Training, Technology and Teeth

By March 8, 2024LTEN Focus On Training


THE LAST LAUGH – By Tim Sosbe and LTEN Members

Laugh and the world laughs with you

Congratulations … you’ve made it through another issue, this one I’m pretty sure without the word “compliance.” That’s gotta feel good.

In case you missed it the first time(Really? Wow!), you’ve reached The Last Laugh, our new column in alternating issues of LTEN Focus on Training magazine. This is the place where you can humorously vent, share a laugh, find the good side or tell a silly story.

Welcome to the new virtual water cooler … make us smile. Want more direction? Check out the first The Last Laugh column in the January 2024 Focus, where I talked way too much to say it again.

Seriously, we want you to contribute … if something at work makes you laugh, make it make someone else laugh. You’ll love the feeling.

Have a story to share for The Last Laugh? Reach out to us at and we’ll help you lighten up someone’s day.

Lights, Camera, Inaction

David Brin, a member of the LTEN Advisory Council, an LTEN Ambassador and senior director, learning strategy and enablement, for GE Healthcare, sent in a fun story about multitasking, or doing two things when you should have stuck to one:

I’ve always taken great pride in multitasking, even though data says it’s actually impossible. I’ll let you decide based on this story.

Let me set the stage: It was the early 2000s and the market for VHS tapes had been taken over by digital recording – DVDs and such. But like many of you, my company at the time was not investing in learning and development, so we were not early adopters in the digital recording space.

Ever an innovator, I wanted to do something we had never done before, even if I was relegated to using old-school VHS tapes. I planned to record actual roleplays that I could then use as learning tools, where learners would be able to analyze the exact moments I wanted to coach them on.

It was going to be a thing of beauty. A seamless blend of film, role-play and personalized coaching all wrapped up into a nice little package. As a trainer, I was ecstatic to be doing something so novel. Call me Spielberg because I’m working on a blockbuster.

The learners, however, were terrified. Apparently being captured on film must be one of the most humiliating experiences.

I was a proud trainer, so I eased their fear by walking them through the roleplay experience. I reassured them, “It will be easy. You will walk into the office and have a conversation with a fictional customer, just like you will when you do it for real. Don’t even think about the camera. Pretend it’s not even there or better yet, pretend it’s not even on.”

So, the experiment proceeded and that day the camera watched more than 25different one-on-one role-plays. They were really good too – effective listening skills, enthusiastic and with power statements to lead customers right down the path to purchase.

At 3 p.m., we reconvened back in the larger classroom to review the videos. That’s when we found out that the multitasking oracle (me) forgot to put a VHS tape into the camera. The class had that last laugh as they roared in freedom from not having to watch themselves in the short films we had just created.

In the end, I learned the data about multitasking apparently is true, and I’ll never forget what one learner told me, “While it was frightening to think I was going to be recorded, I knew I needed to step up my game and now I’m more comfortable going forward into my first customer meeting.” Purpose achieved.

While I learned that effective multi-tasking can’t be mastered, I did, however, save the training department $122 in VHS tapes that year by repeating the same exercise during every class.

Speaking of Freakin’ Technology

Sometimes, a simple statement captures how a lot of people feel. We’re in times of incredible technological change, and if that doesn’t occasionally drive you a little crazy, tell us how.

Gina Kula, senior medical learning adviser for Syneos Health, said it best in her The Last Laugh contribution. I’ll bet you’ve been there:

I’m continually amazed that I possess the ability to create training capable of driving profound changes in both mindset and behavior, but when my computer freezes, all I can think to do is turn it off and back on again. And if that fails, I give it a good shake before eventually bowing my head in defeat.

The Last Laugh

OK, now you’re done, unless you have something to share. The Last Laugh will be back in the May issue, so it’s not too late to spread the fun.

Here’s the best part … if writing gives you heartburn, I’ll help you get the story out. The heartburn’s on me. You’re welcome.

Which reminds me of a school story not for the squeamish:  As many of you will remember, elementary school music includes playing a recorder. A teacher told the story of a little girl in her third-grade class, on the day the recorders were first brought out.

As the tuneless music filled the room, the teacher noticed a little girl raising her hand. The teacher asked what she needed.

“A tooth fell out of my recorder,” the little girl said loudly, “and it’s not my tooth!”

Something to chew on until we meet again.

Tim Sosbe is editorial director for LTEN. Email Tim at or connect through LinkedIn at


About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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