Teaching others is a great way to build your confidence and establish yourself as an authority on your chosen topic. Right now, this may seem daunting. You may not feel like you have opportunities to teach others, but our world is full of possibilities.
For example, one morning, my grandma taught her cashier how to correctly count back change to a customer. No one had ever taught this young woman how to count back change, and she was thankful to my grandma for spending the time to teach her. Undoubtedly, when she woke up in the morning, my grandma had not anticipated teaching this young woman this important skill. However, she seized the opportunity when it presented itself and helped this stranger.
Most opportunities to teach others will probably be similar to this. Aside from instructing a Pilates or yoga class, I don’t feel like I have obvious teaching opportunities with adults. (If you’re a parent, you’re teaching your kids all the time.)
My favorite teaching moment happened around Christmas. My mailman, Charlie, said he was going in for hernia repair. Since I had mine repaired half a year earlier, I told him about the importance of stool softener, movements to avoid, and a guess about how he would feel post-surgery. It wasn’t a big deal, but I know I said some things that helped Charlie, and it gave me a boost of confidence to help him.
“We all have something we can teach others.” This was the start of one of my assignments in fourth grade. The task was to create a poster board with step-by-step instructions on how to do something and present it to the class.
This assignment must have been a favorite of teachers everywhere because I heard that when he was in seventh grade, Brad Pitt once gave a similar presentation. His topic was how to pick your nose and not get caught. My source says that it was one of the best presentations ever.
Today, though, I’m going to teach you how to teach others.
How to Teach Others
- Pick a topic. It will be easiest if you choose a topic that you know well. Avoid choosing a topic that you may have to research. It’s easiest to teach what you know. Think about what you find interesting about your topic, and work on incorporating that into your presentation.
- Know your audience. Who are you teaching? Will these people already have a background in your topic? Do they know the technical words? Will you have to explain any concepts?
- Know your time frame. Knowing how long you are expected to speak should greatly influence the depth of your presentation.
- Use visual aids to help you stay on track. In fourth grade, we had the poster board. You could use a Power Point or whatever tool works best for you to help you keep your focus while talking.
- Take a deep breath before you begin speaking. Then, speak calmly and slowly. Sometimes, when we get nervous, we speak quickly and people quit understanding what we’re saying.
- Make eye contact with people while you’re speaking. When you lock eyes with someone, it will enhance their ability to understand your message.
- Invite questions. Always allow people the opportunity to ask you questions.
- Don’t be afraid to tell people that you don’t know. It would be silly to think that you should know everything about a topic. Plus, it turns out that people who aren’t afraid to admit that they don’t know are more credible among their peers.
Think about the different ways in a day that you teach others. What is your favorite thing that you teach? Let us know in the comments.
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