Saturday, January 15, 2011

Paper Cranes and Church Hymns

Annual Toronto DC Speaker's Bureau Training

This morning seven Development and Peace members braved the snow to spend a morning with me honing their public speaking skills.  They are now prepared to join the D&P Speaker's Bureau. The bureau responds to requests from groups, schools, and churches who would like to hear about the mission of Development and Peace.  Many of these requests come from parishes during the Sharelife campaign. The Archdiocese of Toronto, through Sharelife, contributes more money to D&P than any other diocese (in part owing of course to its massive size).

We started off with an ice breaker that was also a trust builder.  Each participant was invited to stand up, share their favourite church hymn with the group and then sing a line from it for everyone.  Yes, most people's idea of a perfect nightmare.  I consider myself lucky to work a job where I can share in people courageously facing their fear to share something they believe in with others!  The exercise was beautiful (and, I might add, the group had good taste!)

No workshop is a workshop without sticky notes.  So, standing in a circle, each person wrote their biggest public speaking fear on the sticky note, using the back of the person to their right as a support.  There was a blue box in the middle of the circle as my initial idea was  to have everyone then throw away their fears.  However, I realized it wasn't really consistent with the butterfly metaphor I had just shared with them.

When I was young, I remember my father telling me to use the butterflies in my stomach instead of getting rid of them.  Butterfly energy, properly channeled, can become a powerful force that will help you give an amazing presentation.  So I told everyone, "instead of squashing the butterflies or trying to get rid of them, set them free.  If you can release them and set them free, you can watch them fly and they become something beautiful."

Turning fears into paper cranes....
SO, taking the fears and throwing them in the blue box seemed not to be consistent.  In the moment I had an inspiration - We all got down on our hands and knees and we made paper cranes out of the stickies, those who knew how helping those who did not.  I had to use  paper cranes because I don't know how to make an origami butterfly (anyone?)

Last night I spent time looking for a public speaking tips list or something I could lazily copy and give as a handout.  However, I couldn't find anything good and didn't have time to make my own list.  Instead, the group reflected today on the last amazing presentation they attended.  From that we were able generate our own rather impressive tips list - including 'the finger trick'!  Thanks to modern technology, each participant walked away with an electronic copy of that document.

We shared lunch and went back out into the snow.

And so, I can now say that the whole organization of Development and Peace is more prepared to spread the good news of its mission than it was 5 hours ago. Should you have the chance to hear someone from the Speaker's Bureau speak, see if you can catch a glimpse of those flying butterflies, soaring to the tune of sacred music.

1 comment:

Kyle Vickers said...

I agree, Luke: we all do have good taste in music! haha . . .

Thanks for a very productive workshop; especially, for getting me thinking about what public speaking techniques I admire in others. The meterials you sent us home with (including notes from six past D&P speaker workshops!) will be a great help for the upcoming ShareLife campaign.