Secret life of a trainer

Jayne Dalmer | November 6, 2017

One of the more surprising things I’ve learnt in the past year was about goldfish. I’ve also learnt about epigenetics, Jamaican slang, and Tagalog wisdom.

I’ve talked to New Zealanders and New Zealand imports — from France, China, Canada, the United States, India, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Greece, and Russia.

I’ve shared cheese, chocolate biscuits, and trivia with doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, writers, educators, analysts, and administrators.

I’ve traded tips on errors in reasoning for tips on Asian seasoning. Swapped fast facts on grammar with a computer programmer, and helped tighten structure for writers about to rupture.

It’s not all chocolate and chit chat

Of course, being a training consultant at Write is not all about chocolate.

We’re trusted advisors at hundreds of organisations throughout New Zealand. We give and receive insight into how people adapt, collaborate, and communicate on behalf of their organisations. Without doubt, the people we work with are thoughtful, empathetic, and keen to get to the heart of communicating clearly and confidently.

At workshops, we get to share practical advice on how to understand your reader and work out the primary question that your writing answers. We show how to clarify and structure your thoughts for different readers in different situations. And, of course, we reveal all the moves to make the language elements of your writing shimmy and strut. Our consultants also offer the latest on document user-testing, accessibility, and design.

Behind the scenes, before a customised course, we’ve also analysed your current writing style. And we’ve talked to leaders and others in your organisation to understand how we can best help. Our collective goal is to help your organisation save time and money, and build the right reputation.

Image, woman holding finger to lips.

Shhh… secrets ahoy. Image by catherine / CC BY 2.0

Click here for secrets…

If you clicked on the title hoping for juicy gossip about being a trainer, here it is (sort of) — yes I get nervous sometimes, yes I’m exhausted after a workshop, and yes I hope I don’t have loo paper stuck to my shoes or spinach between my teeth. Baggy sleeves, shorter skirts, and too-high heels are a no no — and always check your outfit from behind. Sometimes, while you’re hard at work defining the purpose of your document, I’m hard at work in the bathroom sponging off ill-defined food stains from an overly enthusiastic lunch.

I check out hairdos and fashion for inspiration. I carry out light surveillance (thank you Google) before an open workshop to see if I can find out anything intriguing about who’s coming along. I love it when I have multi-lingual and multi-cultural people in the room because we all get such a richer experience — last week we had a discussion about the Swedish gender neutral pronoun.

I’ve learnt that the person staring at you intently with a very serious expression isn’t necessarily thinking terrible thoughts — they’re often the one to come up to you after with compliments and thoughtful questions.

The amateur psychologist in me loves seeing how individuals in groups come together. I love the jokes, the jibes, and the geniality. One of my favourite teams did the morning newspaper quiz as if they were back at the office. New Zealand public servants at their finest — 10 out of 10.

Image, goldfish.

Have fins – can focus. Image by Benson Kua / CC BY SA

What about the goldfish?

It turns out goldfish don’t have short attention spans after all. While we glibly throw around insults about their inability to concentrate, they are in fact very focused fish. Thank you to the animal behaviourist who spoke up in their defence. Look it up!


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Goldfish learning and memory — are you smarter than a goldfish?

Insights, tips, and professional development opportunities.