Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting a class about Online Marketing to one of the Creative Communications programs at Red River College here in Winnipeg. It was a new experience for me – I haven’t set foot inside a classroom in any meaningful way since leaving high school in 2001.
Teaching, bizarrely, left me with a lot of personal lessons.
For one, never apologize for having a small powerpoint presentation – or for not using it in any meaningful way. While people appreciate not-death-by-powerpoint, apologies set a poor tone.
Still, it was interesting to note what bits of information resonated with the students. The program I presented to was the Library Technicians – who, as I told them, are uniquely suited to dealing with the online world. In part, because of their catalogue-oriented skillset, and in part because that experience with managing huge banks of information helps navigating the ubiquitous plains of the web a very different adventure than it is for the rest of us, stumbling along and finding only what we need.
Over the next few days, I’ll be pulling apart the lessons I took from my teaching experience, and turning a few of them into much longer blog posts. for now, however, the important points:
- There are essentially three places on the web; your back yard, the street corner, and their backyard.
- The web is full of communities – we’ve known this for a while. What’s important is to realize which parts of the community are the street corner, and which are someone else’s back yard.
- Becoming the Tim Horton’s of the Internet isn’t the greatest goal; there already is one, and nothing much gets done there most of the time.
- The three most important things you can do on the web (in any variation) are;
- Make your knowledge available to an audience
- Identify who you want your audience to be (and stick with that identification)
- Make it really, really clear what you want people to do with the information you give them.
- Don’t be all flash no content – it’s not productive.
- Bonus points: respect the bouncing head for what it is. Love it, hate it – understand why it’s there, before you pass judgment on it.
The bonus points are often the most important ones to keep an eye on.
Instruction – teaching – is a big part of integral leadership. When was the last time you acted as an instructor? Is it a familiar skill, or something you want to work on?