I love the show Ted Lasso.
I’ve watched it more than once and have become a massive fan of all the actors. I’m also very passionate about helping people develop ongoing mastery in public speaking by using instructional design. Those naturally go together, right?
Ok, maybe not.
For those who don’t know, Ted Lasso is a TV show about an American football coach who coaches soccer/football on a UK team. He helps them with his unique coaching style, giving them changes to grow as athletes and people – and they teach him both about the game and himself. Throughout three seasons, all the characters change and grow. What is unusual (and charming) about the show is that when people make mistakes, there is not the typical humiliation that a lot of sitcoms do – though it looks like that will happen a lot of the time.
For people in the learning and development field (L&D), this is a perfect example of what instructional designers do. They help “Smees” (or SMEs) share their knowledge and get the results they are looking for. No, “Smee” is not the cartoon pirate who hangs around with Captain Hook.
So what is a SME?
“Smees,” or SMEs, are Subject Matter Experts. Whether it’s you or me or the professional players on Ted’s team, all “Subject Matter Experts” know so much about our subject and field that it can be hard to see from a fresh perspective, especially from an outsider’s perspective. This means that it can be hard to grow your skills or reach an audience that struggles with engagement.
The irony is the more of an expert you are, the harder it gets. This is why there is a discipline known as “Instructional Design” (ID), which literally involves designing the flow of instruction. Instructional designers must absorb all sorts of information to learn about the client’s needs, audience, learners, or clients, and goals. Then, you take these massive piles of data, pull out the pieces you’ll use, and shape them with a fresh perspective.
Not only is Ted Lasso a fantastic show, but Ted is the perfect example of an instructional designer.
He is not a football expert when he first comes to the team from America. He knows American football, not what he thinks of as soccer. Ted is good at pulling ideas out of people, helping them grow, helping them reach their goals, and supporting them connect.
How does this relate to public speaking and instructional design?
You are super knowledgeable about your area of expertise. That’s your genius. That’s your brilliance. But, you may not be able to see your content from the point of view of some of your clients, listeners, or leadership. When you work with instructional designers, we focus on your goals and how the content and delivery may land with your target audience. The aim is NOT to make you sound like someone else or inauthentic. The best result is natural, comfortable, and persuasive.
At Rourke Training, we use instructional design and performance training skills to help you reach your objectives, get everything you’re trying to achieve for your audience and business, and meaningfully connect with the people you’re presenting to. Then, we guide your practice and help you with stage choreography so your expressions and gestures support your content.
When it comes to Ted Lasso, I’m always Danny Rojas or Trent Crimm with clients (polite and professional); I can also be Roy Kent (mouthy, irreverent, and spicy) at other times of the day. Salty language has its place!
What do you think?
If you’re a fan of the show, who’s your favorite character? Tell me in the comments. And if you’re not watching the series, please tell me when you’ll start!
If you have yet to see Peter Pan recently, watch it. Smee’s adorable. He’s a good pirate.