To release the belt, lift the top of the buckle.

If you fly much, you could probably repeat this paragraph by heart:

As we leave the gate, make sure your seatbelt is fastened. To fasten, insert the metal tip into the buckle, and adjust the strap so it’s low and tight across your lap. To release the belt, lift the top of the buckle. Remain seated with your seatbelt securely fastened anytime the seatbelt sign is on. Even if the sign is off, we ask that you keep your seatbelt fastened while seated in case we experience some unexpected turbulence.

I never thought I would see the day. On a recent flight from Toronto, we had arrived at the gate and the woman across from me was stuck: She did not know how to release the belt.

  • Raise your hand if you do not know how to open a seat belt on a plane.
  • And now—honesty here—raise your hand if you ever thought how ridiculous it is that they even have to show you how to open a seat belt on a plane during the safety presentation.

I have asked myself that silly question many times before now, but … I sit corrected. Watching that woman attempting—unsuccessfully—to separate the two belts was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in a while.

I once read a book on training (title long forgotten) with a laughable cartoon on this very topic of airplane seat belts. The man has his eyes and mouth wide open and says, “Oh, THAT’s how it works!” The writer makes the comment that even the most elementary activity is NEW to everyone … the first time they do it. Our challenge is keeping the “curse of knowledge” from derailing our teaching.

For this reason, I am planning a new series for this blog this year: Back to the Basics. Each week I plan to present a “Tip of the Week” to help people explore TntConnect. These quick reads may—at times—seem irrelevant to you. But then again, you may be reading the tenth blog post and say, “Well, I’ll be! I didn’t know you could do that!”

This actually happened to me recently: Last summer my neighbor purchased a 2020 Toyota RAV4, her first ultra-modern car (e.g., newer than 2005). She can start the car even if the fob is in her purse. She was talking with another neighbor about her frustration in having to dig up the fob from her purse to lock the doors, seemingly defeating the purpose of hands-free. The neighbor said, “You know, if the fob is in your purse, you can just tap the door handle and it will lock.”

Wow! So my friend was thrilled with this information. Funny thing: We have a 2016 Toyota Sienna and when she told me this story, I learned something NEW about the van I have had for four years. Hmmm. And I consider myself a car guy.

Tapping these two dimples on the front door handles will lock/unlock the door if I have the key fob on me. Toyota has several automatic lock/unlock features, but this one was new to me.

I’m confident these Aha! moments can happen for you too, because of this story:

I was doing financial stewardship coaching at a conference for new staff at our organization in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since this was a new staff event, the schedule always included a one-hour intro to TNT. The host and emcee of the little event normally delivered this seminar himself, but since I was there, he asked me to do it. “After all,” he said, “you’re the expert!”

I took HIS presentation, HIS PowerPoint, HIS notes, and delivered HIS talk. Afterwards, he came back up to the podium and thanked me … and said he learned two new things!

Another story, can’t resist: Every year we have a group of 20-30 field staff who spend a year at our headquarters as a pause from field work. Focusing on partnership development is a key part of this sabbatical-like year, so early in their year I would come and deliver two hour-long TNT sessions back-to-back. I called one “Basic” and one “Advanced”, because there was always a mix of people—some who have used TNT for years and some who had rarely or never opened it. Do you know what I discovered? Many people who self-identified as an “Advanced” TNT user (and thus skipped the first hour) were often unfamiliar with some of the concepts I deemed very basic.

I wrote my first book on using TNT in the fall of 2002 for this same reason: While chatting with my friend David Nagy I saw him do something in TNT I had never seen before. Stunned, I asked him to show me. That prompted me to write my first book on using TNT so that others could maximize their benefit from this great tool.

I also want to use this year’s blog posts to create a library of basics that we can post in the TntConnect Help site, or even publish as a guide book of single-page quick references.

In light of that, if your organization supports Gift Input to TntConnect, can I encourage you to reach out to your Partnership Development staff and let them know about this blog? You can help spread the word about this blog and help your fellow staff members thrive in PD.

Thank you!

(Credits: I took all three of the pictures in this post.)


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