Sunday, April 22, 2012

#16: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

I will start this week with a confession.  There was little room for experimentation at work this week.  The first two days of the week were the final days of tax season at an accounting firm.  The final three days of the work week were the mass exodus of all my colleagues taking much-deserved vacations after tax season!

Still, I have been giving Principle #16 a lot of thought this week.  Specifically, I've been considering its value when preparing to kick-off another Dale Carnegie course next week.  "Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers."  I think this principle is extremely important in life but especially so in teaching situations.  People believe what they create.

Two examples of this idea in the training/teaching world come to mind.  First, I think one of the most effective training techniques I have seen starts with a good ol' flip chart (that's right, pen to the paper, folks!!).  The facilitator simply asks participants what they hope to get out of the session and then records their answers.  The key is that this flip chart exercise is not forgotten.  Rather, the trainer refers to it throughout the course and especially when wrapping up at the end.  In this way, participants have created what the course will bring to them and feel a sense of satisfaction when they see the results match up with their wishes.

On the opposite end of the training spectrum, Principle #16 makes me think of the (over)use of Power Point in training and teaching these days.  Don't get me wrong, there can be value in Power Point.  However, I think the value is often overshadowed by the danger because Power Point has the ability to stifle creativity.  It allows trainers/teachers to decide the course of a session before any participant even steps foot in the room.  There is little "wiggle room" when Power Point is involved.  There is no way that people will feel the ideas are theirs if they were pasted on the wall from the get-go.

As I walk into our first Dale Carnegie session on Tuesday night, I plan to keep Principle 16 in mind.  What would Dale do?  If people feel they have a hand in shaping the course, they are much more likely to enjoy both the end result and the journey they took to get there.

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