One of my first clients as a business English instructor used to be a constant source of anxiety. Although they seemed to enjoy their class and were fun to teach, they didn’t seem to take it very seriously. Their attendance was sporadic and their homework performance was no different. Upon hearing that I would have to have a meeting with the company president (and that he would sample my class), I feared my teaching days were going to come to an abrupt end. With the students behaving as they were, naturally, their English was not improving very quickly. I was positive the president wouldn’t be satisfied with their progress (and therefore my performance).
After our meeting and the lesson, the president said that he had a great time and encouraged me to continue teaching just as I had been doing. When I expressed my concerns about the students’ progress, he calmly said, “My goal was never to ensure that their English improved through these lessons. I simply wanted to expose them to an enjoyable class so that they would be motivated to pursue additional study on their own.”
This experience was a wake-up call: Learn exactly what your audience (customers) want and make sure to deliver it to them. You might be surprised at what they really want out of your lesson or presentation. Knowing your audience will not only give you direction as a teacher or presenter, but it will also ensure that your customers are satisfied.
Do you have any similar, eye-opening experiences? If so, please share your story in the comments section below.