Have you ever been to a seminar or to a demo, and afterwards you are thinking, “Man, that looks easy… I can do that.” Then you get back to your office and when you go to use that tool and you are TOTALLY lost… OR you try to navigate all the steps and you miss one: so it doesn’t work?

Has that ever happened to you (or your students)?

What happens next?? You go back to the old way of doing whatever it was you were doing.

This happens with all types of training: computer, sales, gardening, dog obedience, painting, carpentry or cooking instruction: UNLESS the student walks away with a summary or how-to instructions.


If you are assembling a summary or instructions (i.e. cheat sheet) , think of yourself as a CHEF writing a recipe.

Assemble your mise en place including any equipment.

Then, carefully record the directions: step by step.  (An easy outline of you’ve covered the detail in your session will suffice.) BUT remember: if your audience executes the steps in the wrong order, it could be disastrous (like frosting a cake before putting it in the oven).


I know it is straightforward for you, you’ve done it a million times: You are the expert.

But one of the best things you can do is to have someone else try out your ‘recipe’: Are you missing a step? An ingredient? Any equipment? Your friend will find any oversights, before you do.


Following these steps will also help you get your ‘ducks in a row’ for teaching/training and any demonstrations that you will give. Did you ever notice that folks that are so good at demoing, have such a nice way of navigating… the chefs on HGTV really nail this because they have a foolproof  ‘recipe’.

Prepare like a chef writing a recipe:

  1. Assemble and record the ‘ingredients’ and equipment,
  2. Write step-by-step instructions,
  3. Test it out.
  4. (Improve over time based on feedback… but that goes without saying.)

Assembling a cheat sheet will make it much easy for your students to be productive back on the job. (Isn’t that your objective?) However, it will also help ensure that when teaching there will be smooth seas ahead: unless of course you are team teaching in which case you’ll need to know how to prepare (to team teach)  like a pirate!

Until next time…


Flickr Creative Commons Image by Mooste