Make sure you are exercising those empathy muscles. They’ll help you understand where everyone is trying to go, and they’ll help you care enough to want to help them get there. That’s learning and development in a nutshell to me.
So after 12 years, I’m back, but it’s very different. Because 12 years is a long time and things change fast around here. This opportunity only came about because I’ve been changing and now have something different to offer, that matches up with how the firm has been changing. I could have resisted learning all these new things over the years, but that would have also limited what I could do going forward. I’m really happy I didn’t do that. It might be the best career move I’ve ever made.
Over the last few years though, as the number of online training sessions and meetings has grown exponentially, I still see it though. There are a significant number of users who will use Teams or Zoom chat instead of speaking up in many forms of gatherings. We should recognize that the chat tool is a perfectly legitimate way for people to interact with a speaker and each other during online meetings. Many people, but especially introverts among us, will be more comfortable chatting like that during a meeting. As a trainer/speaker, it becomes paramount that you learn to pay attention to what is happening in chat or have someone in the meeting be responsible for keeping up with the chat. Otherwise, you’re ignoring part of your audience.
The other interesting thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is that beyond providing a message board to start the class discussion, it’s also provided ahead of time. Those introverts who need a little time to process new information before providing any input are going to be much more likely to have something to add when there is time to consider the topic.
I sense there are a lot of managers in those industries who have it confused. I also think it might be a good idea to ask a boss what productivity measurement they use when making claims about how much more productive we’d all be in the office. If they can’t make a clear case showing the gains in output, it’s possible they do not understand how to measure productivity and have always been using placeholders like time in the office.
That’s not good management.
I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had about this over the years. Trust me, there have been a lot. I’ve watched some really brilliant people who do great work and are highly knowledgeable have terrible experiences trying to train others because they were not adept at the skills necessary to run a training class. A great many people have, through no fault of their own, not learned how to facilitate, the finer points of public speaking, or how to read students’ body language.
To be a great trainer you need to learn those things.