Adult Education

Origin Stories Needed

How did you get started in the gear trade? We are interested in sharing your “origin story” as a way of helping human resource departments learn to look outside the traditional pathways for upcoming talent. Submit your 300 to 500 word account. Do not worry about how “rough” it is; that is why we have such great editors. Send via e-mail to

Adult Education

I spent an interesting week out in “the field” teaching about gears, bearings, and gearboxes. If you think you really understand a topic, try teaching it to a room full of strangers! There are few things I enjoy more than talking about gears though, so here are a few observations and lessons learned:

1. No one likes to sit still for more than 45 or 50 minutes; frequent breaks help everyone stay focused.

2. Nothing is more embarrassing than a PowerPoint slide with a dumb typo in it.

3. Fortunately, a PowerPoint slide only holds anyone’s attention for about 2 minutes. Still, have someone who was not involved with making the slides proofread them.

4. A slide show gets “old” fast without handouts or some hands-on exhibits to pass around.

5. Questions from the class enrich the program; it also indicates you did not put all of them to sleep yet.

6. Not all audiences are created equal; tune your presentation to meet the interests of your specific group.

7. Sometimes a student can add a unique point-of-view to the class.

8. Do not get upset if question-and-answer time steers the program “off course.” Enjoy the interaction and take it as evidence that the students were listening to you.

As a veteran of four AGMA Fall Technical Meeting presentations, numerous sales pitches, and more in-house training classes than I care to remember, I still learn something every time I get behind the podium. Engineers are notoriously wary of public speaking, yet complain when their careers stall out. To paraphrase that old Sunday School standard, “Don’t hide your light under a slide show.” Let your passion for your work shine through in your words, your graphics, and your voice. You might be surprised at the response.

About Charles D. Schultz 678 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.