Expert Communicator Series Part 3:
Montessori School Teacher
Expert Communicators get their point across using physical cues, emotional connection, and cooperative techniques that may not come naturally to many of us. This expert communicator who any of us have children can agree is a Primary age Montessori School Teacher in Boston. Juliet Clark has over 20 years of experience getting toddlers to do what she wants, when she wants it, and how hard is that? We compiled a list of 7 questions that offer insight that we can use in sales and presentations.
1. What is your Top tip for getting attention?
Ms Clark: “Where’s my nose?” I’m not kidding. This works remarkable well with a young child, it also draws their eyes to your face so you can deliver a message. Con: they will poke your nose sometimes.
Demo Solutions: So this is easy to apply and a great lesson. If you look somewhere, so will your audience. Do not talk over your visuals. Interact with them
2. What is your Top tip for keeping attention?
Ms Clark: I do two things: If I’m giving a lesson, I will lower my voice almost to whisper while staying very animated. They have to attend to hear. Also, if demonstrating something, asking check in questions “Where did that one go again?” “What was this called? I forgot.” It keeps them invested because they’re “helping out” along the way.
Demo Solutions: Keep your audience invested and tell a story in a riveting way. Interact with your audience during your demo and take on the air of authority, because this is your product and your demo and if they don’t understand how to use the feature, they won’t know the value, and they won’t give you a deal. Storytelling is a great way to capture attention, to regain attention if it is lost during another portion of the presentation and voice modulation is really effective.
3. What is your Top tip for sensing when a child is not understanding?
Ms Clark: Kids check out pretty fast if they’re not understanding. If you cannot keep their attention, say with the above strategies, they probably are a: not understanding, or b: it’s not a good time-tired, hungry, fomo on something fun their friends or sibs are doing. Not understanding can sometimes be solved by making sure you’re not overloading. Rule of thumb when showing something: if your hands are moving, your mouth should not be. Let them focus on one thing at a time.
Demo Solution: Communicate with your audience when they are ready and communicate with what they want. Unlike children who check out when hungry, just kidding we all do that, but your audience has a million reason to check out of your demo. Schedule your demo in the morning and be sure you are not stuffing your demo. Keep your demo to the features that they want and they need. No cool tricks, just solutions that they understand.
4. What is your Top tip for introducing a new subject
Ms Clark: Introducing a new topic: Use the same technique for as many topics as possible. Very often we don’t realize that the way we do something has to be learned, too. If you change that up every time, it’s added confusion. Montessori always tries for a multi-sensory approach as young children are very rooted in their senses. Find something they can put their hands on and it becomes more interesting.
Demo Solutions: Use the same techniques for teaching a new feature each time you are giving it. Do not assume that just because you know your way around your software that your client does. Teach them for the first time. If you can get a member of the audience to participate, even better. Get all of their senses involved, move with them, become in tune with what the group is feeling.
5. What is your Top tip for shifting focus from one subject to another
Ms Clark: Delineate an end point. “When you finish coloring that flower, we’re going to put the crayons and paper away. Then we’ll move on to ______” For some children, a visual or auditory signal helps while taking the adult out of the equation: “When the timer goes off it’s time to _________” No real concept of time, but the sounds works.
Demo Solutions: Create boundaries in your demos. Sounds easy, but so many of our clients shift from one portion to another without boundaries. We need boundaries to communicate thoughts clearly. You can have a slide to remind yourself that you are not exiting this feature and moving on to another.
6. How do you Communicate displeasure?
Ms Clark: I can communicate a lot with a furrowed brow and a shake of the head (again, teacher status) It’s a little tricky for me to answer because we try not to get children focused on how we (adults) feel about the undesirable behavior, rather how it affects them, their physical environment, and their friends. “You were running and you dropped the glass, which broke, and now no one can use this part of the room until it is safe again. What could you do differently next time?”
Demo Solutions: During your discovery you found reasons why your audience and client needs your product. How do you communicate in a productive way that your product is the answer? Like Ms Juliet says, you remind them of how these elements of their job are made easier and their managers, and all parties involved benefit from this product. Not pointing out something is not working.
7. How do you Communicate praise?
Ms Clark: I like to communicate praise by encouraging a child to recognize the positive feelings that they feel. “You worked really hard on that math work and now you’re finished. It felt hard for a while, but you did it.” Be specific and make it meaningful. People fling “good jobs” around like crazy and it’s largely a throw away from a harried adult. Again, we focus on the child so they can have the experience and want to reproduce it.
Demo Solutions: Using an audience member here can be really effective. Acknowledge the feelings of your audience frequently. Be specific and meaningful. You can do this with a story, you can do this with a feature. Get down to the specific feeling for an audience to create the optimum impact and environment for cooperation.
We hope that these helped you as much as they helped us! There is no job on earth more difficult that communicating with children, we have them at Demo Solutions and are grateful for Ms Clark’s really thoughtful and insightful responses!
If you would like to add some input, please feel free to comment!