attentive dog

What could you learn from a dog trainer?

This came about from the last couple of Sundays, as I have had to substitute for my wife in the dog training classes our youngest dog is going to.

You need to keep audience attention

In dog training, we do this by using treats to aid the dog’s focus; in wider life, don’t be the same as everyone else. If everyone’s doing Death by Powerpoint, and reading notes – talk without notes; look at how you’re presenting your data. If you can’t give a fast pitch… work until you can.

Consistency of Communication

In dog training, we always heel the dog at the left. Make sure your messages tell the same story; carry the branding. If they don’t, your audience is left wondering if you know your own story.

Clarity of Communication

While your audience might not appreciate one word commands “SIT!” “STAY!“, they want the message to be easy.

  • Why are they here?
  • What’s the story?
  • What do you want from them?
  • What’s the call to action?

Speak with Authority

Dogs need a firm tone. Humans need to know that you’re worth their attention; if you’re in front of them – know they want to hear what you have to tell them; know that you know best of all what you want to tell them. So, tell them, with authority; like you mean it, and you care.

Image Credit: msmail

2 thoughts on “Communication messages – from dog training to humans?

  1. Actually. You can learn a lot about dealing with humans from dealing with animals. We are, after all, only animals with some (slightly) more sophisticated software overlaid and when push comes to shove (actually, quite literally – when push comes to shove) animal behaviour will rule

    For instance, don’t ever (literally or figuratively) push someone into a corner without giving them a way out. The only options you’re leaving them is fight or flight. If you give them a way of getting out of a situation gracefully, you will usually find they take it gratefully


    I had a faciltation colleague who spent many thousands of pounds on an NLP course which taught her about the use of tone of voice in dealing with workshop participants. She roped me in at the end to act as an audience (and to gain some of the benefits of her experience) and I wished I’d brought the dog. I use about six different tones f voice with him and I could say “sausages and baked beans” in all of them and get the required response.

    On a workshop that lasts more than a day, it’s quite easy to get your participants “keyed in” to a certain tone of voice initiating or concluding certain activities

    Fascintating stuff, thanks Steve

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