When Scott and I married, we had no idea that we would make such a great parenting team. Now, I’m not bragging about our parenting skills … I’m talking about that fact that he is great at math, and English is kinda my thing! Our kids had it made! We could totally help with homework … or so we thought. As our boys got older, a typical math homework night started with Scott patiently explaining a concept or skill. The son listened and tried to understand the instruction. But if there was any confusion, Scott would try to re-explain. But he didn’t always find a different way to teach the lesson. And each time he re-explained, his voice got louder and louder, but he seemed to say things in the very same way each time, so the son never really understood. Those nights always ended with the boy crying, me crying, or Scott crying. Scott knew the math, but he tried to teach it the same way each time. Effective communicating and training require that information is shared and repeated, but in different ways to meet the needs of all types of learners. Work to present information visually. Offer activities that involve movement for kinesthetic learners. Verbally share and repeat for auditory learners. Information should be explained and re-explained using different teaching strategies. etc Strategies believes that active learning should address all types of learners. Using different teaching strategies to meet the needs of different learners will always produce a cry-proof communication experience!
Last week I got to be a student at the Houston Area Safety Council’s Supervisor’s 101, a course designed for new and experienced supervisors to help with communication, leadership, and development. I love learning new things, so with sharpened pencils in hand (not really but you get my figurative point), I excitedly entered the room ready to soak up all kinds of new stuff! And even though the training shared great information, I was more impressed by the participants. The guys ranged in age from early 30s to almost retirement age and brought years of experience from a variety of plant settings. The numerous buzzings from phone messages and the many exits to take phone calls demonstrated the extent of these guys’ contributions to their jobs and plants. But for 2 days, these guys left those busy and important jobs (at least they physically left) to attend a training designed to make them better at those same jobs … and they worked to listen, participate, and learn from the training. Those supervisors worked to get the very most from the training and participated in every activity, from role playing to table discussions. The saying goes, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks,” but these guys attended that training ready to learn any “new tricks” to make them better supervisors. etc Strategies believes that by offering effective training opportunities and supporting participation in those opportunities, all of your employees - old or new - can learn “new tricks” to become better at any job.
With a furrowed brow and serious tone, our dear neighbor Marilyn asked, “Is Scott mad at me? Does he dislike me for some reason?” She shared that many times my husband Scott ignored her when she tried to greet him. I quickly explained the situation. Scott wasn’t ignoring her; he just didn’t hear her. Scott suffers from hearing loss and wears hearing aids, so when Marilyn called from across the street, if Scott wasn’t facing in the right direction, he didn’t hear (or see) her. Relieved, Marilyn promised to make sure Scott knew when she was greeting him. Scott had a valid excuse for not responding to Marilyn, but is there ever a valid excuse for not responding to emails or text messages? Even though technology takes away the the physical connection when communicating, it’s important that technology not take away the personal connection when communicating. If you receive an email or text message, respond as soon as possible even if you can’t address the issues or answer the questions right away. Draft a standard response that you can repeatedly use. Say something like, “I received your email, but want to give it the appropriate attention and will respond as soon as possible.” You would never ignore someone face-to-face, so no one should be left trying to figure out why you are not responding to an email or text message. etc Strategies believes that a timely response to an email or text message keeps that personal, professional connection that makes communication even better.
My husband and I just returned from a fantastic trip to Colorado. We packed up our puppy dog (her very first trip in the motorhome) and set out to visit with friends and family. Although the changing leaves and majestic mountains created a beyond-beautiful scenery, and although we saw moose, deer, and even a lynx, the very best part of the trip had to be the stories shared. While sitting by the fire, my husband’s aunt and uncle began to recount unbelievable tales of their adventures. From wrestling a deer to watching the Jeep they were pulling fly past them on the highway, we laughed until we were crying. Their stories reminded us of our stories, and we spent the evening just sharing stories. Stories are how we connect to each other … stories are how we explain things… stories are how we reflect. etc Strategies believes that when training and communicating, stories can make all of the difference. Use personal stories to connect, explain, and reflect. Stories can be the very best part of a communicating experience.