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focus_Lessons from My Painter

Lessons from My Painter

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 desired outcome.

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Brian Lange, blange@perim.com, 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.

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