Training written on Chalkboard

Training as Acting

Recently, Ayelette Robinson wrote a piece on the 3 Geeks and a Law blog where she talked about how the lessons she has learned as an actor and how they apply when leading a project.

As she was talking about the different areas, it occurs to me that they all applied when leading a project team, but they also apply when standing in front of a training class.

  1. Stay in the Moment – As the trainer, you know where the class is going, the students do not. Keep focused on what they need to know for this particular section of the material. Getting ahead of yourself is a good way to find yourself skipping things that they actually will need to know later.
  2. Listen – Seriously, when students make a comment or ask a question, listen carefully to what they are saying, and what they aren’t saying. Take the time to understand where they are and where the question is coming from so that you can provide the most useful answer to it, even if it’s outside the strict outline of the class.
  3. Put on your attention on the other person – The students are there to learn something that is an important part of their job, they don’t come to training to see you train. Knowledge is the star of the show, and making sure they walk away with that knowledge is the only goal.
  4. Read the other persons emotions – So not only should you listen to your students, but really look at them as well. Pay attention to facial expressions and body language. Those things will tell you when someone is struggling, confused, uncomfortable, etc. Adjust the class accordingly. Slow down, ask them if they have a question or don’t understand something. Speed up if they look bored. Tell a funny story or take a break if they appear to be zoning out, and so on.

What do you think? Should we all go take some acting classes to improve on our training? Maybe that should be a business opportunity for Ayelette. 😉

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