Do you enjoy meetings and seminars? What about classes and workshops?
We’ve all given our ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ to teachers, presenters and instructors along the way. Sometimes we felt sorry for them. Sometimes we wanted them to suffer at least as much as we did, listening to them.
At other times, we wished we were them.
But have you ever stopped and wondered what makes our experiences positive or negative? Have you debated what to say on a comment card? What was missing, or why this experience was so good?
Sometimes it is simple to discover what made an experience positive or not. For instance, was the space large enough? Well ventilated? Were there refreshments? Was the seating comfortable? These obvious things can take a fair class and make it better, or a turn a good class into a bad experience.
Then there are other, more subtle things. Was the speaker prepared? Did he or she know the topic and explain it well? Was it what you were looking for?
The list of little things, and even moderately important things, can go on and on.
As both a presenter and one who’s experienced his share of workshops, I’ve tried to determine what makes one a ‘ten’ on my rating chart.
For example, was everything perfect? No, not necessarily. If you look hard enough you can always find something to complain about.
After considerable research and review, I reached some important conclusions.
No matter what the environment – wonderful, adequate or uncomfortable — I learned the most and had the most positive learning experiences when all of these were present:
* The speaker had a great love for the subject matter. * No matter how serious the topic, the speakers never took themselves too seriously. * The audience members were part of the process, not just observers. Even if everyone did not participate, everyone felt they would be welcomed to participate. * And last but not least, the process included some fun.
When all of these criteria were met, little annoyances didn’t matter. What I learned in those experiences meant more to me. I remembered them more, and they were more likely to be of practical use.
Too often, those of us who teach on spiritual topics get caught up in the “seriousness” of our own work.
We’re too eager to get the point across or to help people receive information that will move them along their chosen, spiritual path.
Instead, we need to create a positive memory and a desire to embrace the information. Otherwise, no matter how good our information is, part (or all) of what we teach is wasted.
If you ever feel that you wasted your time or money at a class or workshop, do your presenter a favor. See which of the above criteria were not met. Then let the presenter know. Maybe he or she has something important and worthwhile to communicate, but doesn’t know how to deliver it.
If you present workshops and seminars, how do they stack up against this list? Are there ways in which you could better and more effectively communicate your information? When all else is said and done, did everyone have fun… including you?
If you have fun, they have fun, and your presentation improves. What more could you ask?