Posted by: reachdev | February 5, 2014

No Need to Run the Gauntlet

pb-111019-grenada1-rs.photoblog900During a recent program on professional presentations one of the participants mentioned that she had taken a course earlier in her career that had similar objectives but a very different training philosophy. When pressed for details she told of a speech class where the instructor encouraged the audience to interrupt, challenge and otherwise annoy the student-presenter. The objective of this process was to “toughen up” the student in an effort to enable them to handle the worst possible presentation situations. While the goal is laudable, I don’t think much of the method. I call this “gauntlet” training, and it is evidenced by instructors that found it useful for their unique learning style. Fortunately, the masochistic learner is rare and this training style has gone by the wayside.

In 20 years of training professionals to get up in front of an audience and give a quality presentation I have never found it necessary to challenge them in such a fashion. Quite conversely, it is almost universally necessary to build their confidence so that they can communicate as clearly when presenting to a group as they do when speaking with one other person. This is accomplished by helping the student to focus on their strengths and convincing them that they come across as credible and competent. A training program and its instructor should be able to understand and respect the needs of the learner and aid them in their progress. There’s no need to “run the gauntlet” in order to develop our professional skills.

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