Why do we learn so slowly? Is it because we're not good learners?
Is it age? Or is it something quite different? The problem of learning (and teaching) is dependent on the concept of Teacher vs Preacher. When you're a preacher, you give the feeling of a ton of information, but there's no true learning, no true application.
A teacher, gets the student to apply the skills. When you're creating info-products, writing books or articles, this is what needs to be kept in mind.
In this episode Sean talks about
Part 1: The Responsibility Factor
Part 2: The Three Step Benchmark To Teaching
Part 3: When Does The Student Become The Teacher?
“This transcript hasn’t been checked for typos, so you may well find some. If you do, let us know and we’ll be sure to fix them.”
This is The Three Month Vacation, I'm Sean D'Souza.
If you were to step into India today and go to most Indian households, you would be surprised at what you saw at the doorstep. You would see a Swastika. Yes, the very same Swastika that the Germans used in World War II, the same Swastika that came to be hated by everyone who saw it then, and today. What is a Swastika doing on the doorstep of so many Hindu households? The reality is that the Swastika comes from the Sanskrit word Swastik which means good luck. It has been around for thousands of years. While it's prominently found in Indian culture even today, it was also found in ancient Greece, it can be seen on the remains of the ancient city of Troy which existed over a thousand years ago. The Druids and the Celts they also use the symbol, the Nordic tribes, the Christians, the Teutonic Knights. The Swastika goes back a long way.
In modern history, Coca Cola used it, Calsberg used it on their beer bottles, the boys' scouts adopted it, and the girls club of America, they called their magazine Swastika. It was used on playing cards, and even by the American Military Units during World War 1. It can be seen on RAF planes as late as 1939. And then, Hitler came along. He took something that was wonderful and incredibly powerful and made it something evil. He took something that was empowering and twisted it in his own way to make it work for him. He changed the meaning of the word. That is the kind of thing that happens very often when we look to learn. When we look around we see that people call themselves teachers, but in reality they are not teachers, they are just preachers. When you get this kind of information in the form of video, and audio, and PDF, you think, well, I am being taught by someone, but in reality, all you're doing is getting a ton of information. You're getting a preacher instead of a teacher.
While it might sound like just words being twisted or replaced, there is a very big difference between a preacher and a teacher. How do we know what makes a preacher thus as a teacher? That's what we're going to cover today. We're going to look at three things, the first is the responsibility factor. The second is the three benchmark system. The third, the ability for the student to become the teacher.
Part 1: The Responsibility Factor
Let's start out with the first one which is the responsibility factor. If you try to learn a language like Spanish, or German, or French, it will take you many, many months to get there. In every classroom, you have the bright students and the not-so-bright students, or at least until Michel Thomas came along. Michel Thomas was a language teacher, and he didn't believe in bright students, and dull students. He believed that the responsibility lay with the teacher. He made a bold claim, he made a claim that you could learn the fundamentals of grammar in any language within 10 hours, and then he set about proving the fact. The BBC followed him around for several days. If you look up Michel Thomas on You Tube, you will find a three part episode that shows you how he taught these students. Students who were told by their teachers that they were not supposed to learn a language, that they were stupid, that they were dull, that they should never bother to try and learn any language.
He sat them down in a classroom. In a week or so, they were already speaking the language. This is the language, the very same language that they were told they should give up, they should never try this anymore. What happened? When we ask what happened, we're trying to solve the problem of the language. What did he do, how do we learn languages like that? We don't look at that, we look at what was the core of Michel's system. The core of Michel's system was responsibility. He felt that the responsibility of the teaching didn't lie with the student, it lay with the teacher. When you think about that statement for a few minutes, it changes your whole mindset. It means that the person learning under you is not responsible. You think, well, how is that possible, you can't control what someone is doing. May be you have online courses like we do and they're sitting in South Africa, or Australia, or the United States, and you can't control what they're doing. Yes you can.
This is the difference between a preacher and a teacher. A preacher simply gives you information, you get more CDs, more information, more PDFs, more videos, but whose responsibility is it for you to succeed? The teacher on the other hand changes the way they give you information because they realize that if you don't get these tiny increments, you will start, and you will go few steps and then you will give up. That's the difference between a preacher and a teacher. A teacher doesn't believe in stupid students. A teacher doesn't believe in dull students. A teacher believes that it is their responsibility to figure out how to get across to that student.
Let's say you have a web design company, and let's say you're giving instructions to your clients how to set up their websites. Let's just say for a second that the client comes back and asks you a whole bunch of questions. Are they dull? The answer is, whose responsibility is it. It's your responsibility. The reason why that client has not figured out what they should do and how they should go about it, is because you haven't given them precise instructions, you've hurried through the process. Or, you just have the curse of knowledge. You know so much that you don't realize that you're going through so many steps. Therefore, you have become a preacher. You're no longer a teacher, you're not breaking down things into steps that are foolproof.
When we see clients doing silly things, what we say is, well, they're not smart, or they're silly, or they're stupid, but, the responsibility lies with you. If they fail you have failed. That's the difference between a preacher and a teacher. One of the best examples I have for you is this yes and yes pricing grid on the Psychotactics website. When you go and you buy any product, or any service, or any course on Psychotactics, you will encounter the price grid which is where you click the button to buy now. We have a regular and a premium pricing there. As the teacher, it is my duty to get that message across. How do you create a pricing grid so that you can earn 10% or 15% more when you have the pricing grid on your own website. People make mistakes, if there is one thing that I've seen where clients consistently make mistakes is on this pricing grid. We tell them to put ticks, they put crosses, we tell them to put red ticks, they put blue ticks. This is because everyone interprets your information in their own way, and that's absolutely normal. They want to be creative but their creativity doesn't end up being beneficial to them, and clients end up buying the regular instead of the premium.
What's my job as a teacher? My job as a teacher is very simple, my job is to make sure that they get it. If they don't get the pricing grid right, then I have to take responsibility for that. In the book which is Dartboard Pricing, it goes through steps. One step, second step, third step, then it shows the mistakes you can make, and the mistakes other people have made. What it's doing there, even with the book, even when I cannot be there, I have to make sure that's it's my responsibility for you to get your pricing grid right. It's very easy to say that people don't understand. “Look, I told them how to do it and they didn't do it,” but no, it's your responsibility. That's the critical element, the difference between a preacher and a teacher.
Two and a half years ago I started coaching my niece Marsha. She wanted to get better at her studies and so we started the coaching. I sat her down on the first day and I said to her, “Marsha, if you get everything wrong at school whose fault is it?” She said, “It's my fault.” I said, “No, no, no, it's my fault, if you get everything wrong, it's my fault as a teacher.” She said, “Cool.” That's the whole point, that's the difference between a preacher and a teacher. You have to take responsibility. That's how you know that you're picking the right teacher because they take responsibility for you. They don't just dump information, they make sure that you get it right.
Part 2: The Three Step Benchmark
This takes us to the second part of this podcast, and it's called, the three step benchmark. What is the three step benchmark? When I was 12 years old I used to come home from school and I'd very hungry. School would finish at 4 pm and then it will be a long wait until dinner. Dinner in India is a lot like Mediterranean countries and it's late, so it's about 8:30 or so. I'd come home and I'd be ravenous, I want to eat something, and no one would be at home. But there in the pantry on the shelves would be a packet of Ramen Noodles, in this case it was Maggi Noodles. This had a masala flavor which you don't get in other countries, but you do get in India.
What I'd so is I would boil some water and add the noodles, I'd add the taste maker which is the masala flavor, and then five minutes later I'd be eating it. Notice what I did, I only took three steps, boil water, add noodles, add taste maker. This is the difference between a teacher and a preacher. They use these three step benchmark system if they are aware of it or not. The preacher will not do that, a preacher will give you a lot of instructions, they will tell you, you should do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and you get lost in that whole sequence of things. I know this because this is what I used to do. I would give people instructions, here's what you need to do, step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4, step 5, not anymore. You need to solve the problem in three steps. If the client cannot get to the other side within three steps like Maggi Noodles, then you have given too many instructions. If they keep coming back to you and asking you something, then you've given too many instructions. There is no other way, the responsibility lies with you.
We just finished the headlines course for 2015, and there are many ways to write a headline. A lot of people will tell you to just copy headlines but that's stupid. You should know how to write headlines just like you know how to speak, how to write. There is a structure, and a system, and a format, to write headlines. The problem is also that there are many ways to write those headlines. If you want your student to get their mastery, then you have to follow these three step benchmark. If you give them an instruction and they can't get there within three steps, then you have made a mistake. Let's take an example of the headlines, let's say I needed to get you to write better headlines in the next few minutes. Well, how I'm I going to get this done on a podcast?
Here's how you do it, you're restricted to just three steps or fewer. What you're going to do is going to put either “even” or “and.” You're going to put this in parenthesis or brackets as you call it. Here's how you do it, you say, how to raise prices “even” when clients are price-conscious, how to raise prices “even” when the competition is offering discounts. The headline with “even” in it, it creates a contrast. It's a headline going one way and then it starts to go the other way. Now let's use “and.” How to consistently raise prices “and” still keep 95% of your clients, or, how to tell amazing stories “and” connect the stories to your business articles.
What we have here is “and” and “even.” The “and” moves the idea forward, and the “even” takes it a step back, or, it provides contrast. If you're thinking to yourself, wait, that was such a small step. That's the whole point, this is how teachers teach. The preachers will give you 7, 8 different steps to do. In the headline course, we spent a week doing this, and people still make mistakes. Bit by bit we outline it. A very small thing can be interpreted in many different ways and a preacher will just dump information on you. A teacher will take a very small element, just three steps. If you can't get that client to do what you want in three steps, it's your fault, it's your responsibility. When you're looking for a teacher, look for a teacher that has these tiny increments. That helps you get there to the next stage instead of telling you how silly you are, or how dull you are.
Part 3: When Does The Student Become The Teacher?
This takes us to the third part which is the most scariest benchmark of all, which is when the student becomes the teacher. When I go to seminars, I notice something very interesting. A speaker will stand up and make this presentation, and then they'll have all these slides, and all of these information, and all of these statistics. Then at the end of that presentation, they get a rousing applause, they get a lot of [inaudible 15:24] they get all of that stuff, but, what is the benchmark of the presentation? The real benchmark of the presentation is that the persons sitting there in the audience should be able to say what you said in their presentation. That sounds bizarre doesn't it? Of course it is bizarre, but that's what a teacher does. A teacher makes sure that you don't go out there with your head full of information. All this shock and awe that you bring to the presentation, that's not relevant. What's relevant is what the student can then teach. When that student goes out, can they repeat exactly what you said and often in the sequence that you said it?
If you come to a Psychotactics course, or you come to our workshop, or you come to our presentation, one of the most important benchmarks is that you should be able to repeat what I have just taught you. You should be able to tell someone else exactly what you learned, the sequence in which you learned it, and then you have become the teacher. If the person cannot do that, the client there, the person in the audience cannot do that, then there's something wrong with the way you're teaching, it's that simple. If all you have done is given information, then they're going to cling on to some fact or the other. They're going to cling on to one fact, or two facts, or three facts, but they don't have that system in place, because you didn't put that system in place. That's the difference between a teacher and a preacher. A teacher will make sure that the student knows how do whatever it is that they are teaching. Their responsibility is to get that student to know what they are teaching. It's not just information being given out, it is application, and it's instant application.
When there is complication there is no application, when there are too many steps there is no application, and so you start to see the difference between a teacher and a preacher. In fact, let's summarize because you'll need to be the teachers. If someone asks you what did you learn on this podcast, well, you'll need to know the difference between the teacher and the preacher. You'll need to know how to change your methods, you'll also need to know how to choose a teacher versus a preacher.
The first thing that we covered today was the factor that Michel Thomas taught us, and that is the responsibility lies with the teacher, you are responsible. The student is not responsible, you are responsible. It doesn't matter how you look at it, you are still responsible. When you take on a task you have to make sure that you formulate your teaching in a way that enables the student to learn. That changes the whole perspective of teaching. You can do this very simply by having the three step benchmark in place. If the student cannot get from this point to that point in three steps, then you have given too many steps, you have to reduce those number of steps.
That takes us to the third part which is, how do you know that the student is now smart enough and that is because they have become the teacher. You go from this factor of changing your mindset, responsibility, to then boiling down to just three steps. Then finally, you know that they have reached there because now they can teach what you just taught them. That is the difference between a teacher and a preacher. Whether we are in the service business or a product business, we have to make sure that we get this message across. This is not just about training, this is about getting your clients to achieve what they want to achieve. Most of us will blame the client. If you find yourself blaming the client, listen to Michel Thomas' words yet again, “The responsibility lies with you, it's your fault, it's always your fault.” When you say that to your client, they'll be like Marsha, they will say, “Cool.”
This brings us to the end of this podcast. You can find me always on Twitter or Facebook, I'm @seandsouza. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, if you are listening to this podcast in sequence, I won't be available for the next two weeks, I will be in Uluru which is in the middle of Australia. There is this massive rock there, there is nothing else but this massive rock and three hotels, and that's where we're going to be, we're going to be in Alice Springs. It's going to be really hot there, I hear it's about 33 °C, which is 91 °F, I wish it were cooler. But hey, I've always wanted to go to Australia, this part of Australia specifically. You can only ever go there in the colder months, and now we have slipped past the cold rainy months and we are into October, so we're going to have to put up with some of the heat.
While we are away make sure that you read The Brain Audit because it will show you why customers buy and why they don't. There is also the Web Component Series which is website secrets and you'll learn how to create your home page, or About Us page, your download page, very effectively. You can find it at psychotactics.com/web. If you'd like to join us at Five Thousand B.C that's fivethousandbc.com, that's the community of mostly introverts, and there is me, the extrovert. You'll find that Five Thousand B.C is a membership site like no other because I'm there all the time, 17,000 times a day, except for the next two weeks when I will be in Australia. That's it from Psychotactics and The Three Month Vacation, make sure you send this over to your friends as well so that they can listen to The Three Month Vacation podcast. Bye for now.