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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Up in Front of the Crowd: A ‘Sleeper’ or Scinttilating?


When you’re in front of a crowd–a group– or even one or two people, do you put them to sleep or are you scinttilating? If you’re presenting in front of 2 or hundreds, you must wonder at times whether your delivery is interesting. Too often, we drone through the subject, stop to tell a joke or two, and just trudge through the trenches of information until the clock tells us to stop!

Students Nodding Off Is a Sign…

Are your students nodding off as the day goes on? Do you frantically wonder how to keep their attention—all day? The answer is not what you think it is. Recently, I taught my Instructor Development course to real estate professionals and affiliates. I’ve taught this course for about fifteen years. Here’s the biggest mis-conception students come in with:

If I just learn how to be a more captivating speaker, I can keep the students’ attention for hours on end.

NOT! In today’s frantic world, the person in front of everyone cannot hope to hold students’ attention for more than 10 minutes at a time! If you think I’m wrong, just count the number of commercials in a TV break. These commercials are down to about 15 seconds apiece. The images go by so fast you can scarcely count them. In fact, we’ve become a society of easily distracted, multi-tasking, not very focused beings (watch pedestrians—or drivers—in action with a cell phone…..).

The Focus Doesn’t Have to Be On You at All Times

So, what are you going to do to ‘hold’ students’ attention? You are going to implement some teaching methods called

alternative delivery methods

Alternative delivery methods: all those methods used to teach that are NOT lecture. Examples: Town hall, task force, case study, role play, action plan.

Give your Students some Credit

People who lecture their way through a day (or days!) either

  1. Just don’t have any repertoire of alternative teaching methods


2. Just don’t think the students can be involved with theirs and others’ learning

How to Teach through Student Involvement

Instead of talking through each point you have on your PowerPoint slide or in our outline (boy, is that riveting!), use town hall, task force, case study, and role play to teach. To do that, you’ll need to take an Instructor Development course to learn those methods, and practice using them in class. (It’s also great to watch the instructor demonstrate those methods with you as a student, too).

Note: To find out when my next Instructor Development course is, go to  If you’re in Washington state, and can’t attend a live session, you can take the Train the Trainer course and get 15 clock hours and gain the qualification to become an instructor of clock hours in Washington state.

You’ll find your students know much more than you think they do about what you’re teaching. You’ll be able to clarify points of concern, use the talents in your class, and actually provide a stimulating, active learning environment. The result: your students will be energized all day.

Get Dozens of Training Tips to Polish your Training and Speaking

If you’re leading meetings, facilitating training, or speaking, you need this comprehensive training tool. It shows you how to keep the audience’s attention, how to enhance your training style, how to involve your students, and even how to create a workshop–from scratch. Check it out here.

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