Monday, January 12, 2009

Lessons learned from Presentation Zen

I love the Presentation Zen blog, and always find useful information for my facilitation there.  This evening is no exception, although I have little knowledge for Jazz, I was intrigued at Garrs list on what he has learned from Jazz and Zen over the years. Garr writes "These lessons, all seemingly commonsensical, can be applied to presentation or to any creative endeavor -

1. In structure there is freedom and spontaneity.
2. Restraints and limitations can be great liberators.
3. Don't ever force it; be ever natural.
4. Good intentions are key. Sincerity is king, and yet...
5. It's not about you.
6. Listen more than speak.
7. Speak only when you have something to say, and then in the most economic way possible.
8. Your approach can be direct and subtle at the same time.
9. Fear is natural (and human), but work through it and past it. Don't let fear hold you back.
10. Mistakes are part of it (do not worrying about them).
11. Embrace the power of now, this moment.
12. Technique matters, but it's not the most important element.
13. Make no pretenses; put up no facades.
14. Laugh, smile if you feel like it — why not?
15. Share yourself with others; make a contribution.
16. Simplicity is supremely beautiful, yet difficult to obtain.
17. Emptiness and silence are powerful elements of expression.
18. Remove the clutter, strive for absolute clarity.
19. If you think you have mastered it, you've have already begun your descent.
20. Always be learning. Always be learning. Always be learning.
21. Curiosity is your greatest gift, nurture it (in yourself and in others)" (read fill post here)

Lessons that resonated with me include:

Listen more than speak - I attended the Art of Facilitation workshop delivered by Joan Dalton and David Anderson last year and learned this "commensensical" strategy. I never knew this would have so much impact on my work and everyday life.  Needless to say, I have learned more by listening than I ever did talking.
Listening ears

Laugh, smile if you feel like it — why not? - This is one strategy that  I definitely try to implement into my everyday work life and home life.  I was reignited by this concept when reading into the FISH! Philosphy  - The principles of this Philosophy are: Play, Make their day, Choose your attitude, Be there.  In the ECE Facilitators team at CORE Education you will often find out meetings with funny YouTube video, bubble blowers, lollies and move around activities.

Remove the clutter, strive for absolute clarity
- This probably refers to something more metaphorical that I do here, but I strive to have a clean desk and computer desktop “most” of the time.  I find that when I start work in the morning or late at night (depending on my schedule) a clean (like one icon) allows me to find clarity in the tasks at hand.  I have also tried to keep my inbox at zero, if they are not relevant to me at that particular time I file it, if they need attention or response I email  a response straight away, and if they do not relate to me at all or a spam emails sent by people I DO know I delete them.  I’m striving to maximise absolute clarity.

If you think you have mastered it, you've have already begun your descent - This is so pertinent to my teaching career, I have always been an advocate of this particular principle - once I think I have it, I know that I dont.  There’s a saying (not sure of original source) - “The more you know the less you know”.  Coming from the educational background of failing School Certificate and disliking school with all my might, then working through a Teaching Degree and a Masters Degree. I know that the more I learn the more I know I dont know.  Which in a very interesting way is exciting.

Always be learning. Always be learning. Always be learning - This follows on from the previous statement, I am always driven to learn more, and after completing my previous qualifications I have been contemplating enrolling in a random paper to stimulate my thinking.  Consequently, I took on a role as a Board of Trustee for my sons school, this in itself is an interesting learning process and inevitable I am learning so much in this role. Learning, learning, learning...

Im wondering if any of Garrs lessons learned resonate with others....Feel free to comment.

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