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Writing, Workshops, and Talks

Some notes on presenting ideas. Make it…

  • Social
    • Connect everyone by showing shared experiences, especially struggles and failures.
    • Work in groups and pairs.
    • Use pair share / teach back activities, have accountability buddies.
  • Physical
    • Get them moving. Use activities like show of hands, walk around the room.
    • Have breaks that involved leaving the table.
    • Link concepts with movements to increase recall and attention.
  • Positive
    • Have a physical environment that’s not classroom-like.
    • Promote empathy, kindness, perspective, compassion.
    • Use love and charm, not guilt and blame. Positive emotions greatly improve learning (and negative ones hinder).
  • Relevant
    • Put the why before the what.
    • Have clear, meaningful, relevant, goals.
    • Have outcomes-based actions with observable impact.
  • Identity-based
    • Connect to the past and the familiar, things and truths they already know.
    • Highlight the values and beliefs that make it important, since they guide behaviour.
    • Find things that are widely relevant, not locally specific.
  • Looped
    • Frame changes as experiments (that are safe to fail).
    • Focus on effort and progress (not ability or setbacks)
    • → (Re)trial → Feedback → Reflection ↵
  • Emotional
    • Use an emotional argument. Entertain and excite to overcome indifference, disinterest, apathy.
    • Use human-scale stats or vivid details. Show a big, emotional, display of the problem. Bring reality into the room.
    • Show before and after to motivate the change.
  • Short
    • Keep it simple and prioritise. What’s the key message or concept?
    • Make small but meaningful milestones. Find the short-term reward linked to the long-term benefit.
    • Do warm-ups, easier or softer, stuff before the difficult stuff.
  • High energy
    • Have a strong opening.
    • Have a strong peak.
    • Have a strong closing.
  • Flexible
    • Vary type and length of activities, senses used.
    • Have a responsive curriculum (modular, chosen by learner)
    • Recognise and accept diversity.
  • Concrete
    • Have integrity: be the example.
    • Use concrete examples to help focus. Use images. Look at good examples and analyse why they’re good.
    • Positive Injunctive > Negative Informational.
  • Questioning
    • Ask questions rather than give answers. Provide a curiosity gap.
    • Let people draw their own conclusions, discover the answers themselves.
    • Promote a growth mindset, not a fixed mindset.
  • Structured
    • Have something to complete or fill in.
    • Frame it. Have an agenda, outline, overview.
    • Pull the whole thing together with a narrative.
  • Practical
    • Show how to get started with small wins that stack up and lead to big ones.
    • Do the work. Tell learners to bring their stuff.
    • Provide a toolkit with clear, actionable, steps.
  • Empathetic
    • Understand why the change is difficult and frustrating. It takes time and needs supports.
    • Understand both sides. The pros and cons.
    • Make the change sufficiently alluring.
  • Nudging
    • Use anchoring
    • Use loss aversion
    • Use availability bias
    • Use mere measurement effect (ask, for details)
  • Entrenched
    • Make it repeatable, regular, ritual.
    • Help them establish habits.
    • Make concrete plans. Use WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) or 5Ws and 1H.

Related: big picture ideas (for writing, workshops, and talks).


Closing activity

For Now

  • What will you do?
  • When will you do it?
  • Where will you do it?
  • Who will be involved?
  • How will you do it?
  • Why do this?

Write a sentence starting with “I will…”

For Later

  • Small steps
    Focus on progress
  • Accountability Buddy
    Check-in with them regularly
  • Try an Action Trigger
    Have an “If This, Then That” plan

Sources