This article is part six of a humorous look at some of the creatures lurking in the corner of any training, presentation, brief, or classroom. In honor of Halloween the series warns against some of these creatures and suggest strategies for conquering them.
In prior articles, we examined the Invisible Participant, the Poltergeist, the Dominator, the Fly, the Bloviator, the Zombie, the Grim Reaper, the Caustic Clown, the Ghost Whisperer, and the Black Widow.
This article offers strategies for conquering the Vampire and perhaps the most insidious creature of all, the Robo-teacher.
The Vampire – Sucking the life out of your classroom, this creature complains about everything. The room may be too cold, the coffee too strong, the chairs too hard, the material too simple, and the participants too stupid for the vampire. If you do not drive a stake through this behavior, your classroom will sink into a graveyard-like funk.
Some vampire vamps can be stopped by pleasurable distractions. Others require sympathy. Other vampires will slink away once they have had their say. Stronger vampires cannot be so easily controlled. They demand direct intervention. Pull the vampire aside and seek its understanding. If that doesn’t work, employ a dominator strategy as listed above.
The Robo-Teacher – This series has, so far, focused on those creatures most likely to be found in the learner population. There is an even more sinister, deadly creature, known to sap the curiosity out of even the most eager learner.
Robo-teacher syndrome is an evil that must be carefully guarded against. The illness starts as instructor boredom, which progresses into tired presentation, and eventually degenerates into energy-sucking, mind-numbing, monosyllabic nonsense. Very few students have a chance against an instructor in the grip of this living sleep.
There is, fortunately, an easy cure. The illness has been effectively avoided by presenters who feel and demonstrate a passion for their subject, stay current on the latest relevant research, care deeply about both their presentation and learners, and seek help or quit at the first sign of this illness.
Although creatures lurk in classroom corners, an effective presenter can scare these ghouls away with decisive, unafraid action. And if none of the solutions listed above work, serve candy. All of these creatures have been known to go from door to door seeking mini-treats. But beware then of a different kind of creature: the sugar-hyped, overly energized, Speed Demon.
Happy Halloween to presenters everywhere. May all your presentations be creature feature free.