers or freelancers. But they themselves have never been in a position to hire a freelancer, or actually to hire someone to be a full time instructional designer themselves. So they don't, they're kind of giving advice that they're either hearing somewhere else and repackaging for themselves, or they're making it up. But a couple of things that I've noticed, you know, there's a lot of talk about kind of infographics or kind of visual resumes as well just be very mindful of that sort of stuff, applicant tracking systems, and CRMs can pull the data from those. And I think if you're a busy hiring manager, and you're looking at hundreds of applications, if the data doesn't come through CRM, it's a sad, harsh truth, but a lot of people will just delete that entry, and they won't dig into the files or the original application. And also, you know, I've had some visual resume sent to me, and, like, we're just saying, they don't look like the big credit by graphic design, and it kind of hard to read. And that's been an instant kind of know, for me, you know, I haven't gone further and to look at someone's portfolio or their, their resume, to understand their experience, cuz I just get there. And, you know, it's either a templated thing, which we've seen a million of, or it is something that's, you know, not up to that same level of quality, and it has been a turn off. And you've got to realize that when people are in a process of trying to find people to work for them, they get a lot of applications, but they've got a million other things to do, especially if they're a business owner, or a senior person. So you anything like that is unnecessary friction for them. So they're going to discard a lot. And another one as well, which I think is, is it falls under this category of it depends. But what I would say to people is that portfolios are probably not as important as a lot of people on social media make them out to be some hiring managers really care about portfolio, some of them look at them, and they're helpful. Some of them don't care. Like I've seen a lot of people, some people, you know, message me and asked me to give advice on their portfolios and see how much time they've put into it. And you've really got to think about the return you're getting on that time, you know, a really elaborate portfolio have spent lots of time kind of making look really, really pretty, is good. But are you telling the story around what problem you're solving in the business? Are you just including a bunch of screenshots? You know, can you tell me about what your involvement is? The challenge with portfolios that hiring managers have is they don't know what exactly is yours and what isn't. And what I mean by that is, if it is actual work, you've worked on, what part of the project have you played, you know, I've got a lot of portfolios, I've looked at it, and then I've given the applicant a challenge, and they haven't produced anything new, the quality they showed me. And then it turns out that they were, you know, a, they did QA on the project, so they edited a bit as well. So you need to be very hiring managers, you know, they're skeptical of this sort of stuff, and then having fake projects on portfolios that that, you know, if you're experienced, I wouldn't do it. If you are new to industry, but then of course, you're going to have to do that to show some things, I'd be very mindful of not designing something that you would like to do, I'd, you know, I saw a portfolio recently where it's, you know, it's about something that someone's really passionate about, but it has absolutely no relation at all, to anything in credit and game around kind of some of their hobbies, that it has no application to what sort of jobs are applying for. So I'd really be mindful of thinking about well, what job do I want? And what sort of work I would do, I'd really consider that. I would also reach out to just, you know, people that work at companies you'd like to work for, and, and ask them, what sort of projects do you do? I'm creating a portfolio at the moment, I would like to put some stuff together, what are the things you look for, like I said, people are really open to that. But then on the other side, you know, I've hired ideas without, we haven't had portfolios. You know, I think a really good cover letter goes a long way, if that's really compelling. I think if you can demonstrate your skills and abilities live in an interview situation, that's really important as well. And so I just want people to think that the portfolio is the thing that will always get you the job, you know, it does depend on a lot. But also, if you've just focused on your portfolio, and then you interview very poorly, it doesn't matter how good your portfolio is, you're probably not going to get work.
Robin Sargent 29:24
Yeah, that's so interesting. I hear you say, I usually tell my students do like, you know, because most of them are transitioning. So I say, do a minimum viable portfolio. Right? Just yeah, just something that, you know, you can, you know, demonstrate your skills, you can put it out there, you're always going to update it, you're always going to make it better later on as you grow. I mean, you're just where you are right now. So just like let's get it done, let's not spend a million hours, right, because the most amount of experience that you're gonna get is actually on the job, right?
Unknown Speaker 29:56
Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
Robin Sargent 29:59
Those are those are good. eight tips. Because I think a lot of people what's so funny, they, I always call it like an MVP Minimum Viable portfolio. Because, you know, even if you spend a million hours on your portfolio, your skills are just at a certain place where you're just, it's almost becomes like a loss of returns. I guess it's like diminishing returns at a certain point of time that you spend on. Yeah, yeah.
Matt Smith 30:24
And, you know, I've never had a portfolio. And you know, a lot of my experience has been in probably things that lend themselves to a portfolio like the the digital learning or the elearning. side. And, yeah, I've been okay with that. One. I'm not saying everyone should just stop doing them. But I think you just need to consider that I know, there's a lot of emphasis put on him out there, like you need to make a portfolio portfolio is the key. And once again, like we're talking about before, you know, I think that comes for a lot of people who have haven't had much experience in the industry, and it's just a really good selling point to get you into their course, or sign up to subscribe to their YouTube videos or whatever. But yeah, I mean, even you know, something I would do as an agency is I would not want to show much previous work to clients, because I wouldn't want them to, what you'll find is they'll point out or something and they'll say, I want something like that, and then they get fixated. And then you're like, Yeah, but that doesn't really fit. You know, do we know, even just the visuals, you know, do we know the audience gonna respond well to that, how about we do a little bit of work to understand what people care about and what their concerns are, and what drives them. So what we would do, and this is a bit easier when you're an agency, but it's also something you can consider as a freelancer or someone starting out, is you can say, give me a little bit of a brief. And we're going to think about this. And what we'll do is we'll do a quick mock up of what it could look like. And this is not going to look as in or guaranteed. But we'll show you how we're going to solve the problem, we're going to explain exactly how it's going to be done. And we're going to show you what we'd think in terms of you know, if it's a learning or video or something, what visually look like and that served me well, that kind of positions you as an expert, that shows that you're willing to really create something custom and really understand what the quiet client situation is, but also changes the conversation from there, or you're the developer person that just makes stuff. And here's a list of things. And I look at your portfolio or your list of work as a menu and they say I'll have items number 56 and 22, please. So that is another option. And if there is a business or someone that you really want to work for, I wouldn't be shy and reaching out and saying, Hey, listen, I noticed job applications, you know, don't close for two weeks, I would like to develop a you know, a project or a mock up, give me give me a bit of an example. And I'll put it in now I'll call it out in my portfolio. But there's, there's something that you can look at. And that extra step might be enough to impress someone, especially if you're new.
Robin Sargent 32:49
Wow, man, that was such good advice. I wish I had that advice that I can imagine that would just change like that client conversations, this is all what whenever they get on the phone with you, because they actually have something to talk about to discuss now that now you've done some art of persuasion a little bit on that client call because you you actually have something like, you know, pretty tangible to show them about solving their problem and giving them something custom. And then now a little bit of reciprocity is built in there because you like built their mock up for free. For really, I'm I'm stealing that idea with a bootcamp? Excellent. So good. Go ahead.
Matt Smith 33:37
Yeah, no, no, I was just gonna gonna say that's right. It changes the conversation from being so focused on a solution instead of content. And it does, it shows that you are going to create something that is actually specific for the problem, the audience, the subject matter, the organization and culture. And that is really important just to change those expectations. Yes, I don't come in here with a bag of tricks that I just roll out every time I don't come in here with a template. And I mean, some people do. And that kind of works for them financially, I guess, but it's not a very good way to, to go about helping businesses or people or furthering your own growth and skills. But it is it's positioning yourself as that expert. And if you do end up in that stuck in that box of being an order taker for the rest of your career, you're gonna have a lot of miserable experiences. You're not going to like your job. I've there are people I know who have been in this for 510 years, and they've just got stuck in that order taker kind of hamster wheel, and they desperately want to get out of the industry. And I don't think it's because the industry is not for them. I think they've just they've been worn down. They've been broken. They don't know how to step away from this kind of identity that they've created for themselves around being an order taker in the business. And it's you're losing autonomy or you're losing mastery and purpose. All the things that people enjoy about having a good creative job.
Robin Sargent 34:58
Yeah, okay. Man, this was just been chock full of valued. Thank you so much. Do you want to give any last tips? Or advice for those that are new instructional designers? I mean, you've already given a ton, but smile.
Matt Smith 35:12
Yeah, I think I think just in summary, you know, do research about pretty much everything about jobs you're looking for about who you're learning from, look around at what other people are saying, look around at things like, you know, social media sites like Reddit and LinkedIn about what people are saying there. And really just just just be aware that there is a lot of bad advice given out either intentionally or unintentionally. And there are a lot of people that want to take your money. So just really, really think about that when you're when you're learning. And then when you get into the business side, reach out to people, I'm more than happy for you to connect with me on LinkedIn and ask me some questions via DM or comment on some some posts or anything like that. So take advantage of all the all the technology that we have access to.
Robin Sargent 35:52
Thank you so much, man, I really appreciate all that you have shared with us today.
Matt Smith 35:57
Thank you. Thank you very much for making the time and I hope you have a wonderful evening.
Robin Sargent 36:02
Yes, you do. Great. Thanks. Thank you so much for listening. You can find the show notes for this episode at idle courses.com. If you liked this podcast and you want to become an instructional designer, an online learning developer, join me in the idle courses Academy, where you'll learn to build all the assets you need to land your first instructional design job, early access to this podcast tutorials for how to use the elearning authoring tools, templates for everything course building and paid instructional design experience opportunities, go to idle courses.com Ford slash Academy and enroll or get on the waitlist. Now get out there and build transcendent torch
Transcribed by https://otter.ai