Teaching vs. presenting

Marty Grunder

My banker recently sent me a story about Urban Meyer, the football coach at The Ohio State University, the 2014 NCAA football champions. It can’t be argued that Meyer is one heck of a coach. The story focused on Meyer’s debate on whether his sister, vice provost for Undergraduate Affairs at the University of Cincinnati, was a presenter or a teacher.

Meyer spoke of the importance of being a teacher instead of a presenter. He said a teacher makes sure that their students truly understand the information and take action with it. A presenter just dumps information and doesn’t pay any attention to whether it’s understood or not. Teachers make a difference and change people’s lives. Presenters are often forgettable as they aren’t engaged enough to make that big of an impact.

Talk to any successful owner of a landscaping company and they will all tell you that training and education are important parts of their success. You will only realize your team’s utmost potential by training, educating and equipping your team so they can effectively handle all sorts of tasks without your involvement. Growing a landscaping company happens when you teach your team to follow procedures and systems. Presenters don’t move this agenda forward; only teachers do.

A presenter is someone who just reads from a piece of paper or just demonstrates, without having a feel for if the audience or the student is actually grasping the concepts. He shares his presentation and walk away, failing to engage the audience by asking questions and to get those present excited about the knowledge or information.

A teacher is someone who has lesson plans and strides to the front of the class to actively share a lesson with her class. She doesn’t turn her back on the class. Instead she pauses as she teaches to make sure her students are following along, grasping the concepts. Great teachers make learning fun and focus in on details when needed and seem to make difficult subjects palatable.

Let’s talk about how you might be a teacher rather than a presenter in front of your team. Let’s say you are talking to your team about how to weed eat properly. I know what some of you are thinking – that’s silly, everyone knows how to weed eat. Wrong! Smart landscapers train and educate their teams on how to weedeat. Think about how much weedeating you do. Think about how much time can be lost by not doing it efficiently. Think about all the windows you could break if you don’t do it correctly. Think about how many edges won’t look right if your team doesn’t do it correctly.

A teacher would have an outline that detailed everything she wanted to get across and have the highlights of that outline on a handout for everyone. A teacher would systematically go through the outline, stopping along the way to ask questions.

Ask the group to share what they have learned so far. A teacher would demonstrate, ask others with experience to demonstrate and then when done, ask the class to demonstrate what they learned to make sure everyone now knows how to weedeat properly.

A teacher would go over even the simplest of all details and not be afraid to point out the obvious because she realizes details matter. A teacher would hand out a quiz and grade them. A teacher would frequently check on her students days, weeks and months later to make sure they are weedeating correctly and praise those who are in front of the whole team.

Think about the teachers in your life that you liked the most, think about the ones who helped you improve. Work to be that kind of teacher. Don’t be a presenter who just gets up in front of everyone, dumps a bunch of information and leaves. Be a patient, detail-oriented teacher who gets his students involved and excited about learning. Your team will appreciate your efforts and your profits will improve as a result of some properly equipped teammates.

Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author; he owns Grunder Landscaping Co. See www.martygrunder.com; mail



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