Never Avoid a Classroom

student teacher

Education is lifelong, and it matters to your existence. As you leave the formal setting of school, however, be sure to pay attention to the opportunities to dip into a classroom when you get the chance. It turns out that classrooms are all around us.

Criticism Can Be School

In launching 501 Mission Place, we knew a few things. Estrella Rosenberg runs more than a few nonprofits and spends her time with others. John Haydon is deep in the space. Rob Hatch, my second in command at HBW, came straight out of a nonprofit. And yet, we had some things to learn in understanding how our project would be received. It was very wonderful to receive several comments and pieces of feedback to help better educate our efforts in delivering the project successfully to the nonprofits we want to help. By taking the constructive criticisms we received as education, we think everyone will benefit.

Books Can Be a Classroom

I read one or two books a week. Some of them turn into instant classrooms for me, only I can’t always get my questions answered. Luckily, more and more authors are finding their way into the world of social media, so quite often, I can find their Twitter handle or their website and get my raised hand some attention. (Want resources for helping authors use social media?) Books, then, can become a classroom.

Other Companies are a Classroom

I spent six days in Disney World in Orlando with my family on vacation, and though it was meant to be a vacation, it was a steady drip education in the world’s best customer service and the world’s most immersive marketing. Everything inside that park and its related systems is deliberate. Everything they do has more than one purpose. And if you want to learn from someone very successful in working to satisfy its guests’ dreams, you could do no better than Disney. Learning from other companies strengthens your own business or organization quite significantly. Never pass up the opportunity to drop into a classroom like this.

School Desks are All Around You

It’s up to you to find your education. Even if you’re still in college, you know the difference between being there and learning. As we grow older, the opportunities change, but they are there in high volume, if you tune yourself to pay attention. And teachers? If you want to learn a super powerful human relationship magic trick, know this: when you ask people to share their wisdom and you quite seriously listen and absorb their lessons with respect and appreciation, you’ve given that person a gift beyond what you could ever imagine. People love to feel useful and wanted and wise. Give someone the opportunity to share what they know and you’ll see a smile the depth of which you cannot possibly imagine.

So, where are you learning these days? Who are your teachers? What’s the lesson?

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  • http://tylergolden.net/ Tyler Golden

    I’ve gotten away from reading like I used to, and can tell the difference. It’s much harder to come up with new ideas if you don’t feed your brain regularly. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Bill Waters

    Classrooms are going social now. We haven’t even launched our new product for higher education yet, but we’re signing up some high rollers in the University and College market in Canada, China, India, Mexico and Brazil to name a few. They are all keen on figuring out how to destroy the walls and deliver their content online with the same interactive experiences and benefits that a classroom delivers. You’re right….classrooms are everywhere, and teachers and administrators are starting to see the value that social learning can deliver. It’s a very exciting time for education!

  • Bill Waters

    Classrooms are going social now. We haven’t even launched our new product for higher education yet, but we’re signing up some high rollers in the University and College market in Canada, China, India, Mexico and Brazil to name a few. They are all keen on figuring out how to destroy the walls and deliver their content online with the same interactive experiences and benefits that a classroom delivers. You’re right….classrooms are everywhere, and teachers and administrators are starting to see the value that social learning can deliver. It’s a very exciting time for education!

  • Les Adkins

    Always believe in life long learning. Currently attending a TED event here in Atlanta. Headed down under, Australia, to facilitate some training. I always learn something new from the participants. Thanks Chris.

  • Les Adkins

    Always believe in life long learning. Currently attending a TED event here in Atlanta. Headed down under, Australia, to facilitate some training. I always learn something new from the participants. Thanks Chris.

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/ TrafficColeman

    When you see the opportunity to pick up an book and learn..just do it..reading is the key to success if you aks me..I read something everyday..

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • http://matthewm.org Matt Medeiros

    Let’s face it, if people like us didn’t take EVERY opportunity we had to learn something new, we wouldn’t be who we are.

    Being in client services, I absolutely love learning about my clients business. I recently took on a travel agency that specialize in touring the Azores. It’s an amazing business and opportunity that I never really knew existed.

    Keep on learning or your competition will!

  • http://twitter.com/mkpowers09 Melanie Powers

    If you’re a writer, you need to read, period. I believe in this so much. How else can you see how others use the written word and construct stories? And, it helps you with story ideas. I read blogs, news articles, entertainment sites, endless magazines and probably a book a week. Thanks to my parents, two teachers, for sharing their love of education and the written word. Both my brother and I are writers.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Totally so, Melanie. It’s crazy when people tell me they write but don’t read a lot.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Totally so, Melanie. It’s crazy when people tell me they write but don’t read a lot.

  • http://twitter.com/SMarkInc Brian E. Satterlee

    Life is a classroom my friend. Just who knows what happens when you graduate…

  • Megan

    It’s so important to always keep an open mind about learning new things, whether it’s to further you in your career or simply learn about a subject you’ve always been interested in. If we don’t continue to educate ourselves, how else do we grow?

  • Megan

    It’s so important to always keep an open mind about learning new things, whether it’s to further you in your career or simply learn about a subject you’ve always been interested in. If we don’t continue to educate ourselves, how else do we grow?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Agreed, Megan. : )

  • SavannahSues

    Thanks Chris. You are on the mark that everywhere is a class room. I carry a 3 by 5 inch journal when I travel. Doesn’t everyone? Every restaurant has a good idea that I can jot down, every shop has something in customer service you want to take home with you. Every room has something for guests that makes me more comfortable.~~~~~~~~~~ When I’d go into a welcoming and sucessful Antiques Shop I’d remember what items greeted me at the door, the layout of the shop, how things were displayed. At what point the proprietor would speak and what his words were. What the outside of the door was like to make me want to enter.. Transferring that from bricks and mortar to media can be a bit daunting. Isn’t that what you are here to help us with?

    We’ve all walked into a place and thought Wow, isn’t that a good idea? I steal ideas, cause I’m not all that creative. Albert Einstein said ” “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”. Thanks.

  • http://inmedialog.com Alexandra Reid

    I recently graduated from university and am now working as a community manager at a public relations firm in Ottawa. I thought university would prepare me for the working world by providing me with the most current and relevant information I needed to know. Boy, was I ever mislead! Each day I am learning a tonne of new information – the latest tricks and tips from industry leaders, such as yourself – that continuously render the information I learned in school obsolete. However, I am an advocate of continuous learning and believe you can’t really be successful without staying informed. I get most of my information from media, both social and mainstream. However, I also believe that social media is the second to first-hand conversations. Getting out and meeting people in my community is the number one way that I am gaining the knowledge and connections that will last my whole career through.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Oh dear. Not at all. University teaches you what was really current six years ago (in many cases). I’m glad you got the baseline, but no, you need to follow smart PR leaders to know what’s going on these days:

      @tdefren
      @missusp
      @prsarahevans
      @petershankman
      @briansolis

      To name a select few.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Oh dear. Not at all. University teaches you what was really current six years ago (in many cases). I’m glad you got the baseline, but no, you need to follow smart PR leaders to know what’s going on these days:

      @tdefren
      @missusp
      @prsarahevans
      @petershankman
      @briansolis

      To name a select few.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    I feel the moment carries the lesson. It’s up to us to tune into the opportunity to learn what we may from it.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Ryan

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I don’t know. There are many moments where I go back and discover something after the fact. You know, upon further reflection. I think we rarely learn things IN THE MOMENT. Do you feel differently?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I don’t know. There are many moments where I go back and discover something after the fact. You know, upon further reflection. I think we rarely learn things IN THE MOMENT. Do you feel differently?

  • http://www.mazakaro.com Rahul @ MazaKaro

    Great !! this is absolutely new and talking about different things as this topic make people change a bit and know more , i found this interesting . So about this : there is a popular proverb saying that we are learning every single day new stuff ,and i do believe in that ,so i would say that everything is bringing Knowledge and it’s great that even during vacations people learn !! thank you for sharing this any way ;)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I’m glad you shared back. : )

  • Tyler Adams

    Chris, I love your message in this post but disagree with your use of the term “classroom”. To me, the biggest advantage of being in an actual classroom (university, college, high school, etc) is the diversity of opinions, voices, thoughts. Furthermore, when in class, one is essentially forced to be there for an hour. Books aren’t a classroom; you are only hearing one voice. Other companies aren’t a classroom; you are only seeing one example (though possibly collective points of view. Not to say these things aren’t valuable, but they are valuable in a different way.

    So, where are the “classrooms” that aren’t actual classrooms? Places like 501 Mission Place. Trust Agents isn’t a classroom. 501 Mission Place is (almost). Granted, even with 501 Mission Place people can stop in few a few minutes, get the info they are looking for, then leave. To expand further, the best example of a classroom would be something where multiple people can share their voices with an “expert” overseeing/moderating. Think, participatory events, webinars (sometimes), etc.

    There is so much value in being immersed in a setting where a diversity of voices are shared and encouraged. I’m wondering what other classrooms exist and where they are?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Very interesting. So it’s the extension, the community, etc. That’s the point? I like how you’ve expanded my thinking on this one, Tyler.

  • http://ajleon.me ajleon

    So true, Chris. It’s one of the reasons Melissa and I love nomading and running our business from the road. The more diversity in experience, the more opportunity to learn new frameworks and meet with new people who can teach us and connect us to new things. I have worked in the UK this year just as much as I’ve worked in the US. It’s because we took a trip (on our last dime) 18 months ago, and we treated it like a classroom. An opportunity to learn a new culture, and how we might be able to adjust some of the things we were doing business-wise to fit. We did and now we get to travel/work there all the time. We make sure to treat every experience as a learning opportunity. And if you do that, then naturally the more experiences you have, the more learning, the more opportunities to leverage that learning into something valuable. :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      If I just said “I love you” to you and Melissa every few days, I think it’d cover things.

      • http://ajleon.me ajleon

        :)

  • http://twitter.com/sbradley3 sbradley3

    Perhaps in all of education, broadly defined, curiosity is the one thing that cannot be taught. It can be nurtured, but rare is the non-curious person who develops a quest for knowledge.

    Your curiosity finds value in so many outlets. A curious mind seeks education everywhere, and your point reminds me of an Emerson adage my father often shared, “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”

    What a place this world would be if your curiosity were more universal.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Boy, I could totally wish. : )

  • http://abasov.tumblr.com Mike Abasov

    Being an actual student and spending a lot of time in real classrooms, I’ve came to realize a long tome ago a different side of the same rule. Find a way to practice what you learn.

    It’s often hard to make use of all the concepts thrown at you in class, so it’s important to find a sandbox for utilizing your new knowledge. This has an amazing effect on what you do and how well you learn. My sandboxes are my current job at HootSuite and my blog, for example.

    As for the classrooms you are talking about, those are very important too, but, again, only if we don’t forget to put in action what we’ve learned.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      VERY good point, Mike. If you don’t apply it, nothing comes of it. I really appreciate your chiming in. Where do you go to school, Mr. Actual Student? : )

      • http://abasov.tumblr.com Mike Abasov

        University of British Colubmia, Vancouver. Although, I’m originally from Ukraine.

        By the way, I’ve just finished reading Trust Agents an hour ago. Amazing book! Pobably, my second favorite now, right after after Crush It!. Great job, Chris!

  • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

    I’m a believer in reading books that are completely out of one’s sphere of work. Two books I’ve read recently are “Feed” by Mira Grant (a sci-fi about Zombies, Big Pharma and New Media) and from “Eternity to Here” by Sean Carroll (physics and the nature of time). For me, this does two things: 1) It creates fresh thinking (hopefully) in the work I do, and 2) gives me a break from reading blogs about social media.

  • http://www.gamespog.net/ POG

    If I just said “I love you” to you and Melissa every few days, I think it’d cover things.

  • http://www.gamespog.net/ POG

    If I just said “I love you” to you and Melissa every few days, I think it’d cover things.

  • http://www.gamespog.net/ POG

    If I just said “I love you” to you and Melissa every few days, I think it’d cover things.

  • Anonymous

    Another great way to continue learning is through teaching! In addition to my business, I run an entrepreneurial program at a Business School in Amsterdam, teach a business course at an American University based here in NL and in both cases I am lucky to have a lot of flexibility with the content.

    Through teaching, I force myself to stay up on the latest trends and best practices in the business world to bring them into the classroom each week. Exhausting, but worthwhile.

    If you don’t want to commit to teaching a course, offer to be a guest speaker at a local school. Every single person I meet, I screen for: What could they bring to my classroom? What could be interesting to my students? What could this person learn from my students?

    I invite people in all the time. Whether it is college level or kindergarten, everybody wins!

  • Diane Brogan

    This post has so many great truths. It is educational, thought provoking and humbling. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/VelChain Dave Lutz

    Chris, great post! I think most people that are avid readers of this blog tend to share a passion of life-long learning. My classroom is committing to do a presentation or consulting gig on solving a problem where the handbook isn’t quite written yet. Right now, for me, it’s trying to figure out the best business models for leveraging virtual event technology for organizers of large tradeshows. Committing yourself to a challenging project with a deadline that is not negotiable does wonders to increase classroom time and focus.

  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    Chris

    I agree with you that school desk are all around you. Obviously not the actual desk and chair in the room but it is anywhere we allow our minds to be open enough to listen and absorb. We have to want to take the time to listen and then understand to be able to learn.

    In today’s technologically advanced world there are so many avenues where we can park to be able to learn. It is impossible to be able to learn it all on our own so seeking out others who do know not only puts a smile on their face, it enriches us and we can go and use that information as we see fit. Colleges and Universities give us the basic fundamentals for us to start with but it is up to us to take those basics and flush them out and grow from there.

    I learn from people I trust (yes, I am looking right at you) and also my son whose mind and thought process on how he learns is much different than mine. Every day we learn something new together.

    @SuzanneVara

  • Trelawney @nwxne

    Thanks for reminding us all how important learning from different sources is! It’s sometimes easy to get comfortable with one (like reading) and miss out on the rest. Everything I’ve read on keeping the brain firing on all cylinders mentions variety as a key. So, by learning from many sources, we invite new ideas and help our brains work better.

  • http://eduardodx.com.br Eduardo Dx

    Thank you for this. And, just like you said, classroom are all around us, it’s up to us open our minds and take it for our growth.

  • Anonymous

    I agree this one.. We never avoid a classroom that is very important in our life..
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  • http://www.ci-sun.com Cialis Online

    Of value to all children in the order is an silhouette of what is universal to be taught in the maxim, ending the teaching with a pick up where one left off of what has been taught. In this way communication is more proper to go from compendious position remembrance to big provisions thought.