listen without hands
pencil and paper distract
eyes and ears record
listen without hands
pencil and paper distract
eyes and ears record
One of the activities in Creativity, Innovation, and Change asked us to tell a story about our best and worst collaborations, and ironically I think that my stories of each center around the same project. I could write a short book about this project but I’ll try and capture a few of the highlights that I think are most poignant.
A few years ago I was asked to join and lead a project to develop a blended customer service program. Initially there were five of us on the team; two were superiors of mine and two were from an outside vendor. I was the youngest and lowest ranking in terms of experience and title but I was eager to learn (about teams, the subject matter, and new e-learning tools and was eager to learn from some people I respected), and jumped in without hesitation.
This week as part of my participation in the Creativity, Innovation, and Change MOOC I am working on adding more details to my design plan for the project I am embarking upon. The following isn’t yet a formal design plan but an early draft. We were asked to list some of the challenges, experiments and failure we might expect and how those will help us learn and move forward.
I was hesitant at first to post this out to world, but if this project is to eventually take real form I will need all of you and your feedback and support, so here goes. Please feel free to contact me with an questions, suggestions, or comments. I’m still not entirely happy with the title Pop Culture Presenting but am going with it for now because I am acknowledging that this may be one of the early failures. The title will be crucial to the marketing of the idea. I’m also still tweaking and ruminating over the mission statement, but here’s where I stand as of today:
Mission: Create content and course-ware that aims to improve presentations through the use of pop culture sources and techniques as metaphors and build a community of people who expect more from the presentations they produce and consume thereby improving the power to communicate through presentations.
words alone are fine
unless retention is sought
then add a picture
The images above are from an articile on Fast Company’s CoCreate site. In the article “Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling—Visualized" Joe Berkowitz shares the words of wisdom from a former former Pixar storyboard artist as imaged by a fan.
#11 Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#14 Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
Online presentations are now in the top 10 tactics for delivering B2B Content and businesses report an increase in SlideShare usage from 23 to 40 percent. Are your presentations ready for primetime? Are they part of your communications strategy? Are they effective or are you going to just toss them out there because that’s what all the other cool kids seem to be doing these days?
Would your staff? These are very simple yet powerful questions posed by Erica Olsen, VP of Marketing for M3 Planning in her video on creating a mission statement. First of all, is your mission statement clear and known by the employees. If you asked them to put on a t-shirt with the company’s mission statement on it, would they even recognize the words on the shirt?
I keep coming back to an idea I saw in a video of Joe Thomas, Professor of Leadership Education at the U.S. Naval Academy, who was speaking about thinking outside of the box and being a smart heretic. I’ve heard the phrase “think outside of the box” a million times and you probably have too, but when was the last time you stopped to really think about what that meant.
How can you think outside of the box until you examine the box? We all sort of just assume that it means to be creative and come up with a new or novel solution but what about the box? What Thomas said that stuck with me was that the box really represents the current procedures and policies of whatever environment we are talking about. And that until you fully understand the box, you can’t think outside of it.
We assume that the box is the rigid structure we must break free from, and in some cases it is, but what about an environment that is already too divergent, the answer may be to apply a little structure. Outside of the box is just different than the box, complimentary to the box. Will the solution work around and within the current box? It’s the missing piece and sometimes the missing piece is a key that unlocks the box and sometimes it’s a key that locks a box.
So from now on when I’m told to think outside of the box, I’m going to first make sure a take a good, hard look at the box itself.
One of the activities suggested during the Creativity, Innovation, and Change MOOC is called Spare Diamonds and basically it asks you to consider what resources you have at your disposal to help with the project or goal you are working on. As they state, often we focus on the obvious things like funding or materials, but what other resources do you have to aid you.
As I mentioned previously, my project focuses on helping people develop their presentation skills. There will be an ebook, an online course, community activities and more. With that in mind, here are the five diamonds I mined for my project.
1. The Gym
Due to lots of reasons and some excuses I haven’t been going to the gym as regularly these past few months. I know it will help with my health, weight loss goals, sleeping patterns and so forth but it also can tie in with my project. I have a lot of reading to do and the gym gives me dedicated reading time. I can plop my tablet up on the stand in front of the elliptical or bike or whatever and read. The first day I tried it, my workout seemed faster and easier. I wanted to workout more and read more. Win-win.
This is similar in some ways to number one on the list. One of the problems I have is carving out time to focus on this project amidst my other daily responsibilities. This project is important to me but I so often let others’ needs come first. I have one Starbucks near me that I particularly like. I went there last week and got a tea and got out my notebook and tablet and was able to have some serious me time with my project.
3. Online communities
I am a social butterfly when it comes to social media. I am present a lot. I interact a fair amount. And I have built relationships, some of which have spilled over into real life. This will be a great resource as I move along with this project. Already, since my announcement of my intentions, I have had a few people contact me to offer to exchange ideas and provide feedback. My project will reap the benefits of the seeds I have sown.
4. Family and friends
Online communities are one form of support, but family and friends are going to be crucial to me completing and succeeding with this project. I have cultivated an immensely loving group of people who I know will cheer me on and kick my butt as needed.
5. Online tools
The project as I envision it would not have even been technically possible until recent times. And many of the tools available now are free. I will have to spend some time narrowing the field of options but for now it is great just knowing that a rich field of possibilities awaits.
So what unearthed diamonds do you have at your disposal?
After some brainstorming for my new project for the Creativity, Innovation, and Change course, I thought it would be interesting to do a word cloud to see what themes arose. For quite some time now I have thought about putting together an ebook (with extra bells and whistles) about presenting. Presentation skills are an increasingly important competency in all types of work and life in general. There are lots of good resources out there for people who want to learn about public speaking or learn to use PowerPoint but there still seemed a missing piece to me. I think people still think of presentations as something separate and apart from other communications in a way that make them extra scary. And too often they think that presentation equals PowerPoint. Finally, I think they forget that presenting is something we are doing 24/7 in various ways. Presenting is ubiquitous, much like pop culture, which led me to the idea of creating an ebook called Pop Culture Presenting. While this project will extend well beyond the course period, the course is helping me to get the ball rolling. Stay tuned. And, as always, I welcome your feedback.