How to run a successful course
I am teaching for 25 years, it’s my job and I love it. Is teaching difficult? Possibly. Less so if you like it, impossible if you hate it. Is it tiring? Always. Exhausting even, if you do what you should, which is to give out everything you can. Just like in anything you want to do well. Is it rewarding? Absolutely.
For those new to training or for audiences wishing to know what they should expect, here are a few of my favouriteI wrote training rules.
Be liked: people have to spend a day or more with you: they won’t enjoy it if they don’t like you, even if what you are saying is fascinating. Be liked first, worry about your training next. So break the ice, establish report. All sales people know that. Teaching is a sales pitch of you and your knowledge. To establish report,
o Start by introducing yourself, the reason you are here and your objectives for the course
o Ask your audience to do the same
o Mark down the objectives and make sure that you address them all
o Sympathise if they don’t want to be attending (or if the sun is shining outside)
o Listen to your audience, to their ideas, their experience, all the time
o Encourage exchange, participations, debates, stay close to their preoccupations
o Be prepared to adjust speed, content and focus to their needs of your audience
Be understood: make sure people understand what you say. An incredible amount of information is lost in transmission, even if you are all in the same room. Between what you think, what you are referring to and what you verbally express, and what each participant understands, given his experience, beliefs and prior knowledge, the gap can be huge. That’s only for simple messages. In communicating abstract concepts or complex messages, the risk of misunderstanding or incomprehension is even greater. To avoid boredom due to incomprehension:
o Keep it simple
o Don’t sound complex to sound intelligent, the opposite is true
o If you have to teach complex issues, break them in bite size chunks, and build the comprehension block by block
o Use a variety of analogies and images that relate to your audience and their reality
o Express the same messages several times in different ways, then move on
o Always use visual support to your speech: some people have a visual memory, others have auditive memory and both are rarely combined: we are either deaf or blind
o Use yourself and your own experience as examples only if it is relevant to your audience
o Frequently check that the message gets across, using indirect methods such as exercises, group work and debates rather than direct questions; “Do you understand what I am saying?” will always be answered “yes”, even if people don’t have a clue.
Value your audience and their input: put them forward, not you. Make sure they feel recognised, heard and inspired. Interestingly, research in psychology has long found that the more people understand what you say, the more intelligent they feel. Similarly, the less one talks, the more he will be remembered as having an interesting conversation. So don’t talk too much and let ideas emerge. Finally, most importantly, smile, have fun, andcommunicate your passion.