Some people do better at learning when reading a book. Still others will prefer an instructional video, these days, Youtube is loaded with them on any subject you can shake a stick at. Yet other folks will only retain knowledge if they transcribe, write it down and do some kinetic action when absorbing the new information. I’m still not sure which tactic works best for me so I try to use at least one or two methods of learning in combination. The flip side of trying to learn myself is that I teach a lot, being a manager. For eight years now, I’ve been training, coaching and teaching people to excel in what they do. There’s nothing like the rush you get when the, “student becomes the master.”
What was my most memorable teaching moment?
About eight years ago now, I wasn’t used to public speaking or training teams. So I gave a presentation that took me months to assemble to a packed conference room of eight people. Yep, I was that popular. Half way through the presentation, I looked over to see one of the audience fast alseep. Head rolled back, eyes closed and a tiny stream of drool half way down her pale chin. Mortified, the rest of the presentation was only downhill after that. I’ll never forget the fluorescent sheen of her spittle or the deep, REM like slumber she was in for the remainder of my talk. Only after the half-hearted clapping ensued by the three people in the audience who felt my pain did she wake up, look around dazed and yawn.
Lesson learned. When engaging an audience, do whatever you can to not only keep the awake, but also processing your message. I settled on humor, but other approaches work too. With humor, if I get laughter from the group, I know they are both listening and processing. Not simply lolling about, drooling and fast asleep.