Tell vs. Teach

Intent. Message. Outcome.

Transferring knowledge or ideas can be done in two different ways. Each with a very different result.

Last week, I found myself in a meeting with a cross-functional group of experts, each with deep skills in their particular field.

One told us what to do.

One taught us what to do.

“Told” needed to be the smartest person in the room. To showcase his knowledge. He behaved in a way that exposed our deficiency. Left us feeling lacking and defensive.

“Taught” sought to raise our level of competence rather than demonstrate his. He met us where we were, and advised and explained. Left us feeling enlightened and desiring more of his tutoring.

The difference between ‘telling’ and ‘teaching’ has everything to do with intent, message and outcome.

  • Intent = What is the person with knowledge seeking to do? Elevate themselves or elevate others?
  • Message = Is the person with knowledge speaking in terms they understand…or in terms the receiver understands?
  • Outcome = Did the person with knowledge scale that knowledge by distributing it? Do the recipients crave more time with the person or do they figure out how to work around him?

Find the teachers. (They’ll help you raise your game and celebrate when you do)

Be a teacher. (Root your being in a state of abundance…there’s enough to go around. Seek to lift others)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...