Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Let me Talk so I can Learn....

Long, long ago, when I lived in San Diego, I worked part time teaching English to foreign tourists. The school hired many theatre artists-thinking we were more dramatic and likely to keep our adult students enthralled while learning nouns, verbs, and adverbs. Still, when I was hired, I was told to talk only one third of the class time. I was to encourage my reticent students to not passively listen to me but practice their English through their own conversation.

I've found that talking one third and listening two thirds is a great formula for any kind of teaching. When facilitating meetings, I expect to talk even less.

But often, when I’m hired as a subject matter expert, I’m expected to share lots of content. I do love to share high-quality information. (A recent participant called my EI presentation full of "good brain food" --thank you, Paula.) When I’m the SME, how can I speak less and listen more?

A good question. One that causes me to reflect on the power of questions.

A thoughtful question allows participants to grapple with and more deeply understand any content.

I’ve been thinking a lot about questions lately. Here are a few that come to mind this morning. Perhaps they might be useful during your next team meeting?

--What current projects feel most satisfying? Do you know why?

--What projects or processes are working well?

--If we had more time, what are some projects or processes you'd like to change or implement?

--Where would you like this team to be in a year? In 5 years?
© 2010 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

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