Nonprofit blogger Beth Kantor often finds gems about presentation. Yesterday she shared a “unpresenting” style of workshop. She writes:
I do a lot of presenting and am spending to much time writing bullet points, creating slides, and practicing what I’m going to say. I think that this puts a stop to creating conversation in the room. I wanted to learn some conversational mechanics — so I could stop talking at people and begin talking with them.
Beth’s main link is to a Google Tech Talk “unpresentation” by Heather Gold. Might be good background listening today. I’m particularly interested in this for two reasons: first, obviously, is that presentations are often very boring and it’s nice to think about more interactive ways of engaging with an audience.
But second, many modern Friends have defaulted to a lecture style in their religious education. I’m not sure it works. I’ve met people who have participated in multiple Quakerism 101 classes and still don’t know basic facts. I myself have rebelled against power point presentations and pre-set curricula to be more engaging but I’m not convinced that this has made me a great presenter. It’s always worth finding new ways to present in a clear and direct and engages them with the issues they experience day to day.
I imagine this would be of interest not only to liberal Friends who give workshops, but pastoral Friends with a concern to stay open to immediate revelation during worship–Cherice B has a great post about this yesterday , a response to part four of Brent Bill’s Modest Proposal series.
Some interesting points from Heather Gold’s presentation on “tummling”
- The best way to tummle is to be a very big version of yourself. Tummle means to make noise.
- If you’re happy, i’m happy. The number one way to do that is to care and to notice them — especially the people who don’t seem that involved.
- I’m noticing [the disengaged person in the back]. if i can involve him a little bit i’m much more likely to involve more of you faster than if i pick the person in the front row with their arm up. a technique to pull everyone in is to go to the fringes. go to the people who seem on the end, who seem like they have lower status in whatever community you’re in (speak less, more nervious, know fewer people) and go up to them.
- Some people will be mad at you. Some people will be schmucks. Some people will want to talk a lot. You have to let all that be okay. Tools and rules will never ever do as good a job as your confidence that you can handle anything. It’s time consuming to run through fifty rules in your mind; it’s not so time consuming to just be there.