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Case Study: I was teaching how, but I forgot to teach them why

Posted on February 16, 2018

Case Study: I was teaching how, but I forgot to teach them why

Do you remember sitting in algebra class and wondering where the teacher was going with some lecture?  Sometimes we get so focused on teaching that we forget to show people the bigger picture.

I was working with a client who does lectures on a clinical topic.  He has excellent content and is very well respected in his specialty.  When I asked him for his Big Idea statement, he focused on the steps needed to execute a technique.  “But what is the purpose of the technique?” I asked, and he said it was helpful in leading to a diagnosis.  “So, what is someone supposed to do with this information once they have it?” I asked.  He paused for a moment, and then his face lit up and he got it!  Patients and their doctors can make better decisions about present and future treatment IF they have this information.  This immediately helped him reframe how he presented his lecture, and the feedback he has received has been outstanding.

Next time you are “in the weeds” with your content, try asking yourself what is the result of doing (or not) doing the action you are teaching.  In other words, give the audience an idea early on how to use your information and what it will do for them.

Create a BIG IDEA statement
that helps your audience understand the significance of your talk.