L&D lessons from Laura Linney

“…You’ve done so much work, you are so well prepared that no matter what you do is going to be within the bounds of what that person should be”

This is a quote from Laura Linney in her interview for ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ (check your local listings!) talking about the craft of acting, getting in to character to understand their motivation, their fears, their dreams – essentially how you ‘become’ them.

Linney getting excited about her craft

Although it is within the context of the dramatic arts, I think the same applies to L&D professionals, especially within the context of delivering learning interventions – whether online or face to face.

In order to be really effective when delivering learning, to be able to show spontaneity and be credible, we need to be engaged in our topics in such a way that even in instances when we go off course we are still delivering on the learning so our audience/groups/peers in the learning experience. It gives us an authenticity that cannot be beat – we need to ‘become’ the learning so to speak!

Coming back to Linney’s thoughts what she thought as critical was being thoroughly prepared and familiar with your content, audience and materials. She comes out with another killer quote on this topic, saying:

“It is like dropping a blob of pain on a canvas and then moving the brush across it – if you have done all of the prep leading up to it, it will land where it is supposed to land’

In some ways there is an element of ‘what will be, will be’ to this statement – however, without that preparation and engagement in the craft of delivering the learning we become a hostage to fortune. Something that we as individuals, along with our stakeholders and organisations cannot afford.

So next time you are thinking about your delivery – whether in person, digitally, whatever – identify how you can ‘become’ the learning you are delivering. How can you can you be as prepared and engaged in your craft to deliver an exceptional and authenti learning experience? How can you make sure the pain lands well, wherever this is?

In short: how can you live like Linney?


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