Sunday, December 15, 2013

Give Credit To Silence

As a leader, a common objective is to be fair and consistent. Fairness and consistency are demonstrated in various settings. For example, in training sessions, we want to ensure the message and intent of the material is the same even if it's delivered in different styles. 
Today was just another Sunday afternoon where I had scheduled to train a new time tracking system to the manufacturing team. I had two sessions to make it easier and minimize the impact. 
When I was coordinating the sessions, one of the area leads reminded me of a gentleman that I'll call Bee. 
"What about Bee?" He said. And I paused for a moment. Then asked: "what about him?"

Bee is deaf. Normally, for hour long training sessions or meetings either in a classroom environment or hands on manufacturing, we hire an interpreter. Instead of taking that option today, I decided to have a one on one session with him at my desk so that he wouldn't be left out in learning the new system with his peers (especially with the holiday break coming up). 
Given that Bee was able to fill out his time on the new system only 10 minutes into our discussion, I can safely say it went really well. And reflecting back, it came down to my preparation.

Often times, we learn about the importance of preparing for a presentation. What message do I want to send? What were some things said in the previous sessions that weren't in the slides? What do I want him/her to walk away with? These are common questions that everyone should answer prior to completing a presentation and I for one, took them for granted. 
Prior to my one on one with Bee, I wrote down four main bullet points that I commented on in the other two sessions that weren't in the slides. Not only did I have the two slide decks open on my desktop but also had a blank one for walking him through the presentation, where he could ask questions or make comments as well. The structure of how I wanted the 30 minutes to go was perfectly laid out. 
Preparing for a presentation is important. I am reminded of it day in and day out, regardless of what the presentation setting will be. It all comes down to the message. Getting ready for my one on one with  Bee helped me reflect on how I've been doing on my presentation skills. Honestly, I think my session with him was one of my best, since the only thing communicated was what he needed to know. And pleasantries were still exchanged so the personal element was never lost. 

In my last blog post, I spoke about trying to find the introvert in me and only saying what's critical. Keeping this in mind, I'm confident I can succeed at this if I prep presentations ad-hoc or formal as if it were with Bee. It was very humbling to say the least but I can only grow from this interaction. And today was yet another lesson crediting the old proverb- "silence is golden." 

[[found a blog post on a similar topic of 7 lessons we can learn from communicating with the deaf : ]]

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