Cold Calling

Yesterday, I spoke about speaking up at meetings to make them more productive… and to move your career forward.

In a related note, here is a shout out to my students.

The semester is off to such a good start.

Let me explain.

Now, throughout my teaching career, I’ve never been a fan of cold calling… of calling on a student, who, without warning, is expected to answer my questions.

But I will repeat what I wrote about yesterday: if you are in a classroom or at a meeting, you should be prepared to talk, to answer questions, or at least advance the discussion. That’s the answer to WISH, Why’m I Sitting Here, after all.

It’s only cold calling if you’re not prepared.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve become used to students not offering up answers. Of sitting quietly. I’m getting better at playing that waiting game but at some point it’s just not productive to have a class room, a meeting room (and, lately, Zoom room) full of nobody saying anything. This is your career, your education, folks, and the meter’s running!

Are you not prepared? Hesitant to go first? Afraid of being wrong?

So I decided to bring cold calling back into my classroom. I let the students know. I told them the topics to be discussed. I gave examples of how they might respond to the questions I planned on asking.

But I was worried about more silence.

I came in with my secret, randomly generated list of students’ names.

I called the first name on the list.

And she grinned, from ear to ear.

She was ready.

And she answered my question.

And if she’s reading this, I hope she knows I’m proud of her.

Not everyone else was prepared, but most of the people I called on were.

Maybe cold calling isn’t so bad.

Life can be like that sometimes.

And definitely, being prepared and speaking up is a great way to move forward.

What do you think?

See you tomorrow!