By Brian Lange
Idecided on a new paint colorfor my home
office, and I secured the services of a fine
local painting company. On the day work
was to begin, I was introduced to the painter,
Eleazar, and left him to ply his craft.
When I returned 90 minutes later, I was a bit
startled at what I observed. Rather than getting
what I thought would be an early peek into how
the new room color was going to look, I
discovered Eleazar still meticulously taping
plastic around window jams, trim and flooring.
The experience spurred some thinking and
reflection on my part and – not surprisingly –
caused me to draw some parallels with our
work as trainers.
While easy to think of “painting” as the act
of applying paint via a brush or roller, it’s really
more involved than that and requires a lot of
preparation. Likewise, speaking in front of an
audience is more than that act, and it too
requires plenty of preparation.
As Eleazar was going about the necessary
steps to pave the way to the eventual painting,
he got an up-close and personal perspective on
how the painting was going to go. He saw the
tight areas, noted the potential danger spots
and became very familiar with the surface. For
us, as we begin laying out a speaking
opportunity and begin to envision it through
the eyes of our audience members, we too
become more familiar with how the actual
“speaking” will go.
I also noted that much of Eleazar’s
preparation took place outside of others’ sight.
He was doing the prep work that was going to
ensure a smooth job outside of his supervisor
or customer’s line of sight. The behind-the-scenes
nature of training necessitates us doing much prep work that our audiences may not be
aware of, but can surely notice by the
“effortless” result of a well-designed and
exceptionally delivered session.
Once Eleazar began painting, he was ready!
I’m willing to bet that his careful preparation
made for a smooth delivery of that paint, and
he was less likely to encounter surprises or
obstacles that could have slowed his progress.
The more thoroughly we prepare for our own
speaking deliveries, the more likely we’ll have
identified possible pitfalls ahead of time, and
can implement fixes — before we even
encounter a challenge. This helps us to be fully
engaged when we get to the actual speaking.
Ultimately, Eleazar reminded me about
having the intention to set yourself up for
success … and that it’s often not pretty or
greeted with much fanfare to put in the work
ahead of time to produce a great outcome. In
the end, nothing substitutes deliberateness,
thoroughness and laser-like focus on the
Brian Lange, firstname.lastname@example.org, is with Perim Consulting and serves as lead facilitator for LTEN PrimeTime! For Trainers Core and Masters Workshops. Find blogs, tweets and more at Perim.com.