Last week I spent an afternoon at home with my 3-year-old. He couldn’t go to school because he had come down with pink eye. As we found ways to keep ourselves busy, I couldn’t help but to think that pink eye and training have a lot in common. Here are five ways:
1) Nobody wants to be diagnosed with it
For many people, being told you have pink eye might even be preferable to being told it’s time for annual compliance training (or time to fulfill CME or CLE or other professional education credits).
2) It won’t get better unless you do something about it
Pink eye requires quarantining the patient and applying medicine. Presentation skills require continual attention and care and development and rehearsing and trying new things in order to get better.
3) Bad habits just make it worse
Rubbing and scratching an infected eye only leads to a longer recovery time. Not washing hands regularly can even help spread the infection to others. Along similar lines, bad habits such as developing presenter-centered (as opposed to learner-centered) training, the propensity to just “wing it” (as opposed to preparing and rehearsing) and hastily thrown together slide decks will lead to boring presentations. It’s been my experience that organizations that tolerate boring presentations allow poor presentation skills to infect entire workforces.
4) A little lava makes everything better
When my son and I went to the local park and ran around, we of course spent time imagining the wood chips at the bottom of the slide was a lava field (don’t touch the ground or your feet will burn up!). Having some time to get out of the house and play just seemed to raise his spirits. Similarly, presenters that can incorporate a sense of play into their training sessions seem to more effectively engage their audiences.
5) Follow-up is essential
In order for pink eye to go away, you can’t just use the eye drops one time. They need consistent, regular application (every six hours!). Training is the same way. It can’t simply be a one-time thing. It requires consistent and regular reinforcement.
Interested in other parallels between parenting and training? You may enjoy these other posts:
- Instructional Design Lessons from a 6-Year-Old
- Potty Training and Corporate Training: Eerily Similar
- 11 Lessons My Family Has Taught Me About Learning, Development, Facilitation, Collaboration and Change Management
Know someone else who might appreciate the parallels between family life and learning and development? Please pass this link along!
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