I keep this quote on my office wall.
"When learning about life and people, make no more assumptions than are absolutely necessary. Ask and observe." William of Ockham, 1324
Over the years it reminded me time and time again, that no matter how prepared I can be to teach a specific topic, the most important component of that training is unknown until the class begins: the audience.
It's too easy to forget this when trainers and facilitators have been teaching a topic for a long time or leaders have become expert in their presentation material. Once we forget this simple rule, the lecture begins. Or, we roll out the same tired questions, expecting the same answers and we are fully prepared to respond to them, even before the question is complete. It is the stuff of deteriorating results in the classroom, and it can be deadly for our most seasoned trainers (myself included).
So, here are three tactics for keeping it fresh and different every time, based on who's in the room.