Presenting to the Oscars

As a corporate trainer, I’ve had my share of classroom curmudgeons. The worst: In a Boston classroom, I called on a man to introduce himself:  “Oscar, could you give us your name and a bit about the work you do.”

“It’s not ‘Oscar!’ ” he roared. “It’s Dr. Dimitry (not his actual name). In fact,” he continued with his vitriol-spew, “nine of us in here have doctorates. There’s very little that you can teach us!”

My brain went into think-fast gear and I replied, “I firmly believe in not wasting time. If you are already familiar with this material, I think it’s best that you return to work.”

Clever, no? He was more clever. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily,” he harrumph’d. And he stayed the whole day. Of course, on his evaluation, he wrote, “I didn’t learn a thing.”

When we as classroom teachers become presenters, as we often do in the course of our careers, we face similar situations.

Remember that you can Oscarize your audience. One way is to do this in to announce before you begin your presentation: “This is what I plan to cover. If you are already an expert on this, please feel free to leave or not. If you stay, we would all love to hear your expert opinions and experience AFTER I’ve finished my presentation.”

By Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D

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