I recently attended a training seminar for a professional development organization. The intent was to give me the tools and resources to be a better leader in the organization over the course of a half-day.

The event wasn’t bad. No, it was ridiculously awful.

The first hour we spent reviewing a manual we could have (and most already did) read on our own. The next hour, about the same. Hour three? More being read to from materials I already had. Hour five? Why don’t we read to the audience event more?

I skipped mentioning the fourth session description intentionally and will swing back to it and why it was important.

First, let us diagnose what went so terribly wrong. Aside from being read to on materials I’ve already read; the sessions were uninformative, unimaginable, unchallenging and generally unappealing.

The audience, around several hundred, were treated like we were in grade school The event was orchestrated entirely around the lowest common denominator. The least intelligent person in the room may have been invested and interested.

The problem with an event being designed and directed to that person is that it ignored the needs, wishes and desires for all those above a rudimentary education looking for a higher level of achievement.

Instead the group used the largest brush strokes possible. Speakers obsessively blurted out keywords such as “empower” and “develop” without ever any true discussion of application or providing tangible take-aways. Perhaps they felt that would be too challenging for the audience.

So how was the fourth session different? The presenter chose not to gloss over materials but to unwrap them and dig in. He discussed actions, tactics and techniques. He addressed challenges and generated enthusiasm and inspiration amongst the attendees.

Whereas every other speaker wasted time, this presenter provided value in every single minute. The information in the presentation was not dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. It required all in attendance to raise their level of awareness, attention, energy, enthusiasm and thought process.

It could be assumed that the organization does not want forward thinking, intelligent individuals. It is plausible that they want a group they can easily pander to with simple materials. If that is the case – ditching their one speaker is a must as he challenged people to be better.

If, on the other hand, they are looking to be a progressive organization attracting the best thinkers – there is a long road ahead and a tremendous amount of scorched earth to reclaim. Perhaps they should take the lead from their one presenter.

This is precisely why this blog, my podcast and my e-book is written the way it is or delivered in the manner it is. I want to write and speak to those who are willing and ready to do the hard work, who want to take on challenges, who want to earn their success. That is my audience. This is also why I am not terribly upset when people unsubscribe. There is nothing wrong if what I’m delivering is “not for them.” They have that choice as a consumer. Many are simply not up to the challenge in the industry we are a part of and as such are not in the same demographic.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto