Louis Mangione

Innovations in Education, Inc.

Training Faux Pas: “The Bad Scout”

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Being the “Bad Scout” (being ill-prepared)

Not Knowing Your Audience – If you were to tell any soldier, any coach, any interviewer that you were planning on going in blind without enough knowledge regarding those you will encounter, they would tell you this can be a recipe for failure. We cannot trust that the information will sell itself to all in attendance.

Advertisers not only know their audience, they target a certain kind of audience, hoping to convince the viewer, not only of the benefits of the product, but that one cannot live without it. In many ways, the role of the teacher is similar, especially when the product being advertised is actually one the audience absolutely cannot live without, such as Safety. The same is true when the audience cannot immediately see how the information relates to their job, such as exercises in attention to detail.
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Top Ten Training Faux Pas

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In this section, I have listed ten teaching/training faux pas described by classroom instructors, corporate trainers and participants alike. I began by creating my own list and then sought out further specifics, enhancement and validation from friends, colleagues and other professionals. I especially appreciate the expertise from the Learning, Education and Training Professionals Group on Linked-in.

Each month, I will take one item from this list and write more in-depth regarding each one.

Below, in order of frequency, are listed the most common teaching/training/presenting faux pas brought to light from my discussions.


1) Being the “Bad Scout” (being ill-prepared)

Not knowing your audience

Not knowing your content

Not knowing the desired learning outcomes

Not appearing professional

Not being culturally aware/competent

2) Being the “Keeper of the Secret”

Perceiving your content and your contribution to be more important than their learning

Strictly following the agenda/lesson rather than being flexible to the learning needs of the group

Failing to capitalize on the expertise and skills that already exist in the room

Failing to debrief for clarity and assess understanding along the way


3) Being the “Sage on the Stage”

Espousing theory rather than inviting inquiry

Dictating procedure rather than challenging thinking

Promoting passive “osmosis” rather than active engagement

Presenting oneself as infallible rather than as a colleague or kindred spirit

4) Being the “Magician”

Focusing on the spectacle rather than the learning goals

Leaving participants with a sense of “AWE” rather than a sense of  “AH HA!”

Showing the audience the “Tricks”, but not teaching them how to use them


5) Being the “One-Hit Wonder”

Providing good information without any means to measure its effectiveness

Putting more importance on a memorable training rather than a practical, applicable one

Being more concerned about how they liked you than how they perceived a change in themselves

6) Being the “Know-It-All”

Dismissing participant questions as not valid

Talking through your hat when encountering questions for which you do not have an answer

Answering a question by reading from a slide


7) Being the “Bully”

Using sarcasm toward ideas, policies, and most destructively, participants

Criticizing answers or contributions from group

Using humor that belittles, mocks or denigrates

Feeling personally affronted or acting defensive to any attitudes that participants bring in with them

8) Being the “Slide Show Sensation”

Having the slide presentation BE the presentation

Reading directly from the slides without any demonstration of the information

Showing multiple slides filled with multiple, unanswered questions


9) Being the “Co-Dependent”

Allowing any one person or small group to derail the session

Allowing an escalating venting-session rather than inviting creative and constructive solutions

Allowing a select few to continuously speak out without creating opportunities for all to contribute ideas


10) Being the “Martyr”

Displaying an attitude of  “Don’t blame me. They’re making me do this.”

Believing that your information is not that important

Trying to make the presentation bearable instead of striving to make it valuable and engaging