Teaching is always a learning experience. And last night was no different. After walking into the relatively unknown for decades, you’d think I had seen it all. You are usually only surprised when something unexpected DOESN’T happen!
A couple of months ago I was asked to teach part four of a 4-part marketing series for business owners in a city about 2 hours away from me. The lead instructor and I communicated several times, ironing out the details. I took pieces of other courses I have created and customized them for this group. Of course, there was plenty of new material, and I wanted to incorporate a lot of new ideas from my T&D courses. All seemed to be ready to roll.
Here are the things that can be helpful.
- Arrive at least 30-45 minutes early to allow time to setup and get situated. You can get a lot of problems ironed out early.
- Know who all of the participants are and visit their websites (if they have them), and see what kind of social media presence they have
- If it’s a computer lab, make sure to group a “buzzards” with a “bluebirds.” That can help with keeping things moving along during hands-on time.
- Have lots of activities and hope your group plays along.
- Avoid death by PowerPoint.
- Have an interesting story or two to help make your points. Mine your own life for them. You’ve got plenty! It’s just a matter of putting on your thinking cap.
Here are the things that are not helpful.
- Nobody shows up on time and that really tight schedule gets thrown out the window.
- The temperature in the room goes up to about 80 degrees and there is no way to change it. Remember, this is after work, and the people are tired anyway.
- No food or drink in the room, so caffeine jolts only come at break.
- Half of those who signed up and paid don’t bother to come. This is too bad for them, but it can also throw off your room arrangements, groupings, and activities. Be light on your feet.
All in all, we had a great time and I think the attendees learned a lot, despite the heat, the time, and the late hour! As my Mom, the Girl Scout Leader always said: “Be Prepared.”
Do you have some coping-with-the-unexpected stories to share?