Knowing your audience is important.
While I was in intelligence training I received a brief regarding the capture of Saddam Hussein. I know the instructor was putting out incorrect information at times, if not embellishing, when telling us how the intel was developed.
How did I know this? Well, I was sitting next to one of the two interrogators who procured the intelligence that found Saddam Hussein and I knew the factual account quite well.
Don’t assume everyone is a novice to your information just because you’re giving a class on it.
On the flip side, it can be difficult to judge what information they already have and what you need to fill them in on, especially when delivering a course with complex information.
Whether you have a class size of 5 or 500, ensuring everyone is on the same page can be quite difficult. When a student has a question, chances are that student is not the only student with that question.
Quite possibly, every other student is thinking the same thing. So are you effectively answering what they want to know? How do you know?
If you aren’t using the RCAC method, you may be losing your students. The RCAC method eliminates the possibility of continued confusion when answering a question by taking steps to ensure clarity on every level.
Let’s say you get a question directly relating to the subject matter you are delivering:
“What do you mean by SaaS?”
Repeat: “The questions was: What do I mean when I say SaaS?”
– You can repeat the question verbatim, but paraphrasing is also acceptable.
– This ensures you understand the question and the rest of the students hear it.
Confirm: “Was that your question?”
– This gives the student a chance to correct you or add any important points to the question.
Answer: “SaaS stands for ‘Software as a Service’. In a nutshell it means that you can access software with any internet connection. The company’s cloud is an example of SaaS.”
Confirm: “Does that answer your question?”
– This gives the student a chance to either say “no” and ask the same question differently or ask a follow-on question.
– Other students may be encouraged to ask questions regarding the same point.
– If the answer is “yes” and no other students have questions, you can be confident that clarity has been reached and can move on.
It’s amazing how often the answer to either confirmation request is “No”. What happens when you don’t ask??? Chaos.
You took for granted that your audience knew what SaaS was, then made an assumption about what they were asking with the first few words of their question.
You would make them feel stupid for raising their hand and asking the same question twice. So, use the RCAC method to ensure chaos does not prevail!
Repeat, Confirm, Answer, Confirm!