Many years ago at a random restaurant in the suburbs of San Diego…I made the most important decision of my life.
I was about 4 1/2 years old and I had solved my greatest dilemma. I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I decided to start with telling my mom and my sister. So, I said:
“Mom, I know what I want to be when I grow up.” She asked what I had decided. I said: “I want to be a Canadian.” My mom was a bit confused and asked why. I said: “I want to be a Canadian because I love making people laugh.” Well, I achieved a huge laugh from her and my sister as they explained the difference between being a Canadian vs. being a Stand Up Comedian.
How The Decision to “Be a Canadian” Helps Me as a Trainer
Many years have passed since that morning. I realized in some ways I did fulfill that dream; just not in a way I ever expected.
Accounting Software is Boring
I love what I do. I get unreasonably excited about new features. However, I know that most people are not excited when they hear that they will have to learn a new program.
A Good Stand-Up Comedian Knows How to “Read A Room”
If you are a trainer, you need to watch your audience. If someone is not paying attention or (it happens…especially after lunch) falling asleep. Make them the focus of your sample transactions. If Judy from the AP department looks like she is distracted, or irritated…all my sample transactions are for paying Judy millions of dollars. If Tom’s job was a lot easier before, I use him in a training narrative. “Tom has to approve a huge bill for this crazy new software.”
A Good Comedian Knows How to Deal with Hecklers
Ever see a comedian being heckled? Someone in the audience ruins the jokes and causes distraction. That happens sometimes during training. Here are some great tips on how to deal with training hecklers.
Take Advantage of the Stage
I love training in front of a projector and screen. My classics include: really terrible attempt at shadow puppets and…the Vanna White. The Vanna White consists of a quick impression of tapping the screen and clapping. I throw in some Price is Right model gestures and you have a typical training day with yours truly.
All that being said, you need to know your material. But I have found if you can make someone laugh, they will feel more comfortable and they will be more open about their questions and concerns.