Small steps that matter
The first time I delivered a full educational day was to dental nurses on the basic principals of dental implant restoration, probably about five years ago now. It took soooo long to plan the sessions, plan some interactive components and to write the lecture slides. The day itself went ok but I remember the feeling of complete and utter exhaustion by the end of it.
It would have been easy to stop there. To rest on my laurels and go home and sleep, but I would have only learned a small amount myself on that day.
By taking twenty minutes at the end of the session to note down want went well, what could have gone better, how I would improve it next time and how I can improve myself as a result, I was able to develop the lecture so the next time I delivered the same session, it was a little bit better. The next time I spoke in public, I was a little bit better.
Time and time again I come back to the importance of taking the time to reflect on the significant events in our lives, whether good or bad.
The quote, tentatively attributed to John Dewey, says that “we learn not from experience, but by reflecting on experience”.
It is not the experience itself that we learn from, but in taking the time to understand what happened during the experience, we can truly grow.
If we can commit ourselves to regularly reflect on the highs and the lows we encounter as we meander through life, we can gain much more from each day. This could be through keeping a personal diary or a professional reflection log. You can download the template I use for such reflections here.
There is still an infinite amount for me to learn about public speaking just as there is in dentistry, parenthood and everything else I do. By taking a moment to reflect each day, I hope to improve just a little bit each time.