Everyone’s eyes glazed over.
The instructor continued drawing on the whiteboard, explaining how sounds are made up of a mix of frequencies.
The class was The Physics of Sound — a joint effort between the music and engineering schools.
The music students struggled to understand waveforms and the physics of sound. The engineering students struggled to grasp the concepts of pitch and timbre.
I could feel the confusion and overwhelm permeating the room.
What was missing?
In a word…
I’d further break this into two elements.
- An awareness of the needs of his students
- A set of skills to help him meet the needs of his students
The teacher seemed oblivious to the fact that his lecture wasn’t landing with the audience.
He didn’t ask questions. He didn’t register the blank stares on everyone’s faces.
Had he stopped to check-in, he could have changed things up. Instead, it was an opportunity lost.
He could have had one of the musicians in the room fire up a synthesizer to demonstrate different sounds.
He could have asked each engineering student to pair up with a musician (and vice versa) to explain concepts that fell into their area of expertise.
When creating online programs, it’s easy to get consumed by technical and marketing details.
But as leaders, we need to continually expand our capacity to be aware of and fulfill the needs of our students and clients, too.
Yesterday my friend, Lisa Fabrega, called this out on Facebook:
You wanna build a funnel that makes you 8 figures but you don’t want the responsibility of making sure the community you gathered to give you the 8 figures are handled responsibly.
You want the passive income and the bragging on Forbes, Inc or Entrepreneur but you give zero hoots about BUILDING THE CAPACITY to HOLD the community whose money got you there in a responsible and integral way.
Scaling a thought leadership business requires that your teaching, facilitation, leadership, communication, and empathy skills continue to scale along with it.
You have to continually hone your ability and the ability of your company to tune into the needs of your clients, customer, and students.
You must continually expand your ability and the ability of your company to fulfill those needs.
Here are seven quick ideas to help you do that.
- Regularly interview clients and customers to better understand their experience and needs.
- Become a student of teaching, coaching, and facilitation methods.
- Adapt your courses in real-time based on the needs of the evolving needs of your students (e.g. adjust the curriculum, add support methods, expand the timeline, make it more interactive, etc.).
- Solicit feedback after someone goes through one of your courses or programs, then make the necessary changes.
- Even if your goal is to create a digital passive income, always build in opportunities for you to teach, coach, or consult directly to keep you tuned in.
- Collaborate and team up with others if the students’ needs don’t fall in your wheelhouse.
- Experiment. Let your students know you are trying something new, then take stock of the results.
Do this and your impact will always grow along with (and even surpass) your income.
Postlude: A year later I was asked to take over teaching the Physics of Sound class. I loved it! In fact, that’s when I really discovered my love of teaching.