This week, Kellie and I talk about adaptability and engaging your
audience, especially when you have
specific learning objectives to meet.
Find out why I reward the ugliest
PowerPoint presentation and why
Kellie's students have to confront a
taboo topic in The Strange Case of Dr.
Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde, Let's jump into it.
Welcome to Ongoing Mastery: Presenting
& Speaking the podcast and the discussion.
Hi Kellie, how are you?
Kellie: I am well, Kirsten, how are you?
Kirsten: Hanging in it's
cold and wet and gross.
But otherwise fine.
Kellie: So what are we gonna
Kirsten: talk about today?
So what we're gonna talk about
today is sales training and improv
and higher ed and some other stuff.
The way this is coming up, everybody is I.
Kellie and I are both educators, but we
have completely different backgrounds.
She is a professor.
She is in the higher ed world.
I came from technical training in
the corporate world and freelance.
So what I wanna talk about to lead
off is a class that I used to do on a
regular basis in Worcester at San Cobain.
I would do sales training.
And it was typical Microsoft training.
So go ahead and teach Word or
Excel or PowerPoint or whatever.
And when I was in the training room, I.
There was official outlines that
you needed to follow, but for sales
training, they wanted you to come into
their area and instead focus on their
needs, which is actually a much better
model for a lot of those learners.
So what I would do, Is I made a deal.
'cause I've been going there for
so many years that it's like,
okay, here's the six products I'm
able to talk about with comfort.
We're not gonna create an
outline until I get there.
And when I get there, I then interview
and on the whiteboard, you know,
I, I talk to each of the kids and.
They're in their twenties, but
they're kids and say, okay, so
WeDo, what are you doing with email?
What are you doing with your calendar?
How are you keeping notes?
Da da da.
Do you use this product and start
building things on the board and actually
build a two day outline that way?
Which, when I described this
to someone recently, they went,
oh my God, I, I, oh, what?
And I'm like, yeah, it's freeform improv.
This is one of the ways in which education
needs to change is in certain settings you
need to focus on the task that needs to
be dealt with and the problem that needs
to be solved and not the specific list.
But in higher ed, there's
a different model.
And Kellie, why is there a different model
and what is the value that that brings?
Kellie: Well, I have my students
for 13 weeks, twice a week for
an hour and a half at a time.
So . Three contact hours across 13 weeks,
39 plus the work they do outside of class
in terms of writing, reading, et cetera.
So . Minimum of 50 hours of work
roughly per semester, and that's a
really good student who writes well
and doesn't take a super long time
with identifying their ideas and so on.
Obviously, it can go
much higher than that.
Depends on what each student needs
to do, but when you've got that
much time, you have time to let
things marinate, so to speak.
So I'll introduce a set of concepts with
the first assignment, and we'll return
to them with a second major assignment
and deepen and extend, and then we'll
return to them for the third assignment
and do something different so that we're
still reinforcing those early lessons,
but we're also advancing the goals of the
course, that we're not just one and done.
We're gonna address these goals
with this project, and then we
will never talk about them again.
Across 13 weeks.
Everybody's got the time to have a bad
class and it'll be okay, including me.
I was really sick a couple weeks ago.
I had to completely pivot the day's work
'cause I was not gonna be on campus.
And I didn't want to give my
students busy work just to
show me that they were working.
I didn't want to lose
the whole class time.
So I had to figure out
what I could have them do.
That was useful.
Productive and still not just do
it because I asked you to do it.
And so that kind of flexibility is built
in when you have much more time and
you still have to meet a set of goals.
Every course has learning outcomes.
And I need to be addressing those.
I can't just throw them out the
window on day one, but I have a lot
of flexibility on how I get there
because I have so much time to do it.
So let's pick
Kirsten: up on that learning objectives
thing, because you are a formally trained
educator and professor, and I was an
instructional designer and tech trainer,
so very different skillset, but we both
have the learning objectives thing.
Which is one of those things
where it's like, okay, this is
what we're gonna try to get to.
One of the things that I noticed, , With
technical training is that I would bring
in humor, I would bring in creative stuff.
I would bring in ways to think about
stuff that was outside of the box that
really threw people because they're like,
well wait, but this is tech training.
Tech training is.
The numbers boring.
And I'm like, yeah, but
people don't learn from dull.
You know, humans don't
learn when they're bored.
So let's think about it differently.
Like when I would teach database design,
I started people out with legal pads.
Which freaked them the hell out.
Because I'm like, you're not
turning on access until after we
talk about what fields are and how
you're collecting your data and how
the data's gonna talk to itself.
, and we're talking about the concepts
before we go in, into the software,
and especially in technical training,
a lot of times the huge mistake they
make is they start in the software
and they start with, now this is the
file menu and this is the view menu.
And it's like, okay, that's all great.
But why the hell are you there and what
is the problem you're trying to solve?
If you don't give it context, then
you're basically doing rote work.
So I wanted to ask you, there's
a term that is not in my
expertise, but is in yours.
What is that?
How does that work?
Kellie: So close reading is when
you, well read something and instead
of just skimming the surface and
taking in what it says, you stop.
You notice and you analyze, and it's
an inherent skillset of analysis,
but we do it so often that we forget.
We learned how to do it.
So part of the goals of my class
is to call that out for students to
draw their attention to what they
already do so that they can choose
how to do it more effectively.
So here's a somewhat short example.
We're doing an analysis essay.
One of the short stories is Molly
Patterson's short story called
"Honors Track" from The Atlantic 2012.
And Plot is a group of highly, highly,
highly ambitious high school students
trying to get into the nation's elite
colleges cheat and get away with it until
one of them turns and exposes the group.
And the group throws one
student under the bus.
And then there's the ending, which I
will leave as it is, so, okay, great.
Find something that
interests you in this story.
Step one, I'm not gonna tell
you what you find interesting.
You find something interesting.
So being the geek that I am,
I love Shakespeare's Macbeth,
it's my favorite of his plays.
And in this high school in sophomore
year, in Brit Lit class, they
have to do an essay on Macbeth.
And that's a plot point because
two of them don't do well and they
start to gather data because they
think the teacher's biased against
them and and so on for plot.
I'm making a point to my students.
Brit Lit class.
Very typical class.
Analyze a Shakespeare play.
Very typical assignment.
Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays
in a couple of different genres.
History, comedy, tragedy.
Well, Macbeth is about ambition and greed.
And what would you do to achieve your
goals and what do you sacrifice in the
effort to achieve your goals, which is
exactly what the short story is about.
If you just skim the service and
go, yep, Macbeth hated that play.
You're missing something about
what's happening in the story.
And so you can just read the
story and know what happens.
But when you close read, when you
read with the intention to analyze,
then you're, oh, I see that clue.
I see that red flag.
, there's another character, the character
who is the betrayer in the story.
Has two favorite movies,
Home Alone 2 and Annie Hall.
And that's relevant because she's
trying to get to New York City.
They're in St.
Louis, she's trying to
get to New York City.
And those two movies
are pop culture movies.
Yeah, they're not serious cinema.
Or maybe Annie Hall is, but
Home Alone 2 definitely is not.
And so you just go, favorite
movies, gotta move on.
Or you stop and notice that
Annie Hall is about broken,
dysfunctional, failed relationships.
Okay, and Home Alone 2 is derivative.
It's not an original.
It's the second one, and it's about a
kid who keeps getting left behind and
in Home Alone 2, when that kid gets
left behind, he foils the plot of some
criminals trying to do a big crime.
And so from freshman year, when we
learn that those are her two favorite
movies, if we are careful readers,
we will notice that something's
different about this student.
Something sets her apart.
and it turns out she's the
betrayer in their junior year.
And so when you point that out, or when
you help your students see that mm-hmm.
, your students are business students.
What connection does that make
to them in the business world?
Kellie: being able to analyze
market trends there, we're
very big on entrepreneurship.
Being able to analyze what the
market has and what the market lacks
and how can you bring something to
market to support and fill that gap
is an essential business skillset.
Analyzing all kinds of data
analysis is analysis, if it's
words or if it's numbers.
You have to have curiosity about what
you pay attention to, and then you have
to be able to link somehow that set
of things you've paid attention to.
That's, and figure out
what the pattern is.
So everybody listening, one of the things
that we want you to take away from this
is that it doesn't matter your discipline.
The core underlying
structures and the intentions.
Are the same.
So making connections, making
relationships between topics is
how people deepen their knowledge.
And it's how they are able to take
something and store it properly
so that it is ready for retrieval.
. So when you're adding, oh, sort
of a entertaining, I'm gonna
put that in air quotes here.
Entertaining dimension to a topic.
So for example, I would put goofy
science fiction names in my database
list classes or, or things like that.
Or have people write ridiculous letters.
What is the worst possible, most
ugly PowerPoint you can make?
Ugliest one, win.
. And somebody's calling.
Here we go.
So the reason why I would do that
is because it would push people to
use the tool in ways that they might
not if they were being careful.
Because I wanted them to see
more of what was possible.
So we went outside of the bounds.
You actually were teaching Jekyll & Hyde,
and you and I were having a conversation
about it in which you were talking
about the sublayers of the meaning
behind things like the back door.
, can you speak a little bit about that?
Kellie: I can, this is where we get a
little bit blue in our conversation.
So Jekyll & Hyde, Dr.
Jekyll & Mr.
Spoiler alert, on a 200 year
old story, same guy, and Dr.
Jekyll is very respectable in
his community, but has been
acting a little bit weird.
And so two friends go to check
on him and on the way they see
something happen in which Mr.
Hyde attacks a random person in the street
and like, Hey, that's not right, da da da.
And so they follow Mr.
Hyde and he goes into this
really disputable looking space.
The door is really shabby,
the neighborhood's kind
of grubby and all of that.
And this whole encounter's
very odd plot goes on, and long
story, a little bit shorter.
Imagine a house on a really large
corner lot, and it's large enough
that the front is different, that the
front street is different from the
side street that corners the property.
And so the front is nice and
respectable and looks out on a lovely
square, good part of town, da da, da.
But that side road is where
the neighborhood has started
to go downhill rapidly.
And it turns out that Mr.
Hyde lives and went in through the
back door of the property where Dr.
Jekyll is, and there is a whole
homosocial, homosexual entry about the
back door are anatomical back doors.
It is where the waste, where the filth
is, exits our systems and . It is part
of the stigma against gay male sex
that happens at the anus because it's
associated with filth and wow, do my
students not wanna have this conversation?
they never see this coming.
It is always very just out of nowhere.
But once they see it,
they can't not see it.
And they see all the other ways
in the story in which these
references to what you hide.
Hide and what is shameful
because the thing that Dr.
Jekyll does that causes him to
have to hide, causes him to have to
develop this alternate personality
through taking a chemical.
Substance is never named.
So we have to infer from the story that
whatever it is, is so very shameful.
He cannot, literally cannot show his face.
So sex of some kind, most often,
sometimes money, generally sex.
So once they've noticed that, they look
at all of the other kind of repercussions
in the story in which the story is
unstable and it changes a lot for them.
Whether or not they think Dr.
Jekyll is engaged in homosexual
sex, it's not the point.
. But the possibility changes what they see.
Kirsten: So what I find interesting
is that because it's written in a
certain time period, in a certain
era, you also have to bring up
the standards of that era, right?
Kellie: this is the late 19th century
London where homosexuality is illegal.
And so if you were caught as it were,
doing illegal acts, you could be arrested
Oscar Wilde in the same time period, a
newspaper slandered him and Oscar Wilde.
Was gay, was flamboyantly gay and
a newspaper said something linking
Oscar Wilde to a man romantically
and some kind of lover spout,
whatever it was, I don't remember.
But 'cause it was illegal, Oscar Wilde
had to contest it and say it was slander.
And then as it turns
out, Oscar Wilde gets.
Arrested , right?
And so I was like, no, I
wasn't involved with that one.
I was involved with that one.
And so what the newspaper said was wrong,
and therefore Oscar Wilde wins the case,
except he's now been exposed as being
gay, which homosexual acts are illegal.
He goes to prison.
And so this notion of what is publicly
acceptable, but it's your private desire,
what you have to put on as a face to the
world, what you really, really want and
have to hide and so on, is an important
point for them, for my students to train
themselves to start to look for, right?
It's not the secret, meaning
it's not, what does the author
really trying to tell us?
It's what is the author's environment
that they're writing in that is just
baked into their language choices.
So the reason why Kellie and I do this
is because we're committed to the ongoing
mastery of presenting and speaking,
and that is a very broad discipline.
Yeah, that's a very broad topic.
So one of the things that I encourage
everybody listening to do is to kind of
take the core theme that we have from
today's show and just see in your next.
Speech and your next keynote in your
next breakout session and whatever,
are there ways in which you can put in
more than one, essentially track, and
you have the obvious statements and
the obvious line, and then the, oh,
by the way, here's a secondary meaning
that reinforces the point of the first.
storytelling is something that.
Is not used often enough in speeches,
especially in the technical world.
, and I'm gonna hold up the How to Tell a
Story by the Moth book because I would
encourage you to take some risks Yeah.
With your presenting and speaking.
Because going a direction people don't
expect and going into maybe a, a morey or
a whimsical or theatrical way can actually
reinforce a core point because people
might have preconceptions about the topic.
And if you then come around here
from the side, you might show them
aspects of this belief system they
have and go, oh, well wait a minute.
Maybe it isn't.
And especially in the technical world,
when you are trying to kind of show people
balances, like in cybersecurity, the
balance between risk and freedom Yeah.
Is a dance that all tech
speakers have to deal with.
Well, there's reasons why
that you might want to make
certain adjustments and plans.
So let's some creative stories
can help people see that.
So Kellie, what's the takeaway
that you would like people to
have from our episode today?
Kellie: The takeaway is that analysis
starts with noticing the details
and when you notice the details,
you are not overthinking it.
You are not overreading it.
You are noticing what's there and not just
glossing past it, it's there for a reason.
What could those reasons be?
Now you've started analysis and
Kirsten: my takeaway will be
I encourage you to take risks.
So try to be a little more storytelling
based, a little more creative, a little
more literary in your work, in your
presenting and speaking, and see if that
allows you to make connections for people
that they struggle to make on their own.
. And I think that's it.
So everybody, please make the, we are
on all the socials and we have, and
I think next week is an interview.
Yes, and so we have a
couple of things coming up.
So we have talks like this.
We have interviews, we have
mini coaching sessions.
Check us out on YouTube,
please, like please subscribe
and we will see you next time.
Thanks for watching.
If you enjoyed this conversation about
making connections among topics, check
out season four, episode number 48.
Why is Adaptability Key for
Changing Workplace culture?
The link is in the show notes.