Monday, September 28, 2009

Know thy style

One of my personal highlights of 2009 was to be invited to speak in a Global Brain Summit in Vail. After the last couple of workshops/talks in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, I was wondering if God would be stretching me further in this new role. Yet, I know that with every single presentation I present, the amount of pre-work invested was tremendous. Take for example this talk in Vail. As I recalled, the 5 days prior to arriving in Vail, I was up every single night working and re-working on my slides while giving up on a much needed sleep, not to mention overcoming the jetlag from the 24 hours of flight from Spore to Denver. That said, I knew that my hardwork did payoff afterall as the social red brain was gleaming with joy from the feedback of the participants. Yet, I was searching for something deeper, if God will is for me to bless others with the words I speak. I needed to find an alignment: Who am I really onstage and offstage? What do I have to offer- more than inspiring others with my passion and my ideas?

As I was seeking an answer, a friend offered some insights. In an email conversation, we talked about several issues and learning points. Here's an excerpt from my conversation with a dear friend, Edd Brown (thanks EDD!):

You are a great and enjoyable spirit. Your zest for life is infectious.

You have a great presentation style. Let me quickly say that what I liked is that you took who you are in regular life and put it right up on stage. You were not a different person on stage as many presenters are. You have a natural gift that draws people to you off stage- and you were able to carry it with you on stage.

Off stage, you project a joie de vivre while simultaneously projecting confidence, warmth, competence, passion, respectfulness for others, and a belief in what you are doing. You are able to convey that on stage as well. That is so rare!
(Brothers-in-arm: Joshua, Colin, Edd, Perry, and me)

As I continue to ponder on my style, regardless of the format, I always seek to teach creatively. And what is more important to me is to plan my delivery to not only keep the participants' attention but to design in such a way to cause learning and retention of content to take place.

"Don't just throw the seed - grind it, bake it, slice it, and put a little honey on it." - Charles H. Spurgeon

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