In my quest towards developing people’s process literacy, I had an opportunity to make another small stride a couple of weeks ago. During an event where I was MC, I used a tiny bit of the air time I was granted to share one process tip per day.
Here are the ones I shared, and some others that I had planned to use (but didn’t get round to):
“What the heck did you mean”? Write coloured cards, flipcharts and other public writings with capital letters and full sentences. That will be a business skill useful for your future conferencing, and it will help the recording of the works.
“The public stage fear not, young jedi”. If you fear public speaking, get to know the room/stage where you will have to perform. And get to know the audience by meeting as many people as you can. When speaking, focus on the people you know (your friends) and remember that no one wants you to fail, they’re all supporting you. And most importantly: rehearse!
“Pop your mic up”. The art of holding a microphone. With mikes, you aim at a pop music effect, ie. easy listening. On the other hand you want to avoid the heavy metal stance (mic in your mouth – really not cool as an audio effect) and the reggae stance (mic by your hips because you’re too relaxed). The pop stance is about one fist away from your mouth.
“Feed your feedback forward“. One way to give good feedback: Make sure it’s welcome (not unsolicited) – and btw the onus is on you as a collective to develop a culture that favors regular and quick feedback. Give it on the spot as much as possible. Be specific about what you noticed and what the impact was e.g. “When you did xyz, this is the effect it had on me”. “When you said abc, this is how I felt”. E.g. “when you said communication doesn’t matter, you made me feel invisible and useless, and resentful as a result”.
“Read the colors” – the language of colors is fascinating. Including for flipcharts, Powerpoint slides etc. Some research shows that black is dull, red makes people upset, and that the most comfortable colours for core content are earth tones: dark green, brown, purple, dark blue. Use these in your slides and write-ups!
“Remember me”. This is about your presentations. Use fewer words in each slide and more visuals to harness those words – make YOURSELF the focus, not the presentation. And see more at: https://km4meu.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/wow-public-speaking/
“Make space for the ladies”. When you set up a ‘panel discussion’, first of all be aware that you don’t have to (there are many alternatives to panel discussions). But if you insist on a panel, avoid ‘Manels’ (all-men panels) or ‘womanels’ for that matter. And when it starts, most importantly, ask a woman the first question always, that will give them (and possibly other women on stage) more incentives to engage more.
“Make it worth their while“. This is about sharing information, whether in a Powerpoint presentation, or more generally talking to another person. Think always about the other person – what’s in it for them? WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) and drop all the details that are not useful (e.g. sharing your research protocol details to policy makers)…
Was giving this series of tips effective? Probably not in the sense of changing behaviour directly. And it happened in my spiel in the morning so at a time when not everyone was caffeinated enough to fully embrace these ideas.
Was it useful? Difficult to say again, but with behaviour change, I’m a disciple of ‘Bend it further, one little step at a time’…
Was it fun to do? For me, certainly, and I think for some of the participants.
And actually I did see some people embrace my chart writing tips, and I’m sure some of the 300 people present then might have picked up the general idea that there’s a whole process world out there, even if they only saw the tip of the iceberg.
And that’s one little way to honour my contribution to the world… More to come!
Learning never ends…