Monday, November 10, 2008

Five Lessons Barak Obama Can Teach You

Five Lessons from Barack Obama

Here are five lessons English as a foreign language teachers can learn from American President-elect Barack Obama. This was adapted from “Six Marketing Lessons From Barack Obama” by Steve Harrison which originally appeared as part one of a two-part series in his Book Marketing Update print newsletter .

1. Get feedback from your learners – and USE it

Obama sent several dozen drafts of his second book "The Audacity of Hope" to friends, media, legislators and followed up with them and asked them for feedback.

More importantly, he listened to what they had to say, and made changes based on their feedback. Be a good listener, and adapt to the feedback you receive like President-elect Barack Obama does.

2. Be determined and Pleasantly Persistent

In 20 years of helping authors sell more books, marketer Steve Harrison discovered that 95% of all authors give up way too quickly and easily. They're not determined and persistent.

Back in 1995, Barack Obama was relatively unknown and trying to get whatever publicity he could. So even though he wanted to meet the N'Digo book reviewer, he ultimately failed to persuade her to review his book. But here's the key. He didn't give up. He persisted.

"He would call me every week and say, 'Did you read my book?'" the publisher told the New York Times.

Successful people like Barack Obama are not considered pests because they're always friendly, always patiently staying in touch and continually dispersing some new information or slant worth considering.

Let me ask you, do you have that kind of persistence?

3. Don't let any perceived lack of qualifications stop you.

Many teachers and other professionals are held back by a belief they're not
"qualified" simply because they're not the world's leading authority in their field.
You need to be competent at what you do, of course, but the fact is you don't need to be the MOST accomplished, MOST knowledgeable, MOST credentialed “expert” in your
field to be successful.

You do however, need to be very good at presenting yourself and your ideas. Rightly or wrongly, presentation and rapport are often more important than “qualifications”.

Obama hasn't let any apparent lack of qualifications stand in the way of making himself a wealthy, best-selling author (3 million copies in print to date) and finally being elected to the highest political office in the land. You shouldn't let any hole or flaw in your resume stop you from getting where you want to go either.

4. Work at becoming a Master at Developing Rapport with your EFL Learners

Your EFL learners don't care nearly as much about your credibility as they do about your rapport with them and how you can help them. Are you telling your own personal story about why you do what you do in a way that connects with your learners? Are you telling stories which agitate EFL learner's motivations and shows them how much they need the English language communicative skills which you help to provide for them? Do you work at creating a dynamic, communicative lesson that connects with your learners emotions?

5. Your Success is Up to YOU

Resist the temptation to dismiss other successful teachers and professionals as simply being "great teaqchers or speakers" or think that they are successful simply because they may be "well-educated." Instead, watch them and learn if you're really serious about
making a difference.

Barack Obama knows and practices these things as they relate to his field ... do you?

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