Profession and Passion
Over the years and after a long experience in public administration as head of an internal audit unit, in training rooms as trainer and mentor for young colleagues who are just entering the path of audit, or in auditoriums with students as lecturer, I have realized that learning never ends. Giving and receiving knowledge, ideas, thoughts and experiences is a beautiful, exciting process. After each training session, it makes me think that there is still something to understand more deeply or to do better.
The first thing I always try to do is to understand the composition of the audience: their average age and professional experience, and why they are in that room. However, I had never divided the audience into categories of human characters in my mind, which I did as a practical exercise in my last experience at the Training of Trainers event in February 2023. It was very meaningful to stop and think about who might have the characteristics of an activist, for example. Why do I need to know this? Well, to be able to better build my teaching practice, manage the room, and choose what I want to share with the audience. People perceive words differently. The right ones must be found for a wide audience of different age, cultural background and different approaches to the profession, to convey the right message to everyone at the same time.
I have always closed my teaching sessions by thanking the audience, often profoundly. But I learned recently that there is a more interesting way to close a discussion. Namely, to conclude your talk with a powerful message or meaningful thought related to the essence of the topic that you spoke about and that you would like to remain in the minds of your listeners, and of course be open to questions. (I have often practiced it intuitively.)
After I learned this, I immediately thought: what did my new audit colleagues or students remember most from what they heard from me? (Learning is a process that instinctively leads to reviewing yourself: what you do, give or convey to others.)
I think that making things as simple and practical as possible helps me in my teaching experience. I talk about my profession (internal audit), which I have been practicing for years, and I concretize with practical examples everything that may seem abstract in theory.
Experience has taught me to a) know very well the topic that I explain, b) love teaching and be always ready to talk and explain things, and c) be related to the practice of what I am explaining, so that all listeners feel included in the discussion. All these components together make the best cocktail for efficient learning. It is easy to write, but not so easy to apply.
In every lecture hall that I enter for the first time, I have confidence in myself but also emotions, which make me ask myself: what should I say more clearly today and how will I give my best, so that at the end of the day people think, "Audit is a difficult profession, but it is also a very nice life experience. It’s worth living." In many cases, I have succeeded because the audience has given me this feedback. That’s why it’s worth continuing to talk about my profession.
Talking about auditing is like stepping into a bottomless gallery where there are precious metals to be mined, but it takes a lot of work, patience, will and digging. I try to focus on the most important moments of an audit process, which are ultimately also legal obligations to be respected. In all cases, I try to convey a working method to facilitate the professional path of my young colleagues. But at the end of the day, it is their journey, full of hard work, where they create their own experiences and draw their own conclusions.
I always repeat in my lectures, "This is what we have to do as a legal obligation. These are the principles of our profession. But each of you will find your own method of applying these principles. I have done this and created my own experiences, which I am sharing with you today. You will create your own, and then we can meet again to see if our paths have led us in the same direction. Everyone can talk how they have benefited from the lesson and what they have learned from their work, and also share it with others."
This is the most beautiful part of learning. It is a road that never ends. It is only enriched by the personal experiences of the many travelers who walk partly together and partly alone. In a learning process, we pass on to others, along with theory, practice and personal experience.
Always be curious, listen carefully to what others have to say, and get out of your comfort zone – this is what I have learned as an internal auditor and trainer. Development always comes from learning, listening and communicating with others, and above all, from developing our personal skills in practice, always trying to get out of the comfort zone and using the skills that we possess. We will improve and have something to teach others, if we keep developing our own personal skills.
Last but not least, always try to be the best version of yourself to be an example to others and to learn from others.