She can spoon it out - but can she take it?
An old phrase from my childhood, coming back to me last week. I didn't follow the advice I'd given so many other presenters I've coached. Drat!!
I was facilitating a discussion of youth group leaders, in preparation of a new school year - in anticipation of a new youth ministry leader and new curriculum, both yet to be named. That's a LOT of change at one time, with only a few youth group leaders returning, and a good deal of anxiety mixed with an indescribable positivity in what the program could be; it is the definition of faith and trust in providence.
It was my role to help these leaders understand the proposed changes, defined at a high level, and guide them through a discussion of what they might need to be successful, and what success might look like from the student side. I was prepared with my CLEAR model, knowing that the Contrast and Leadership elements were already defined. We had a few bullet points of what success looked like for the program, as defined by student actions. And we had a good sense of what might help the leaders (Experiences for them) to create the right Experiences for the students. I was prepared! I had slides, a projector, and a framework I was ready to walk through in the hour we had slated on the agenda.
I was a bit nervous, as I didn't know this group well; it was high stakes as this is our home parish and I didn't want to make a tough situation worse. But I had my husband with me (yes, he's one of the experienced leaders) and we'd run through the slides at home, with confidence and direction. I was ready.
We checked out the room that was slated for our breakout session - yes, this was just 1 hour in a 5 hour session - and the room was challenging. I didn't know how many people were coming, and it was a large square conference table in the middle of the room. With all windows. And a projection screen - hooray! Pull out the projector, honey, let's set it up! I can deal with the weird table and no clear location for post-it notes as long as I have my slides.
No cord in the projector bag. Yup - no connection from my laptop to the projector, even though I had as many dongles are there are connection types. No Slides. EEK!
With no slides, I was unable to really present the CLEAR model. I wasn't able to show the graphics and great examples that would help the group understand the overarching model. As the group was gathering, I quickly wrote the success factors on post-it notes in my best engineering handwriting, and the key discussion categories on another set. I was winging it, hard! I used my slides (visible only to me) to introduce the model, very quickly, and it went over their heads; they were lost. But once I put the success factor points on the table in front of them, the climate in the room changed: there was nodding, smiles, and even an "Amen" from the corner - they were fully vested in the elements of the youth program, and we proceeded to discuss what they needed, how to build trust, how to work collaboratively, and listed what they needed from the new youth ministry leader - all in 45 minutes. The discussion hit the sweet spot for them, and we walked out with a great start on a new program.
So what did I learn?
- Look at the room prior to the session? - Nope
- Check the projector bag for all of the parts? - Nope, not that either
- Be ready to do the presentation without slides? - Partly…
When someone is hungry, they don't need to know about the kitchen, they just need FOOD.
I can't tell you how many times I've said something similar to people I've coached.
- Get to the point that they care about
- Put it Into terms the decision maker understands - yes, I know the ANOVA picture looks really cool, but the point can be made without showing all of the math
- Give us a picture, not a lot of words
What I RE-learned: When someone is hungry, give them food. The fact that you are a good in the kitchen is how you get the food on the table - that is how you support others, the people you serve.