Why Your Educational Meetings Need More ENTHUSIASM!
Sam Glenn, Award Winning Keynote Speaker & the Authority on Attitude ©
One of the things I love to do is BBQ. The other day, I was trying to assemble a BBQ that I got as a gift for Father’s Day. I had all the parts laid out, and then I started to look over the directions. I was confused by the content – in other words, I didn’t understand the directions. So, I recruited my retired neighbor – BOB. He knows this stuff inside and out. His direction changed the learning experience into a more pleasant one. When we finished, Bob said to me, “Sam, you have learned how to assemble a BBQ from concept to completion, but there is only thing left – it needs a spark to work.”
In order for a BBQ to do what a
BBQ is purposed to do,
it needs a spark to light the flame.
The same is true with meetings. I have spoken at more than 100 educational meetings and conferences a year for more than twenty years, but one thing is for sure – most events I speak at are education-focused. Education is key, but it doesn’t turn the key and make things move. Have you ever tried learning something new, and in the back of your mind, you thought, I would be getting more value from a nap right now?
Take it from me, I know how difficult that can be. I have what is known as adult ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder. If you are going to educate me, don’t just dump information on me. You need to make that information glow in the dark to make it stick. It has to captivate and hold my attention in order for it to be effective. I have used my ADD as a strength for my speeches. Ask anyone, every speech I give is an ADD-friendly speech. It doesn’t matter if you have ADD or not, it will grab your attention, and you will receive content, but I make what I teach sparkle. As a result, the partnership of enthusiasm and education creates energy, engagement, and purpose.
My observation is that many people view “enthusiasm” as a buzz word. Actually, more of a fluffy word or a Peter Pan positivity word. Let’s explore that a bit. Have you ever worked with a group of uninspired people?
Do you like to buy from people who aren’t excited about what they are selling?
Do you trust a nurse’s care if he or she doesn’t care?
Have you ever had really bad service?
Have you ever called a company – any company - and the way they answered the phone was about as exciting as staring at a wall for an hour? Think about it.
The absence of enthusiasm feeds disengagement and weakens trust.
People who are excited about their work have purpose in what they are doing, so they are not going to go out of their way to make your day a bad one. Just the opposite – they are going to give you everything they have. That is called engagement, and it only happens when you fuel education with the heart of enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm, it’s called work. With enthusiasm, our education is transformed into a mission, purpose, or opportunity.
What about your favorite sports team that you root for? Your favorite team has practiced and learned the fundamentals of the game. They have been educated on how to play. However, would you want them to take the field, court, or ice with no enthusiasm? I am sure you are saying, “No way!”
So why is that? Why would you want your favorite sports team to have enthusiasm? You want them to win, and you know that enthusiasm makes winning possible. Without enthusiasm, you just go through the motions, routines, the process - the same old thing, the same old way. So, why would you plan an educational meeting and skip the one element that brings it all to life? You need ENTHUISAM!
If your son or daughter was applying for their first job, would you want them to work in a culture that has enthusiasm or a lack of it?
If you are hiring, do you want to hire someone with all the right skills who has enthusiasm to go with those skills or without?
We need to start viewing enthusiasm as an asset to our educational and training process. If I hire someone and invest in training them in how to do the work, I want to ensure they are doing it with purpose and enthusiasm. I don’t want a DUD answering the phone, representing my company, or taking care of customers. A DUD will only make things worse. It’s like the 4th of July. Have you ever lit a firework and nothing happens? It’s a DUD? It’s a letdown, right?
If I attended your educational meeting or even paid to attend, would I leave excited about what I learned? I recently spoke at an LDI event for a hospital, and one of the nurse practitioners came up to me after my talk and said, “I just spent a week at a conference, and I got more excitement out of learning in one hour with you than a whole week at that event.”
Is it because I am smarter or more brilliant than everyone at that conference? NO WAY. Not even close. I just understand that the real value that brings what we learn to life is incorporating enthusiasm with it – instilling purpose! I don’t care what industry you come from, enthusiasm is a must and a partner to education. If you have a humble attitude, you are probably saying, “YES!” right now. If you are offended by that, then you have allowed your thoughts to partner with your ego. There is nothing offensive here. Change your mental partnerships with what you know. Bring what you know to life by giving it purpose, and when you do that, enthusiasm comes to life.
Without a spotlight of enthusiasm on your industry or association, the negative consequence is that you ultimately dim the light on your industry for attracting new and exciting talent. Some groups want to bring in new people from a new generation, and without enthusiasm, you will struggle to make this happen. Whatever your message, training, or learning is – it can be safety in the workplace, retail, hospitality, patient care, leadership, culture development, anything - if there is an absence of enthusiasm, there will be the presence of tough consequences.
Enthusiasm creates retention.
When you educate, you want it to STICK.
When I was in college, I had to take some electives as a core requirement. The only class left that could fit me in was Philosophy 101. I don’t remember a single thing about that class. I paid for it. I attended each class for a whole semester, but there was no retention. The professor had about as much enthusiasm as paint drying. Actually, watching paint dry would be more exciting than this class.
The next event you attend, observe where people sit. Do they fill up the front first or the back of the room? That will tell you everything about the reputation of that event’s stage. If there is trust, excitement, and engagement, people will fight for the best seat in the house. Otherwise, they will do what I started to do – get to class early to get the farthest seat from the front. There has to be an element of excitement that draws people closer. It’s also a sign of trust. Most of the time, when I speak at a conference for the first time, the room fills from the back first. The group doesn’t know me. When I do a break-out after my keynote, it’s standing room only, and every seat in the front is taken or held an hour before the actual speech time. The teaching point is that I made learning so exciting that there is a mad rush for the front. I made learning so engaging that I built trust.
When the next semester rolled around, my advisor encouraged me to take Philosophy 102. I resisted, but again, it was the only elective that had room for me, so I did. Guess where I got my seat – in the back. However, this professor was different. He was engaging, fun, lighthearted, and worked with you to ensure you understood the content before moving on, so you didn’t feel lost or stranded on Confused Island. It was, by far, the best class that I remember attending. I even asked my advisor if I could take Philosophy 102 over again because it was that good. The professor didn’t dump information on us and say, “Do what you will,” or, “Figure it out.”
He made learning fun, gave us ways to incorporate what we were learning, and opened the door of purpose so the content came to life in our life and future work. I will never forget that class. It’s been over thirty years, I still remember it, and I would attend that glass again! How is that even possible? That is what happens when you partner education with enthusiasm.
One of my favorite quotes is by Aristotle: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
If you are looking for more ideas on how to spice up your meeting with enthusiasm, keep following my blog, or check out my free online video training.
Until Next Time,
Keep Looking Up!
Sam Glenn is an award winning motivational speaker, author, and performance artist.
Organizations who love to empower their people to think better, do better, and live better use Sam’s books and hilarious speeches to ignite more purpose and engagement in the workplace. Sam is always the most requested presenter to return by conference attendees. If you attend one of his speeches, you will see why. For more information on Sam Glenn or speaking engagement inquires, contact his office at Contact@SamGlenn.com. Sam and his team are ready to bring the “WOW FACTOR” to your next big meeting.
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