Once More For Those in the Back – Training is a Skill!

Once More For Those in the Back – Training is a Skill!

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.

Linked – Research: Asynchronous Work Can Fuel Creativity

Linked – Research: Asynchronous Work Can Fuel Creativity

Have you ever been in a brainstorming meeting, in person or on Zoom, and walked away thinking it was great? The ideas were flowing, and people were expanding on each other’s ideas, professionally disagreeing constructively, and bringing energy to the discussion. It was great, all of our meetings should look like that.

Except that’s not really what happened. At least it’s not the whole picture. Yes, perhaps there was a good exchange of ideas, and perhaps some of the folks on the call brought their energy and passion to the discussion. The key word there is “some”. The important thing to remember is that those people who did bring that energy also probably made it really difficult for other voices to be heard. The science would tell you that the straight white men on the team probably spoke up, while others did not speak up. (In the experiment that is detailed in the article, it was men and women singers who were compared.) In my experience, it’s a little more complicated than that. Yes, a small group of white guys can absolutely drown out all of the other voices, but so can a small group of extroverts.

Prepare for the Spontaneous

Prepare for the Spontaneous

At work, we are asked to make adjustments all the time. In our modern, technological jobs, we are constantly facing change. The individuals and teams who will succeed are the ones who’ve gotten comfortable with it. They’ve prepared for the change and know they can adjust on the fly because they know the work well and are used to making the proper decisions. Those who don’t have a deep understanding of what is going on will overreact to change and commit turnovers.

Linked – The Art of Storytelling: A Guide to Becoming a More Effective Storyteller

Linked – The Art of Storytelling: A Guide to Becoming a More Effective Storyteller

I was part of a conversation at work recently about giving good presentations, and the art of telling a story was a big part of the discussion. Stories matter. Whether giving a presentation, pitching a new idea, making a sale, or training customers, the story brings people along to what we’re trying to tell them. The story puts everything in context. When I’m training, it’s the stories about how we used that technology to make things easier or what happened when we failed to properly use the technology that helps people understand the “why.”.

Linked – Research: Where Managers and Employees Disagree About Remote Work

Linked – Research: Where Managers and Employees Disagree About Remote Work

They point out a hypothetical situation where the employee looks at their “work” day to include the commute and maybe some other time, but the manager isn’t. That’s a huge disconnect. Speaking for myself, I will never volunteer to go back to an in-office or even a hybrid position because of how much time you spend going back and forth and the limiting factor of needing to be in that place for the entire time in between. Why? If the work can get done from anywhere, why would we expect anyone to spend so much time going somewhere else every day?

The Benefits of the Arts in Business
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The Benefits of the Arts in Business

My point was that as a trainer, I do quite a bit of presenting and public speaking. I also do a fair bit of storytelling, but I didn’t learn that skill in business school or from my technical education. I had to learn those skills later in my professional life. So, I take every opportunity to encourage young people to learn those skills. You may not be looking for a career as a speaker, actor, or Improvisational Comedy, but the skills you learn there will make you stand out in the workplace when it comes time to do a presentation or speak up for your ideas.

I was reminded of this again last week when I listened to my friend and former colleague Laura Prael being interviewed on the Aussie podcast Two Drunk Accountants.