I'd like to introduce the latest publication in this series, available on Kindle and Nook:
50 Stories & Snippets for Conference & Workshop Presentations.
This mini-book features stories, snippets, clippings and examples that I have found useful over the years while presenting conferences and workshops to a wide range of organizations. It's a companion to my compilation 1000 Great Quotations for Business, Management & Training, also available in this Almost Free series.
You will find in the book a motley selection, presented alphabetically by title, but to help focus your thoughts I have included under each entry a brief commentary and some suggestions for appropriate use, and at the back of the book you will find a Category Index with click-through links to relevant stories. These are for guidance only - the usefulness of this material is limited only by your imagination.
If you are a trainer or facilitator use these stories and quotes to enliven your sessions and underline the learning with examples and points to ponder from a wide range of sources.
To whet your appetite I'm going to publish a series of extracts over the next month or two of blog posts. Here are the first couple.
In Australia an earnest and dedicated social worker visited a run-down aboriginal settlement to see if there was any way she could help.
The old Aborigine leader stood watching her as she approached his shanty. She was about to introduce herself when he raised his hand in a gesture that commanded her silence.
He spoke imperiously: 'If you have come here to do something for me, you are wasting your time. If you have come here because your transformation is directly involved with mine, let’s get to work.'
Using the story
Attempts at partnership or collaboration (whether inside organizations or across communities) are often undermined by the failure of members to appreciate that they do not have a monopoly of the truth. As painful as it may be, the ability and willingness to listen carefully to the views of the people involved (including those you may not agree with) are fundamental to success.
A true partnership is one that accommodates diversity and assimilates all shades of views and opinions in pursuit of a common truth.
In discussing this story you may also find it interesting to consider the use of the words 'aborigine', 'aboriginal' and associated terms such as 'indigenous'. Finding appropriate language, avoiding offence while remaining aware that a 'tick-box' politically correct mentality can itself be patronising - these are tricky issues in many areas of communication, collaboration and culture.
The great Italian artist Michelangelo sculpted many beautiful works, such as the breathtaking marble statue of David. Whenever he was about to start a new sculpture Michelangelo would stand before the shapeless mass of stone, lost in contemplation. He would stare into, not at, the stone and eventually, he said, he could see the figure trapped inside. All he had to do then was chip away, and chip away … until the statue was fully revealed.
'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.'
Michelangelo, Italian artist (1475-1564)
Using the story
A vision, whether individual or corporate, begins with a dream. The vision is effectively an imagined picture of a desired outcome, just as Michelangelo conjured when he stood in front of the shapeless rock, preparing to work on a new sculpture.
Use this story to underline how important it is to visualise the outcome from the start. The story also makes the point that it still requires a great deal of painstaking work (‘chipping away’) to ensure that the dream is realised.