You are probably familiar with countless ways to learn, which can include books, classes, videos and software. We have favorite media because our learning styles match some better than other. If you were to ask me about my favorite way to learn, my answer would probably shock you.
The best way for me to learn anything – is . . .
to teach someone else.
You probably wonder how I discovered that, and the story goes back a few years to my corporate jobs. I realized at a very young age, that I assumed I knew something until I was asked to teach others what I knew. My mind would throw all of those doubt-filled questions at me.
What If I Don’t Know the Answer When Someone Asks a Question?
In every session, someone would ask me a question that I could not answer. Each time that happened, I would write down the question and the name of the person who asked. Even though my initial reaction was to shut down that question, I paused long enough to encourage others to provide insight if they could answer.
At times, I knew that I was not as well prepared as I could have been. My preparation the next time around would be more extensive. I would visit others and ask them what they wanted to know about the subject. Preparation is the key to great teaching sessions.
After the class, I would find the answers to those questions that I had deferred. My visit to the person who asked was always welcome. People came to trust my teaching because they knew that I would never just answer without knowing the real answer. Credibility grows from honesty in all situations.
What If Experts Call Me Out?
Every audience has critics, explorers and real experts. People who really want to know what you have to say are some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. Those explorers are like sponges who want to absorb every possible bit of knowledge that you include in your presentation.
Critics are the people who have never accomplished anything, but want to tear down what you have done. I encountered one of these just a couple of days ago. This critic told me that my document was “full of typos and bad grammar”. I decided to check out his accompishments. You guessed it! His website is completely blank – not even a theme. He has 32 friends on Facebook. He has never created a product. You see the pattern.
Real experts are gracious people and they are some of the most helpful people around when it comes to supporting you. On your first webinar, be sure that you have an expert in your corner. That expert will deflect the critics and allow you to concentrate.
Why Should I Teach Others?
Anything you know right now can be transformed into material that helps others. Regardless of your chosen niche, there are peple who want to know what you have learned over the years. You might be surprised how many people grow a huge audience from some topic that seems obscure.
As you reach out through your favorite medium, you will discover that people want to learn more. This can be very surprising to the person who does not believe she knows much of anything. Just the fact that you are willing to share your thoughts is inspiring to others. Having the confidence to teach what you know can open doors you didn’t even know were there.
Your first session might be short and general in nature. In the next session, you could start with the questions that were raised in the comments you receive. Consider the possibilities when you allow your audience to guide your teaching efforts.
Who Would Listen to Me?
Most people have enough humility to realize that not everyone is interested in every little action they take throughout the day. For the rest, there is always Twitter. When we are completely honest with ourselves, we do wonder if anyone will ever hear what we have to say.
People who are really passionate about a topic will find that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other people who share that same passion. Fads come about because some people just know how to create excitement. You might not be the most exciting person in the world on the subject of insects, but you probably have some favorite topics.
Great speakers and teachers have simply found that one topic that resonates with their experiences. For me, the topic is teaching other people to teach. My dream is to improve the quality of formal and informal education.
Just Start Somewhere
My plea to everyone who reads this – is to take a moment and consider what you have to say! Your message will evolve as your knowledge expands. There are plenty of people out there who will benefit from your knowledge and experience. You might build an entire business on your greatest passion. As of today, you might not even know what that is, but you can find it. Strike out with your first idea, and work from there. Do not wait another day!
The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
~ William Arthur Ward