Saturday 6 November
Apparently we've just had our second board meeting ... I've been in town to open
a business bank account and was informed that the meeting with the bank's Business Officer
goes down as our second board meeting. It appears that the first board meeting was the
one where it was decided to form a limited company so I guess that
16 October's entry could serve as the minutes of meeting?
Wednesday 3 November
Crikey. As I walk into the modern building of my new client in Hampshire I immediately feel at home.
(The fact that they have our living room arm chairs in their reception area might
have something to do with it. ;-)
Monday 1 November
Role reversal. I'm being trained. Great venue. (Archway House in Royston, within walking
distance from a car park where you can park the whole day for £1.50 - now how unique is that?) Excellent
training. (A Shakespearean actor turned trainer.) Fantastic product!
(Knowledge Solutions, a product I'll be using
to capture and deliver Intranet based learning and simulation training material for a new client, so I'll be back in the
role of trainer rather than trainee as from tomorrow.)
Sunday 31 October
It's Halloween and you know what that means.
Well, I didn't when I first came to this country and ended up handing over all my favourite chocolate
Hobnobs as that was the nearest thing to treats I had in the house at the time. One year later and the
neighbourhood kids, showing off their home-made witch costumes, avoided our house
(apparently the Hobnobs hadn't gone down very well). But that's a long time ago and I now
know what Halloween is all about. To me Halloween is a time that reconfirms the social
bond of a neighbourhood, a chance for the children to gain confidence in themselves (and come away with bags full of candy ;-) So I've stocked up on sweets
and am waiting. But by the time it gets dark (early today as the clocks have gone back last night) one of my fellow Livelink trainers
rings to discuss a problem and by the time I get off the phone (45 minutes later) my husband is the
Friday 29 October
It's official! Name & Registered Office:
16 BULLEN CLOSE
CAMBRIDGESHIRE CB1 8YU
Company No. 05273176
Date of Incorporation: 29/10/2004
And no, I didn't by accident hit the CapsLock, nor was I shouting or angry! All I did was copy and paste
from the Companies House website where they keep part of the details in capitals. ;-) (If you want to
find out more about netiquette see Daniel Petri's excellent article on Top rules for correct e-mail netiquette.)
Thursday 28 October
The Christmas cards have been on sale for weeks,
the clocks change at the weekend and I got my first free diary for 2005 today (thank you,
Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce!) ... all the manifestations of the New Year being just around the corner.
So before this brand new diary fills up fast and furious I've set aside one day a week for a new and exciting
one-to-one coaching programme, helping you finally get to grips with the Microsoft Office tools and techniques you need to run
your business (and not what somebody else might think you need). OK, in theory I
have plenty of other work, but in practice I'm always looking for a few more great clients with whom I'll be able to
work on a long term basis. Details will go up on my website soon,
but in the meantime why not make a date in your brand spanking new 2005 diary?!
Tuesday 26 October
Got my first "snail mail" addressed to my new name! (With apologies to Royal Mail - no pun intended!)
Gazzas done it. Prince did. So did Puff Daddy and Cassius Clay ...
they all changed their names (to G8, an unpronounceable symbol, P. Diddy and
Mohammed Ali in case you are otherwise wondering for the rest of the day). Last week the official paperwork was sent to Companies House and I hope I can
soon officially announce that the training consultant formerly known as Karen Roem Software Training & Support will be known as Roem Ltd.
By the way, the different company status doesn't mean there will be changes to the services I offer or the way I work.
When I set up my own business 4 years ago I did that out of a passion for teaching and my love for working with people,
i.e. a career that offers more than a payslip! I'm still passionate about sharing the
best of what I know with you and I will continue to focus on designing and delivering training in non-traditional ways as
I know conventional training can be boring for some or even scary for others.
Motivate yourself to continually learn and develop and remember ...
Only the mediocre are always at their best. (Jean Giraudoux or a Yiddish proverb or anonymous, depending on who you belief ;-)
Thursday 21 October
Research has shown that on average, people spend 470 hours commuting per year. I bet ya' I easily match that, so I'm
really happy that today is one of my "virtual training" sessions. After a leisurely start I settle down in front
of my laptop. No need to get up at the crack of dawn to catch a train, plane or automobile - if I felt like it I
could even sit here in my jimjams! Using Microsoft NetMeeting I share the application I'm doing the training on
and I can allow the learner to take control and practice for themself.
Great feedback, expenses saved for the customer and 4 hours extra for myself. Safe time, petrol and sanity!
(If you want to find out more about Microsoft NetMeeting why not have a look at the
Microsoft NetMeeting website.)
By the way, I got my first blog fan mail today! The solicitor at Mills & Reeve who witnessed my statutory declaration needed
for the formation of my limited company (form 12 in case you are making notes ;-) emailed that he had been looking at my web site "...
it looks very impressive/user friendly - and I liked the blog!!" Happiness is!
Monday 18 October
My first day back doing what I do and love best - training. Shame the client was using their own evaluation forms as I would
have loved to see the effect of my recent modification to my own forms ...
As I know everyone hates forms it can be quite tricky to get feedback. But being a great believer
in "if-you-were-unhappy-tell-me-if not-tell-others" I've decided that as an incentive I
am pledging to donate 3 pounds to "Children of Nepal" for every completed form I receive, so your feedback can make a
real difference! "Children of Nepal" is a small British charitable organisation, run by my friends Sue and Nara Pandey,
that has the aim of extending and improving educational opportunities for children living in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world.
For further information see the Children of Nepal website.
Saturday 16 October
Just returned from my favourite Step class with Alison at Greens, here in Cambridge.
At the best of time I'm pretty useless at the choreography bit but, hey,
it keeps me fit (I know, I know: eat well, stay fit, die anyway). More importantly, however,
it makes me not think about anything but the dance routine for an hour per week. One hour where whatever goes
on in my life (read: business ;-) needs to be totally in the background unless I want to make an
even bigger fool out of myself (OK, I hide in the back anyway, but still). Well, today this seemed to be
totally impossible as, given the success of the company's first four years in business, I'm seriously considering
taking the business a step further and becoming a limited company. I'm meeting my accountant on Monday to discuss
further details, but it seems like Karen Roem Software Training & Support is growing up. Exciting times!
Thursday 14 October
I'm back! I've spent two days on a plane and two days in a car to spend three days tracking
through impenetrable rain forest (and potato fields ;-) in Rwanda and Uganda in search of
mountain gorillas. Now, does this holiday sound like your idea of hell? Well,
I cannot even begin to explain how privileged I felt to have seen these amazing creatures! So now all I have to do
is psyche myself up for those 122 email messages that arrived in 6 working days!
Finally, if you want to bring home more from your holiday than just dodgy souvenirs, dirty clothes and duty free
(how about amazing memories?!) check out
the website of Tribes. It's a Fair Trade Travel company who - apart from last week's gorilla
track - have organised various unique trips for us,
from a walking safari with the Maasai, to the famous Inca trail trek to Machu Picchu and last, but certainly not least,
climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (I'm the one with the bright green hood at the summit, half way down
their web page. And yes I'm
unrecognisable - I cannot even recognise myself!) All our trips were just perfect which is why I happily mention them here.
Tuesday 5 October
Somebody once wrote that if you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip so off we go.
On the way to the airport I check my voicemail one last time ... bad idea! Before I know it I'm in the car organising a venue
for the next Hands Off Seminar, to be held in Coventry on 7 December. (Don't worry -- my husband is driving.) When we get
at junction 15 on the M25, joining the M4 (i.e. very close!) I finally switch off my mobile. Holiday time! Escape isn't just a button on my keyboard.
Friday 1 October
I'm in a telephone conference with virtual colleagues from London, The Hague and Houston
(same Houston, different client). Without going into details about the "service" I was provided by NTL when
my landline went completely dead on Wednesday after four days of getting somebody else's calls,
suffice to say I'm using my mobile. Fifteen minutes or so into this
meeting a small tinned voice tells me "one minute remaining" and I'm one more phone down.
For some reason singer/song writer Jimmy Buffet's song "If the Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me" springs to mind.
Wednesday 29 September
Just picked up a few evaluation forms that were part of a big roll-out I did for
Churchill College in Cambridge on "What's New in Office 2003".
Remarks like "Karen is patient, clear in her explanations and very engaging" (thanks, Gemma!)
and "Wonderfully clear, reassuring etc" (what's the "etc", Felicity? ;-) were obviously nice to read,
but what brought a real smile to my face was "Content good. Trainer beautiful." (You're such a flatterer, Terry!)
Tuesday 21 September
Obvious part of any hands on training session is that learners will have to do some typing.
The "hunt-and-peck" typist might average 10 words per minute (if they're lucky), whereas the touch-typist will happily
type away without looking at the keyboard (always nice to observe them when they realise they started off with their fingers at the wrong keys).
With the risk of being labelled sexist I feel it's often the men who are hunting and pecking and the women whose fingers have been
trained to locate the keys by position.
However, one of my male course participants in this air-conditioned building in Texas is happily typing away without looking at his keyboard.
I'll call him Dick (because that's his name) and Dick told me he had a choice of extra-curricular activities when at high school.
All the girls did typing and all the boys did wood work. So Dick chose typing!
By the way, if you want to learn to touch type there are lots of typing tutors out there. Many, many moons ago
I evaluated a few and I remember I liked Accu-Type best.
And no, I do not get commission from any service or product I mention here ;-)
Sunday 19 September
I'm in Houston, having breakfast at the Holiday Inn hotel. Whilst loading up my plate with all sorts of fruit
I never allow myself time to cut up at home a gentleman at the buffet table starts chatting to me. He asks
whether I'm American. "No." So he tells me he's Brazilian. He asks me what I'm here for. "Business."
Then he tells me he is here for Livelink training for his company, Lloyd's Register.
Don't you love coincidences?
Wednesday 15 September 2004
End of my first Hands Off Seminar in Cambridge. Start of my weblog.
High on adrenaline and keen to talk about what has happened today I have decided to start a weblog (aka blog).
What is a weblog? Weblogs are a phenomenon
that know no boundaries. Personal weblogs have become increasingly popular over the last year or so. So here is mine.
It will be pretty much about my day-to-day experiences as a self-employed training consultant (that is, when I find the time to write),
but I will try and keep a constant supply of interesting links, quotes and recommended reading to make the blog readable by someone who doesn't know me.
We'll see how it goes, but I feel I am up to the task.
So what was it I wanted to talk about anyway? Orange fish, but I'll explain that some other time.
I now feel like Maria in the Sound of Music, going to see Mother Superior who will sing "Climb Every Mountain"
to me. (With apologies to anyone who finds themselves humming this for the rest of the day!)
tel: +44 (0)1223 - 214177
mobile: +44 (0)7941 - 848326