This is the second of four posts as I read Habitudes: Images that Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes. Click here to read the first post in this series.
Chapter 5: Find Your Mom
This chapter focused on tricks for overcoming nerves when speaking in public. I used to picture an audience full of people I knew would be supportive. It’s so easy to think of a room full of your nay-sayers…this is a sure-fire way to come across as nervous or defensive. Picture your “fan club” (so to speak) and you will appear more personable, confident, and approachable.
Chapter 6: The Faded Flag
Remember that the audience hasn’t been thinking about the topic to which you have paid so much attention. Keep your message simple and clear. Summarize your “big idea” and keep it at the forefront of your presentation. I sometimes have to remember that the people to whom I am speaking don’t live and breathe “CITW” everyday. I have to find ways to show how this work connects to their current initiatives.
Chapter 7: School Yearbook
Every audience member will question “What’s in it for me?” Make sure you give them opportunities and time to answer that question. I try to think about this quite a bit in my line of work. I talk about the importance of the research, but teachers in the audience most often want to know what it is I’m suggesting that they do and what they (or their students) will get out of it. This is important to address throughout our time together.
Chapter 8: Polka-dotted Pig
This chapter focuses on making your message memorable. I was pleasantly surprised to see Karl Fisch, a fellow Coloradan and creator of the Shift Happens presentation, referenced here. The most valuable part of this chapter, I thought, was the list of suggested activities to help presenters “jump-start” their creativity. I plan to revisit this list often. I had a great professor in my Master’s program who would bring music, don costumes, and assume characters to get his point across. Whenever I run into him now at conferences, I instantly smile because I remember how refreshing it was to be entertained as I was learning…an important thing to remember as a teacher and presenter.