Why are they nodding off?

Last week, I was part of an industry meeting where the topic was continuing education. As usual, there was general agreement that continuing education is a positive thing, it makes us more professional and so forth. What was interesting to me was when the conversation turned to the question of, “what about those guys who sleep in continuing education classes?” The consensus seemed to be, “Wake them up! They can’t sleep during a seminar and get credit for the class.” 

That may be true, but I look at it differently. To begin with, being awake is not a reliable indication of attention or engagement. But, beyond that, I think it’s our job, and especially my job if I’m the presenter, to make the material and the seminar compelling enough that no one wants to sleep. If the class is nodding off, maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe the class is simply boring to the point that taking a little nap is a better deal. 

As presenters, we need to strive to make continuing education classes not as something to be endured, but something interesting and worthwhile to you and your business. For example, the day after the meeting above, I attended a seminar presented by Jim Hartmann, Franklin Electric’s Regional Manager for Technical Service. For the entire seminar, every one of the 28 contractors in attendance was engaged and wide awake and learning something. Jim is not alone here, inside or outside of Franklin Electric. But, I’ve also sat in on too many classes that were mind-numbingly dull.

Having said the above, I’m not totally naive. There will always be some class members that no matter what, there’s not going to be much of a transfer of information. But, this is nothing new, no matter what the forum or the industry.

In any case, that doesn’t excuse us as presenters and as the holders of seminars and classes of any kind. We need to focus on making all of our classes better. If we do that, we’ll never have to worry about disturbing someone from a good nap.

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