At first glance, Garr Reynolds’ new book, The naked presenter, is another entry in the “how to deliver presentation” genre. But as I read through the book, I found myself making notes. The notes were not about how to improve my presentations, but about how I approach change management.
As an organization development practitioner, I spend my time working with change management. This morphs through training – to teach something new, facilitation – where knowledge and ideas are exchanged, and, communication – designed to inform, motivate, and effect behavior change. Reynolds writes about all of this and more. He integrates information from interpersonal neurobiology, personal observation of his surroundings, and jazz musicians.
He does write about making effective presentations and improving public speaking skills. But the most important idea I encountered in the book is that “lessons are everywhere.” It is up to each of us to inquire into everyone and everything we encounter, asking how it impacts who we are and what old and new lessons we take away.
Each of us has many opportunities to connect with others. Knowing who we are and what matters is the foundation. Knowing why we are speaking, along with how and what we are communicating, allows us to build and effect change.
If you like to walk around the neighborhood block backward, seeing the roof lines and landscape from a new perspective, I recommend reading this book and watching for patterns that reach far beyond presentation design.
This photo was taken yesterday afternoon at an event where people of all ages engaged in creativity, play, and community building: a soup challenge fundraiser. This Jayhawk puppet belonged to a 5-year-old who thought that the Jayhawk needed a nap before the event kicked off. We had fun from beginning to end!
Garr Reynold’s has an interesting post on play. Here’s an excerpt:
As very young children, we were naturally authentic communicators and conversationalists. But then somewhere down the line we began to be guided away from that natural, human talent as a shift occurred in our education that emphasized “the correct answer” and demanded careful, formal speech—speech that did not encourage engagement and dissuaded our true personalities from coming out, lest we run the risk of ridicule. But you are an adult now and you can change your destiny. You can find again that naturalness, creativity, and energy you had as a child and combine it with your knowledge, skills, and passion to make real human-to-human connections that lead to remarkable change.
I’m considering how authentic action leads to genuine connections and on to “remarkable change.” As an organization development practitioner, I work with many organizations and individuals in transition – another word for change. How do I bring meaningful play into my work with clients? How do I combine the freedom and energy of play with my skills? How do I build, and lead others to build, relationships that are life-giving?
May we all discover relationship and creativity, finding the “napping Jayhawk” right next to us, leading to “remarkable change.”
Have you played today?
Time to play
TED is in the news with its new Global Conversation. But beyond the ideas worth spreading concept, are sound public speaking ideas. Here are the 10 commandments of TED talks:
- Dream big.
- Show us the real you.
- Make the complex plain.
- Connect with people’s emotions.
- Don’t flaunt your ego.
- No selling from the stage!
- Feel free to comment on other speakers’ talks.
- Don’t read your talk.
- End your talk on time.
- Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend … for timing, for clarity, for impact.
Garr Reynolds gives his version of the “TED commandments” with additional comments on preparing to speak. He offers examples of speakers who presented data heavy information, used a script, and one who stood, planted behind a podium. The point is that all of these people found a way to deliver ideas worth spreading that engaged the audience through their use of story and compelling delivery.
If you’re already a TED fan, I recommend the article in September Fast Company that was forwarded to me by a friend this week: “How TED Became the New Harvard – Only Bigger“.
As for me, I appreciate the work that has been done in the last several years to encourage improvement in the delivery of business, technical, and general presentations. I always find room for improvement whenever I reflect on my own public speaking opportunities. Re-reading the TED commandments is a good place to begin.
In the age of Facebook, Twitter, texting, and e-mail, I appreciate being reminded of the power of face-to-face communication. Here’s a quote from Chris Anderson:
There’s a lot more being transferred than just words. It is in that nonverbal portion that there’s some serious magic. Somewhere hidden in the physical gestures, the vocal cadence, the facial expressions, the eye contact, the passion, and the kind of awkward British body language, the sense of how the audience are reacting…. There are hundreds of subconscious clues that go to how well you will understand and whether you are inspired.
See his entire talk on giving presentations at TED. Then read Garr Reynold’s comments on the power of presentation.