Jeffrey Breault – Tips on Teaching Someone a New Skill

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One of the best teachers I’ve ever had was the brilliant Jeffrey Breault, a manager who I had in my first ever job. During the three years that I worked with Jeff, he taught me so much about the world of business, about cars and their mechanics and also about the world in general. At the time I was just 18 and very green and naive. I had never met anyone who taught like Jeff did and that was probably my biggest learning overall, how to teach people something new. Whether you are teaching your kids or showing an employee a new skill, here is what I learned from Jeff in terms of getting the best results.

Understanding Your Learner

We don’t all learn things in the same way or at the same speed and it is important that you first identify what type of learner the person is who you are going to be teaching. Some of us learn better with visual aids, others are more practical and need to learn by doing, others have the ability to read or hear information and understand it. The best way of identifying the learner is to try a number of approaches and see which works best.

Knowing Your Stuff

Part of the reason why I was able to learn so much from Jeff was that he knew exactly what he was talking about and gave me confidence that I could learn from him. You not only need to know about what you are teaching, but you also have to be able to answer questions related to it, and ensure that your knowledge is in-depth. Any weakness around your knowledge will come across to the person who is learning it, and this will affect how well they pick up the new skill.


A trap that many fall into is asking the learner if they have understood something, and simply accepting their answer. People don’t often like to admit they didn’t understand something or that they are confused, which is why you need to bring that out of them. Instead of asking someone if they understand, ask them to demonstrate what they have learned. This way you will be able to see whether or not the information you’ve given them really has landed.


They say that repetition is the father of learning and this is certainly true when it comes to picking a new skill. Whatever it is that you are teaching or showing someone you have to ensure that you are not just showing them once and moving on to the next thing. Somebody can pick up a skill once and display it well, but hours or days later they may have forgotten. It is vital therefore that you follow up on your teachings and ensure that the knowledge has stuck with them.

These attributes are vital no matter what you are teaching or who you are teaching to.

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