The Difference Between Speaking, Teaching, and Training

Speaking is not teaching. Teaching is not training. But all three are opportunities to help your audience learn. What will make you brilliant in creating products and programs is understanding the differences and benefits of those opportunities. What will make you profitable is knowing which one of those delivery methods is your strength and how to use them to help your VIPs and clients.

I remember the first time I thought about becoming a speaker. I was a site manager with Americorps and we were at a team building retreat. I don’t remember the speaker or the group he was with, but I do remember hearing the word self-efficacy for the first time. That one word inspired three new programs I would lead at Gillespie Middle school with my team. The speaker left me inspired and fired up. I remember feeling like I was ready to change the world. I wanted to ignite people like that. That’s what speaking is all about: sharing ideas, experiences, and stories that ignite people to take action or see things in a new way.

Having good speaking skills, doesn’t make you a good teacher

A colleague of mine is a great speaker. Early in his career someone told him that since he likes to talk and is really good at talking, he should be a teacher. The person took that advice and invested time in pursuing teaching credentials only to find out that he didn’t like teaching at all. While he did enjoy talking, he didn’t like being responsible for whether people learned something. True teaching is objective-focused and has some form of evaluation, whether it is formal or informal. A good teacher makes sure there is something in place to assess whether or not learners understand and know the material. Brilliant teachers have a deep understanding of their learners, solid practical experience and a growing knowledge of their topic.

You may be able to do research and put together a presentation on skydiving, but you can’t teach someone about skydiving unless you’ve practiced it yourself. Even if you’ve done it once – that doesn’t mean you know enough to teach it to someone else. You may be able to tell them what you’ve done, but you don’t have enough practical experience to teach them. Teaching is not just telling people what to do, it’s showing them how, explaining why and ensuring that they have the correct knowledge to adapt if needed. This is why so many people are frustrated when they buy a product or attend a “workshop” but only walk away with information – most of which they could have dug up on their own with a little research online.