Early in my career I spent a year as a trainer for a retail bank, running courses on customer service, telephone & letter writing skills, communication and so on. We used to use training videos in lots of these courses, where actors (such as John Cleese) performed skits highlighting how not to & then how to do whatever the video was about. These videos were often around 30mins long, but sometimes we’d spend a couple of hours pausing, rewinding and discussing key learning points to ensure that everyone was learning the same things – it never ceased to amaze me just how differently everyone received the messages of the videos.
The reason I’ve been reminiscing about this is that I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on a number of external speaker talks over the last few weeks – high frequency trading, management consulting, private wealth management, corporate treasury and investment management.
The talks were very varied in their delivery and all gave excellent nuggets of insight for all of the audience but how I wished for a pause button so that I could facilitate discussions on finer points of the talks. I suppose that I could have asked the speaker to stop, but that would have been awkward for everyone, and wouldn’t have generated much open conversation. We could video the talks, but then the speakers may be less candid & their talks less useful – plus, why would the audience sit through it twice?
The only answer therefore seems to be interested individuals coming in to chat to me after the talks, dissecting the learning after the fact – again not perfect because we are working of our memory, but better than nothing.
I’d urge anyone who goes to a talk to discuss what you’ve learned with other attendees – I’m sure you’ll also be amazed just how different your learning points are from theirs.