Once I traveled to a nearby town with a fellow instructor in an attempt to recruit some high school students from that school in that town. He and I taught different disciplines, but we were recruiting for our entire division. He was a passionate, vociferous gentleman of great dignity and really enjoyed presenting before groups of students.
Every group of students has a different personality, as peculiar as that might sound to those who don’t teach. And one group of boys looked like they were so totally disinterested in everything. Their eyes were on their desks, or looking around at others, and their faces were masks of utter boredom. I stepped forward and put my hand on my colleague’s shoulder to pause his presentation.
He is a well-muscled, broad-shouldered man with big hands who shaves his head and dresses like a CEO when he’s not teaching his technical trade. He paused with a pained expression on his face – not so much because I asked him to give me a moment as he was that they weren’t hearing anything he had to say about his program or technical education. He stepped back with his big, callused hands clasped in front of him while I addressed the group.
“How many of you boys know about that ‘tough man’ contest the comes around every so often where guys sign up for a ten-thousand-dollar prize if they can beat every other guy in the contest one-on-one?” All their hands shot up. I pointed at my fellow instructor. “He entered that contest and won that ten thousand dollars.” I stepped back and motioned for my fellow instructor to continue.
From that point on, their eyes were on him. That one tidbit totally changed their perspective and from what we could tell, they heard every single word he said for the rest of his presentation.