feedback

I Had An Epiphany. But It Was So Counter-Culture, I Initially Kept It To Myself.

Some months ago, after some conversations I had, I had an epiphany.

It could explain, at least in part, some of the nagging doubts I’ve been having throughout this year.

This is what I realised about myself, and I wrote it down in these words:

I DON'T want to touch as many lives as possible.

Before you frown any deeper, there is a second part:

I want to deeply impact a very few.

Splash

For so many years, I keep hearing advice about increasing my reach so I can impact as many lives as possible.

For example, I hear of music stars who record a single song and, because it reaches so many of their fans so quickly through so many channels, they earn a tidy income from the exposure. Their fans convert the people around them into more fans, advertisers can’t wait to sign them up for endorsement deals, and they get invited to exclusive events and perform on ever-larger stages.

It’s all about gaining leverage and using it to get yourself out of exchanging time for money. In the music star’s case, the recording of the song required spending time once. After that, it constantly ‘works for’ the star.

music

It sounded logical. And it was.

And I kept hearing this, especially from well-meaning fellow educators and trainers, especially those I knew from networking events and meetups.

Yet, there was always something about it that didn’t sit quite right with me. I didn’t know what it was, until recently.

It was the ‘volume’ of people that I was being told I had to reach that was bothering me. But why? What could have brought this on?

As I dug a little deeper, I was reminded of the times when I just started being a trainer and got affected by less-than-stellar feedback. Though these incidents didn’t happen often, every time they did, I felt bad.

Eventually, I learned to remove my focus on the negative feedback because they were the tiny minority. Most of my feedback was good. Some were great!

Good Feedback

Why should I have to feel low if I had already tried multiple times to engage the student who ended up deciding that he/she didn’t want to be there in the first place and was adamant about keeping a bad attitude about it?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on those who were eager to learn and apply themselves?

And these were the memories that made me realise that I had known all along that what I wanted to do was to focus - very sharply - on the very few upon whom I know I can have the greatest impact because we were compatible and we found each other at the right place at the right time. Sounds almost like a love story, doesn’t it?

Neon Laser

I was then reminded of three students that I taught. Two of them went on to pursue education paths in the subject matter that I taught them, one locally and one overseas. In recent conversation, they expressed their gratitude for my being part of their decisions to learn more.

Another one became my colleague - a fellow trainer - teaching the same types of courses that I do even today.

Out of the thousands of students I’ve had, of whom I still keep in touch with a few, these were three that pointedly remind me about why I do what I do.

This is what I want to keep doing - to find the very few for whom I can deliver the deepest impact and help them effect the greatest change.

Doubtlessly, it will entail a certain amount of ‘outreach’, but this recent realisation has sharpened my focus and it will feature strongly in my goals for the upcoming year.

2019 Begins

Celebrating Teachers' Day at the 132nd APTS Meeting

On 31st Aug 2017, I presented The Trainer's Toolbox at the 132nd APTS Meeting. 

Though it was targeted at newer trainers, the veteran trainers affirmed that they learned something as well. Now, before you think that they were just 'being nice', allow me to explain how the meeting went.

As a new initiative suggested by the committee of APTS, member speakers will give a presentation that will be subject to evaluation. Feedback will be given at the end of the presentation so that the speaker can be alerted to any possible blind spots and areas of improvement. This was all explained beforehand so the member speakers will know what they are getting themselves into.

I started my presentation by expounding on apples as fruit associated with knowledge. With that information in mind, I had a small gift for each trainer present. As they, too, are teachers, I gave each of them apple-flavoured candy. I had considered actual apples but I found candy to be more portable and less perishable.

The presentation proper continued, as I covered points on how to make any training session impactful by utilising specific techniques and taking certain actions.

Though my presentation went slightly overtime, it was well-received and I was applauded for keeping a consistent, polished delivery.

This was deemed worthy of comment as most of my fellow trainers agreed that, should they have known that they were being evaluated, they would have been more than a little distracted.

In turn, I assured them that it wasn't anything close to natural talent but a result of constant, dedicated practice over many years and that they, too, can achieve similar results.

The areas of improvement mainly revolved around the content I was using - how certain areas could be clarified further, certain parts could be more concise and other parts could be expanded. 

There was also a very useful bit of feedback on providing more audience-related examples. As the audience that evening would be trainers, the examples and stories to be presented could be more related to training and improving oneself as a trainer.

All in all, it was a fruitful (pardon the pun) evening and I am glad that many of the trainers took something useful back with them. If possible, I'd love to give another presentation.

After all, one can never get too much practice.

With David Lee

New Things That Happened This Month

In regards to the Trainers' Synergy meeting last Wednesday (yeah, I missed an update here), it went well. I asked for feedback at the end of the session and most of them gave me something useful to work on - primarily to do with giving the audience more participation, something I reduced due to the lack of time.

So what that means is that I have to streamline the session and allocate more time to allow the audience to share their experiences, instead of me just sharing mine.

It also means that I have to separate all the material I prepared into 2 sessions or more. It would be great for a six-hour workshop or more. 1.5 hours isn't quite enough to cover so much.

With these things in mind, I will work on the material and come up with a better version. 

To all of you who gave me honest feedback, thank you very much!

Another thing that happened was that the Canadian Institute of Management published my article in their e-zine. 

I've actually updated my home page and come up with a Media page to accommodate the article's links and future media articles. 

If I want them to start appearing, I'd better get cracking!

Writing

Feedback (from The Introvert Teacher)

As teachers, one of our roles is to provide feedback to our learners so they know where they can improve. We may do this through test scores, examination results or pep talks. 

We constantly remind our learners to improve themselves and their abilities so we need to practise what we preach.

In order to improve ourselves, we need not only the desire to do so, but to get feedback from the right people for the right reasons.