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How to Teach Anything

How to Teach Anything

Since the Chicago strike, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to become a teacher. Although I do training seminars and keynotes all the time, I’m not sure I could be in a classroom day in and day out. It must be especially difficult with young students who would rather be somewhere else!

I once heard a saying:

“Those who can do, do.  Those who can’t do, teach.”

I don’t think it’s true.

Good teachers require a complex skill set from time and project management to interpersonal communication and public speaking, and as they’re juggling dozens of balls day in and day out, they have to always wear a game face. Wouldn’t you rather just go to your office and type away on your laptop for nine hours?

There comes a time, however, when even we office folk have to teach. Whether you’re an IT person instructing some clients on a new piece of software or a consumer marketing executive serving as a mentor to a group of young professionals on etiquette, your moment will come. And if you’re a manager leading a team, that moment might be sooner rather than later.

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Doug Lemov, who recently sent me his new book Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better, specializes in the subject of teaching. Here are a few of Lemov’s ideas for teaching anything to a group. By wielding these techniques as appropriate, you’ll likely find yourself less intimidated and more effective at the task at hand:

Use a strong voice

Command a room by waiting until there is silence before you begin. Be clear and crisp with your language. If you want people to listen, stop moving and don’t engage in other tasks at the same time. Don’t engage in off-topic conversations. Feel like you’re losing control of the room?  Exude poise and calm.

Get 100 percent compliance

Establish eye contact with off-task students while teaching the others. If you’re going to correct someone, do it quickly as not to draw too much attention to negative behavior. Emphasize compliance you can see, like “pencils down.”

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Cold call

Call on people regardless of whether they’ve raised their hands. This allows you to check for understanding, decrease the time spent asking for volunteers, and send the message that you care about your audience’s opinion.

Use “right” judiciously

When people hear that an answer is correct, they will stop striving, so only say something is “right,” if it really and truly is. If an answer is three-quarters correct, tell students they’re “almost there”. Make sure they’re answering the exact question you asked.

Give specific directions

Focus on what to do instead of what not to do, using manageable and precisely described actions that students know how to take. Make your remarks sequential, easy to remember and solution-oriented.

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Motivate with positive framing

Assume the best of your students and zero in on what they can do well right now as opposed to what might have been wrong in the past. Build momentum by calling out successes. Talk about who students are becoming and where they’re going.

Pay attention to format

Even if your relationship with your students is informal, use correct syntax and grammar while in teaching mode. Insist that students speak audibly so everyone in the room can hear.

Featured photo credit: Composition of Books, Stationary and an Apple via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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