I know it is sounds easy when someone to gives you advice about changing directions or choosing a different way or path. But the task of giving advice often comes back and bites you. It is not as easy to give 'good, solid, and valid', advice as you may think.
Many professionals who respond when friends or close acquaintances as questions quite often respond with a question. A tried, and often true, method to get the person to get to the main point they are asking about. Generally we want to ask around the bush. Or we want to work up to the thing we really want the answer to.
But on a rare occasion a question is asked that is heart felt, well thought out, and at the perfect time in the life of the person asking, to receive a 'well thought out' answer. How do you tell the difference? Patience, lots of listening, and having a gift, the perfect gift. I call it a calling, a blessing, a pure but not simple..."listening gift".
When teaching a workshop or an interactive lecture listening is an important key. You have all your information ready. You know your subject, understand the industry, have worked the circuit, and there is a demand for what you do. So how do you use all these things in a listening mode?
You use all your senses. Your ears, your eyes, you watch the interactions of your target group and participants at all the meetings in your industry. You ask pertinent questions. You read all the local papers, blogs, and as many of the websites of the individuals as reasonable, not as possible. Then you relax and mingle with the groups from time to time.
That way you remain up to date and current in that field. When the question comes, a little push back is good, asking a question with a questions gives you more information to base your 'listening' response to.
When you respond in a group setting, everyone gets it before the person asking the question, especially if the question is a yeah-but question. Yeah-But usually means it is not the actual question. When you respond to a "I have two questions", the first is a teaser and the second, if asked after a long breath, is quite often a cop-out. The real question is the third one.
The third questions is usually after the water is tested and the person feels comfortable or uncomfortable enough to 'say/ask-it. If no one squirms, or giggles or looks exasperated the questions pops out into the open. Whew...I think...a true question.
So how to I actually answer questions from the group? I do not. I answer questions from a person. If I answer for the group, the answer is to broad. How do I communicate the message of the purpose of the talk? I start off talking a lot, decreasing my input and increasing the input of the participants by degrees until my summation. We learn more in an interactive setting of our peers than from a solo 'performance', unless of course we don't.
The path you are on is the right one, watch out for pot holes, bumps, and stop signs, they are all part and the purpose of the ride. They stretch you. They are as necessary as the smooth road and the green go lights. Listen to the repeated messages in your surroundings, not just the people but the room setup, traffic flow, and ambience of the places you are in. And finally respond to that which supports you, your beliefs, your dreams, and needs. Notice I did not say wants. Wants change more than all the rest. Especially in our inundated technology driven environment.
If you have what you need, you can for-fill your dreams. If you recognize that which supports you, your beliefs will be challenged and you will not feel threatened. If you ask for what you want, not what you are programmed to ask for, but what you really want in this day and time, you will find you are realizing your goals. Listen to the voice inside more than the voices outside.