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Pablo Picasso
Institute of IT Trainers - Freelance Trainer of the Year 2006 & 2009
Liverpool Business Connect Member
  Maximum Impact Solutions Limited - Reporting Solutions, Creating Answers
Reporting Solutions - Creating Answers, Crystal Reports, Dashboarding (Xcelsius) & SQL Reporting Services

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What is going on in your mind?

Recently I finished reading the book Blink The Power of Thinking without Thinking.


I admit the headline caught my eye as, in the era of energy efficiency, as imagined how much time I would save in life, if I did not spend so much time thinking about things.


This book is all about thin slicing “The ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behaviours based on narrow slices of experience”


Thin-slicing (rapid cognition) is what  makes our unconscious both dazzling and problematic, as it allows gathered information to make sophisticated decisions in a short space of time.


This book was an interesting read that deals with our both unconscious attitude and conscious attitude, when dealing with others.

A couple of interesting cases:


Case 1: Medical Profession

When looking at malpractice cases it was found that doctors were sued not just because they had harmed the patient with poor medical treatment, but also because of the way the doctor treated them on a personal level.

Simply put “People do not sue doctors they like”


Amazingly the difference of spending at least 3 minutes longer than average with a patient, explaining the medical process and outcomes, was the main contributing factor, to whether a doctor was sued when things went wrong, regardless of skill and/or knowledge.


Case 2: Car Salesmen

Bob Golomb, sells more than double the average number of cars sold per month, bases his success on the rule “Take care of the customer


The main reason Golomb is so successful is that he never judges anyone based on their appearance.  He assumes everyone who walks in the door has the exact same chance of buying a car.


Golomb states “Pre-judging is the kiss of death.  You have to give everyone your best shot


First impressions, are based on ones experiences and ones environment, therefore to change ones first impressions, one most change ones experiences, this changing ones impressions.


A couple of weeks ago, I was in a local stationary store looking for some hard backed envelopes and a flipchart.  Now granted I was not wearing a suit, but neither was I scruffy, I would say I was smart casual.


As I entered the reasonably busy store, I smiled at the security guard and walked to the first aisle, within seconds I felt the security guard hovering nearby watching me.


I moved to the next aisle and there she was again.  In the final aisle, I found the flipcharts, and there was a choice of 8, with different features and  prices.


So it took me some time to decide which model to go for, and the security guard was really making me feel uncomfortable.  Had it not been for the time crunch in getting a flipchart, and knowing finding another store with flipcharts was going to add and extra 45 minutes to the task, I would have walked out.


So I dragged the flipchart to the till, under the watchful eye of the security guard, who noticed that I was struggling to carry such a bulky item, but did nothing to assist.  I guess she had worked out that I was not going to shop-lift this item.


When I got to the till, I asked whether the flipchart contained paper, and was told no, so I went back to my flipchart aisle, followed not so discreetly by the security guard.


I have never met this security guard before,  but something in her thin-slicing made her “stalk me through this store”, thus making me uncomfortable and rush to purchase.  The whole experience was both annoying, irritating and embarrassing for me, as she had pre-judged me to be a criminal and acted accordingly.


I doubt I will ever visit this store, and possibly this stationary chain again.


As a IT trainer, it is our job to make our delegates consciously aware of what they need to know to improve their understanding of a particular piece of software to enable them to do their job more effectively and/or efficiently.


We do this by creating a safe, interactive, relaxed fun learning environment to enable effective knowledge transfer between all the parties within the session.


So here are some questions to consider:


  • What external issues do you bring into the training room with you?

  • What pre-conceived ideas/feelings do to you bring into the training room with you?
  • What labels do you apply to the delegates as they enter the room?

  • How do those labels affect the way you deliver the training session?

  • How do those labels affect the way you interact with the delegates?

  • How often do you put yourself in the shoes of your delegates?
  • How often do you become a delegate?


We need to be flexible to adapt to their individual needs as the training session progresses,  but how many times do we thin-slice and behave like the doctor who does not take the time to explain things, or as the car sales man who pigeon holes the delegates, as difficult, attention seeking  or a know it all, just by looking at them at the beginning of the session and act accordingly?


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