Taught a class this week to technical folks who need to learn how to train/teach/convey. Training is such an interesting field. Very few folks set out to be trainers. Most folks learn some content or gain some experience, are asked to speak or train, like it (or are forced to do it regardless of what they like), and keep doing it. I know lots of folks with graduate degrees in adult education, but not a soul who pursued the craft at the undergraduate level (I’m sure there are some — I just don’t know any).I had a comment in the post-class evaluations that made me think. The comment, paraphrased, said, “you made us aware of so many things we didn’t even know we needed to address — things which will make our presentations likable even as the audience can’t put a finger on why they like it.” While I’d certainly like people to be able to pinpoint what they liked (or even what they disliked) about me as a presenter, the fact that a message could be conveyed in such a way that nothing extraneous was noted is certainly a worthy goal. Most of the mechanics of good communication skills are about removing obstacles that keep the message from being conveyed. The very name of this blog implies that there are lots of things we communicate, even if we say little. While it’s hard to control our eyes, posture, movement, inflection, volume, gestures, and expressions while keeping our mouth focused on relevant content and monitoring our audience for clues, it’s something that we must master if we are to deliver messages that make a difference.
Keep the message on target by removing all extraneous messaging.