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We recently delivered our 200th training course. It has been a fascinating journey.

And I would like to take this opportunity to advise you how to ATTEND a meeting with a speaker. You can actually help the speaker do a better job. And they are simple.

Tips to make the job of the speaker easier:

  1. Be honest with your body language. It does not matter if you are totally interested or totally bored, use your body language to convey that. If everyone is totally bored, the speaker will change the delivery method. If everyone is totally interested, the speaker will continue with that method of delivery. The worst thing a person can do is show a poker face. A poker face gives the speaker nothing to work with.
  2. Accept you know more than the speaker on some of the topic. You may know more about the topic than the speaker. But it is doubtful you know everything the speaker knows. Use the opportunity to see if you can learn more. And … if you can supplement what the speaker is saying, it adds gravity and credibility to the message, and shows you as an “expert” on the topic. I appreciate people that genuinely share their knowledge. If you challenge the speaker, be prepared – it is part of their training on how to “combat” those situations.
  3. If the speaker makes a mistake … it depends on the mistake. If it is a simple tongue slip, just correct it. If it is a significant issue, then engage in non-confrontational Q&A. It is common for the speaker to be making a very specific point.
  4. Do not disturb others. It is fine for you to be bored and for you to be playing with your phone while the speaker is speaking (see 1 above). But it is not acceptable to disturb others – they may be learning something. And, if you really REALLY feel the need to disturb others, do it outside of the venue.
  5. Understand the difference between training and consulting. This is specific to listening to a speaker delivering training. A consultant will collect data, analyse it, and try to solve your specific problem after a suitable period of time. A trainer talks about generalities, and must answer questions on the spot. It is not fair for ANYONE to expect consulting during training. The speaker understands that you want to solve your specific problem, but the data required for a proper analysis cannot be transferred during simple Q&A during training. And … you will probably get an unsuitable answer.
  6. Finally, after the session, tell the speaker what can be improved. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

And enjoy your next session.