This week’s Excellence in Training blog post is really a book recommendation. The book is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking By Susan Cain. I first became aware of Susan Cain and her study into the world of introverts when I watched a TED video of her speaking on the topic. In the video she referenced her book, which I immediately bought and added to my virtual stack of books in my iPad. The book was of interest to me both as an introvert and as a professional speaker and trainer.
You may be wondering right now about the perceived conflict between being an introvert and being a professional speaker and trainer. Cain addresses that in her book with the story of Professor Brian Little and his Free Trait Theory. Free Trait Theory suggests we are born and culturally endowed with certain personality traits – introversion, for example – but we can and do act out of character in the service of “core personal projects”. Introverts therefore, are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly.
So, what does any of this have to do with Excellence in Training? Everything. Regardless of whether you are an introvert or extrovert you need to read this book for a variety of reasons.
If you are an introvert it will help you come to peace with some of the things you prefer in life such as why at a conference you would rather go to dinner with one or two colleagues and have an in depth discussion than hang out at the hospitality room, why you might need to find a quiet place at lunch when teaching a full day program to allow yourself to recharge, or why you might prefer to buy the DVD of a Tony Robbins seminar rather than attend a live event.
As an extrovert the book gives you some insights into the introverts in your classroom, in the trainer cadre and in your life. Cain provides strategies on introverts and extroverts working and living together more effectively.
The book also addresses some better practices for generating ideas and creativity in the workplace or the classroom that can be very helpful to trainers.
As trainers we need to find ways to engage and involve the people in our training sessions. Unfortunately, in an effort to engage people through activity in the classroom some training programs go overboard. This can be exciting for extroverts but draining for introverts. Cain has some strategies for addressing these issues to maximize the learning environment for everyone.
I would recommend you take the time to read the book and look for what strategies you can pull from this to enhance the learning environment for people attending your sessions. I have already started to make some changes based on ideas from the book.
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