One of the things I loved about graduate school was the opportunity to apply what I was learning to real-world situations. There’s no better way to learn how to make a marketing plan than to do a real one for a real business.
These days, I try to pass that feeling of authenticity on to my clients and students by making my seminars and classes as realistic and current as possible. For example, in my recent Introduction to Human Resources seminar, I had attendees study and analyze a real, current job post from a Fortune 500 company.
Sure it was tempting to create a simplistic, fictional job posting in order to carefully guide the attendees to the conclusions I was hoping for. Despite the added difficulty of using real examples, however, attendees embraced the challenge and seemed to appreciate the authenticity of the exercise. Early feedback supports this.
Of course, we don’t always have the option to use real materials in our presentations. Sometimes, for various reasons (usually difficulty level), our audience isn’t ready for prime time. However, when the opportunity presents itself, do what you can to make your presentations real.