Teachable Moments From Silly Odds & Ends On My Desk

I was reading the Viva Visibility Blog from Nancy Marmolejo this past week and she suggested a really intriguing 20-minute exercise for online marketers to create “teachable moments” for your target audience.

It’s very simple.  Actually, it’s fun!

Just look around your immediate environment and see what objects, knickknacks, or items you discover that you could transform into good marketing tips or lessons for prospects, subscribers, or colleagues in your niche.

This is what I took notice of on my desk that I can transform into teachable moments:

1) Large ceramic mug overflowing with pencils, pens, markers, etc.  I don’t use or need half of these writing implements.

Teachable moment: Clean up your act, get organized, and declutter your office space for better concentration and less distraction.

2) Intricately designed wrought iron napkin holder.  I use this to hold my mail.

Teachable moment: “Recycle” your posts, articles, podcasts, teleseminars, videos, etc. into info products or programs you can sell.

3) Hat box that’s imprinted with pictures of beach-y and exotic vacation locales.  I keep business cards, postage stamps, my calculator, etc. in this box.

Teachable moment: Rest and relaxation, a much needed break, or even a vacation from work is essential for your well being and your success as an independent business owner.

Getting the idea?  Now look around your home, office, or even your back porch and see what you can use as teachable moments.

I bet you’ll be surprised at what you find!

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • That’s a great tip, Melanie! I loved teachable moment #3 and needed that reminder, tonight… 🙂

    • I bet you needed #3, Michelle!

      You just moved your entire household — lock, stock, and barrel!

      And I don’t care what anybody says, moving stinks and it’s back-breaking work. And the moving part is just the beginning. Unpacking and organizing all your belongings can take weeks or months.

      You deserve a rest!!

      Melanie

  • This is a great idea…and fun. I love the lessons that you have learned from common items on your desk.
    I have a pair of tennis shoes on my desk. I put them there so the dogs will not chew them. I have learned this lesson the hard way….KEEP tennis shoes off the floor or they will be chew bones.

    • LOL! I’m giving your teachable moment the blue ribbon, Janette!

      Boy, can I relate to keeping things from turning into doggie toys. I have two four-legged furry friends. 🙂

      Glad you had some fun with this little exercise!
      Melanie

  • Hi Melanie,

    You are the “Queen of Creativity” – great post!

    I am away for a month vacation but before I left, I cleared all the papers on my desk and the teachable moment is that if instead of hoarding, it’s better to throw away things often so it doesn’t take hours to sort throw a pile of mess.

    Also, it felt like a relief to have a clean desk and less of a burden!

    • Did I hear you say “Queen of Creativity”, Diana?

      Music to my ears. Thank you. 🙂

      You certainly hit on a teachable moment that’s a BIG issue for people all over the world — hoarding. It’s such a big problem, they even have television programs about hoarders here in the United States.

      I love that you said this …

      ” … it’s better to throw away things often so it doesn’t take hours to sort through a pile of mess.” Darn good lesson!

      Have a really wonderful vacation!
      Melanie

  • Really great idea! I just cleaned my desk for the video I just did…but, I do have a huge Marathon cup of Mt. Dew sitting here with me…it usually is sitting here with me. I should write about how you should never drink it because it’s bad for you! 🙂 As I sit behind the computer drinking it! 🙂 Just kidding!

    I have lots of things as I look around giving me ideas!

    • Hey Jen!

      A huge cup of Mountain Dew, ya say?

      Maybe you could turn that into a teachable moment by comparing it to things that are “bad” for your business like …

      Inconsistency
      Not clearly defining your target audience
      Spamming instead of marketing
      Not having a business plan
      … and so on.

      What do you think?

      Thanks for coming by!
      Melanie

  • I saw this over on Linkedin Melanie and love your analogy! Especially the Hat Box! Have to take the time for rest and relaxtion. It is important to free the mind and clear your thoughts which will open the door for creativity.

    So much appreciate your insight and the wonderful way you communicate it! Awesome post.

    • Thank so much, Lynn!

      I wish you could see my silly old hat box. It’s got pictures of cruise ship tickets, surf boards, palm trees, sailboats, scuba and snorkel gear, beach umbrellas — well, you get the idea.

      But the significance it holds is what really matters. I’m the guiltiest party of all when it comes to carving out some leisure time or just taking breaks from work. I don’t pencil in nearly enough R & R.

      Appreciate your comment over at LinkedIn, too!

      Melanie

  • How inspiring! To be honest I wasn’t really sure about the idea until I read your examples. Fabulous! I am seeing how I’ve unconsciously done this before on occasion when writing blogs. Having it pointed out and understood so that I can deliberately use this idea is amazing!

    • Happy weekend, Bonnie!

      Isn’t it pretty cool knowing your mind already works like this? Good for you!

      There are lots and lots of things around us that we simply take for granted or don’t really, consciously, take notice of that can be creatively turned into valuable lessons. 🙂

      Wonderful to see you here,
      Melanie

  • Fabulous idea. I’ve written about teachable moments from things in my life in general, but not odds and ends on my desk, I don’t think (having a brain lapse moment!). Off to see what I can come up with :).

    • Ooh, goody, Leanne!

      See what you can find around your home or office or in your car … or under your bed. I usually find dog toys and dust bunnies under mine. 🙂

      See ya later!

      Melanie

  • Large ceramic mugs remind me of tea and coffee…so thats a start for my lazy soul!

    Where, just where do you come up with such great ideas Melanie?

    • Dear Lazy Soul,

      At least you tried. And that’s what counts. 🙂

      Hajra, I absolutely cannot take credit for this idea. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I got the “teachable moments” concept from my friend, Nancy Marmolejo. She rocks!

      Thanks for giving me the definitions for “kvetch” and “kvell” over at your blog. That was a good “teachable moment”! 🙂

      Melanie

  • Hi Melanie,

    The little cat that pops into our apartment here at our beach house, at a moment’s notice.

    Knowing exactly what you want, and persisting like heck in getting it. Last night she popped in the door a split second after I opened up. Good thing we’re “cat people” 😉

    Uber creative idea Melanie. My bests posts are real life posts, where I look around and write about circumstances or things happening in my life.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • Great analogy, Ryan!

      “Knowing exactly what you want, and persisting like heck in getting it” — and that little cat is definitely proving the point! 🙂

      Hope you’re reveling in every minute of your getaway,
      Melanie

  • Hi Melanie,
    Feels good to be a part of this’
    OK dusty windows:
    Teachable moments:
    Time to open up a receptive window to breath in some fresh ideas from the outside..
    Highly inspiring post…

    • Hi Ikenna,

      So nice of you to get on board with this exercise! Glad you decided to participate.

      Love your teachable moment!

      Transforming from “dusty” to “receptive” and “fresh”. PERFECT.

      Melanie

  • I absolutely love this, Martha …

    ” … by surrounding myself with things I love, “me” won’t get lost while I’m busy working online.”

    And that’s what I like to do, too. 🙂

    The hat box I was referring to is really old but I refuse to part with it. It’s SO me.

    Thank you for sharing your story! And congrats on re-doing your home office. I bet it looks beautiful.

    Melanie

  • I’ve read something like this before and at the time had a desk full of stuff to talk about. Last week, I completely “redid” my home office and everything in it is “me.” I have surrounded myself with many things I love about my life. The teachable lesson would probably be that by surrounding myself with things I love, “me” won’t get lost while I’m busy working online. I can just stop, look around and remember who I am!

  • Hi Melanie!

    Thanks for inviting me to your Blog…from The Blogging
    Mastermind Comment Tribe’s page. 🙂

    Okay, here goes…a LAMP.

    Teachable Moment: It supplies light to my content so that
    I may write with purpose, inspiration & love from the heart.

    KUDOs on your wonderful work here!!

    Have a highly inspired day…your tribal friend Steven Suchar

    • Hey Steven!

      Thanks for sharing the meaning your “lamp” holds — I can definitely relate to the purpose, inspiration, and love. 🙂

      Very nice of you to stop by!

      Melanie

  • You’re welcome, Yvonne, but I really can’t take the credit. I learned about this exercise from Nancy Marnolejo. She’s as clever as the day is long!

    Right now I’m looking at my reading glasses sitting on my desk alongside a yellow legal-sized notepad and pen. I wonder what lesson I can create about these items? 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by to catch this post and I hope you have a fantastic weekend!
    Melanie

  • Amazing how much we can learn from inanimate objects we’re surrounded by. Thanks for opening my eyes to see learning objects everywhere, Melanie.

  • I really love the way your wheels turn, Roberta! 🙂

    This is VERY true …

    ” … with Get Out of Stuck, much is possible to teach with personal space.”

    Let me know if you come up with anything, okay? Might be fun to share it here.

    Thanks for your input,
    Melanie

  • Love the post and really like the comments. Sometimes I think comments on a blog are better than a post.
    I think the teachable moments kind of depend on your blog topic. I know with Get Out of Stuck, much is possible to teach with personal space and I think of a few in the T.L.C. group who could use their desks as ideas for their blogs.
    The more I think about it – everyone has on their desk something that is important to them but also something that is perhaps not yet done.

  • This is such a creative idea, Melanie. And quite a challenge. I’m impressed with how you came up with teachable moments from everyday objects. Thanks for sharing!

    • Gee, thanks, Jeannette!

      Now it’s YOUR turn to do this little exercise. 🙂

      Look around you right now. What do you see?

      Let me know and let’s turn it into a biz tip!

      Melanie

  • You know, I got a whole different message. The ceramic mug reminded me that I could use some coffee; it soothes my nerves, lets me work without eating junk food, and those are all plusses. The hat box reminded me that I need to scan more items and get rid of paper as soon as it comes in (and to back up my computer, so they are always available.) And, the napkin holder reminded me that no matter what we do, some things just don’t stay sorted and stiff (my napkins always flop over!), so don’t spend all that time trying to get them aligned.
    Proof that one person’s mnemonic may not work for yet another…

    • Hey Roy!

      The ceramic mug ALWAYS reminds me I could use some coffee. Can’t get through the day without my java juice. 🙂

      It’s great you got a whole different message here. Just proves everyone’s brain doesn’t work exactly like mine. It’s nice to have someone flip the coin over once in a while.

      Thanks for chiming in and enjoy your weekend,
      Melanie

  • What a neat little exercise.

    1. Water bottle
    Lesson – Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated – drink in plenty of positive thoughts to keep your mind in a good place

    2. Cute Picture of a small baby doll ‘newborn’ with a bunny hat
    Lesson – Smile, it’s not all business

    3. Can of air for keyboard
    Lesson – Tweak your work from time to time , proofread, check links, and pictures to keep your blog clean

    • PERFECT, Sara!

      I especially like your teachable moment #2 – “Smile, it’s not all business”. 🙂

      Thank you for doing this little exercise!

      Melanie

  • Hi Melanie,

    I LOVE this idea!

    Let’s see…my whole desk is COVERED in dust! My teachable moment is: CLEAN UP. I’m most productive in a clean and productive environment.

    I have these cute little music boxes on my desk. My teachable moment is:
    Don’t forget to dance! I’ve been way too serious lately, it’s time to just let loose and dance!

    This is such an awesome post! How fun! 🙂

    • Hey Morgan! (my daughter’s name, BTW)

      Glad you liked this one!

      It’s an older post I thought I’d dust off and bring back to life again. 🙂

      I LOVE your teachable moments — really creative — let’s dance!

      Melanie

  • Hey Jeanne, you froggy granny biker chic! 🙂

    Say howdy to Isaiah and Jeremiah for me. They sound like the coolest and most entertaining little pets! Too cute for words. And thanks for sharing Wild Creations with me. I’m definitely going to keep them in mind when I need a gift for someone who has everything and I’m out of ideas.

    Melanie

  • Fun stuff, Melanie
    I’m looking around and I see 100 stories on my desk.
    BUT, the most fun thing I have on my desk (and I can’t think of a good story yet) is a small eco-aquarium with two African Dwarf Frogs, named Isaiah and Jeremiah. I’ve had them for close to a year now. (They live almost 5 years). They jump and play and fight with each other sometimes, and they entertain me every day. I posted a video of them on my Facebook page several months ago and got more comments than I ever expected. Who knew??? I got them from http://www.wildcreations.com. They’re located here in Myrtle Beach and they ship everywhere to Brookstone stores – “Frog-O-Spheres,” they’re called. They’re one of my telecommunications clients and I fell in love with these little critters. Now, I’ve purchased frogs for everyone I know – all the grandkids, my friends, etc. I guess you could say I’m just plain froggy.
    .-= Jeanne Kolenda´s last blog ..Summer Camp for Marketers, Only Better and Longer =-.

  • LOL!! Bobbye, seems to be the way everyone is thinking these days. Let’s attribute it to “Spring Cleaning” season! 🙂

    Thanks so much for coming by and reading my post. And I’ll be on the lookout for what you find around your house to turn into teachable moments!

    Melanie

  • Melanie,
    Good going!
    Thanks for the “teachable moment!”
    I too could get to a hundred variations on clean up your act.
    Your #blog30 collaborator,
    Bobbye Middendorf
    The Write Synergies Guru
    .-= Bobbye Middendorf´s last blog ..Content Plus Community Blog Challenge Post 15 =-.

  • Gwen ~

    So excited to hear that this post got your wheels turning and your eyes wide open to the possibilities of teachable moments! Even from dust bunnies under the bed. 🙂

  • This is great Melanie!! Thanks so much for this post, gives me lots of ideas…. junk, clutter, debris, dust – lots of teachable moments to inspire folks to clean up their acts for sure! LOL

    Gwen
    .-= Gwen Tanner´s last blog ..Squirrels Who Eat Pizza =-.

  • Thanks, Heather! And I can’t wait to see what you find at home to turn into an online marketing teachable moment! I’ve known Nancy Marmolejo for quite a long time now and she comes up with some pretty nifty ideas.

    Wishing you a lovely week, as well. 🙂

  • Melanie

    This is wonderful inspiration, especially as we are all looking for prompts for our blog posts at present.

    I’m going to enjoy playing with this exercise – it sounds like great fun.

    Hope you have a lovely week.
    much love
    Heather x
    .-= Heather Bestel´s last blog ..Self Growth – Giving Back Makes You Feel Good =-.