Recently I was attempting to do an Excellence in Training Academy interview with Ken Andrukow, the owner and head coach at Reebok Crossfit Ramsey regarding the keys to effective coaching. I use Skype to make and record the Excellence in Training Academy interviews and called Ken’s cell phone at the appointed time. I could hear Ken, but he could not hear me. I tried reconnecting a number of times with the same result. I rebooted Skype a few times and even rebooted my internet modem (Because rebooting solves all problems right?). The problem persisted. I connected with Ken on his Skype account. Same problem.
He then sent me a text message that read, “I know it’s silly, but your microphone is on correct?” I looked at the microphone and the blue light was on. A closer looked showed the microphone was off. The blue light simply means it is connected to power, it does not mean the mic is turned on. After wasting 15 minutes of Ken’s valuable time, and experiencing a great deal of frustration the problem was quickly and easily resolved. Fortunately Ken was very understanding and after we had a laugh we went on and had a great interview.
In the 160 interviews I have done for the Excellence in Training Academy and the ILEETA Learning Lab I don’t remember ever experiencing this issue. So, why am I talking about this in the Excellence in training blog? Because it reminded me that we sometimes get too comfortable and overlook the basics in preparing for upcoming training classes or events.
Have you ever:
- Forgotten to test the videos in your PowerPoint presentation before you start teaching. After all, they worked the last ten times you did that presentation.
- Forgotten to check the sound level for audio and video clips in your presentation before you start only to have either absolute silence when you play them or blow out the speakers and scare the crap out of everyone because the volume is so loud.
- Forgotten to plug in your laptop before you start your presentation only to have it shut down half way through the day because the battery went dead.
- Forgotten to turn your lapel or handheld microphone on prior to starting your talk in a large venue.
- Forgotten to mute your lapel microphone during a break.
- Forgotten to check the batteries on the microphone before you start the presentation, or at the lunch break during a day long event only to have the batteries die at a critical point in your presentation.
- Forgotten to inquire in advance to make sure the host had a speaker system you could hook into your laptop so you could play your video and audio clips only to arrive the morning of the presentation to discover there is no sound.
- Forgotten to pack charging cables for your electronic devices when you go on the road.
- Forgotten to bring your adaptors if you use Apple laptops or devices to run your Keynote or PowerPoint.
- Neglected to ask exactly what kind of mats the host had for your physical skills course only to discover they have yoga mats, not mats appropriate for combatives training.
Now, I may be the only trainer who has ever done these things, and I have done all of them, and you might be thinking I am an idiot. I may be, but I also suspect you have experienced some, if not all of these issues plus some that are not on the list.
The issues on the list for the most part are not catastrophic and will simply make you look foolish. But, what if the issues you overlook create a safety hazard and put people at risk? It can be helpful to create rituals and checklists to avoid overlooking the “little things”, which may turn into big things. Checking the position of the On / Off button on my microphone is now part of my preinterview checklist.
It might seem silly, but……..
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