Fixing lights or under the spot light?


A confession, yet again I have become addicted to watching ‘The Voice’ on Channel 9!  One of the contestants Jackson Thomas an electrician said he applied to audition because ‘Rather than fixing lights, I want to be under the spotlight’. spotlight
 
For technical people, our expertise is like fixing lights. Yet when we present we have to translate our expertise into something that works under the spotlight.   Technical expertise is about detail and mechanics.   Presenting is about connecting and creating meaning for your audience.
 
Storytelling can help you shine under the spotlight.   Just like Megan Cook, Product Manager  from Atlassian did with this story.
 
A few years ago I was travelling to Penang with my fiancée Kieren so he could meet my grandmother.   We had to take a bus from KL to Penang and the first bus was cancelled.   The second bus showed up late, it was packed, and belching smoke and felt old and rickety.   We did make it to Penang in one piece and my grandmother was so happy to see us.

A year or so later we were travelling to Japan where we had a complex journey involving 4 changes of train and signs in a language we didn’t understand.   I thought it would be very stressful, but it was not at all.   The trains were on time, super clean and fast, and all the complex changeovers were really easy.   My stress level and mood were vastly different with each experience and our products effect our customers in the same way.   Everyday we have that same opportunity, we can build or put band aids on rickety buses or make trains that work and deliver great results for our customers.
 
Fixing lights is about information, being under the spotlight is about inspiration.   Please comment, I love hearing from you.

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2 Comments
  • Amy G
    Reply

    Hi Yamini,
    I really get the theory that story telling is effective. But it just does not work for me.
    Say I went to tell the above story of the Penang bus trip – before I had even finished my sentence people would be talking over me with THEIR stories of travel – Thailand and beyond.
    I know this because I NEVER EVER get to finish a sentence. I am a clear talker, articulate and intelligent – but people ALWAYS finish my sentences for me – what is the most infuriating is that they so often finish my sentence with and ending that bears no relationship to what I was intending to say. Why do they do that?

    • Yamini Naidu
      Reply

      Hi Amy
      While it sounds like you have enthusiastic energetic people working with it this can also be deeply frustrating. Would you consider getting a coach to work with the team, to work through respectful listening and communication? I often work with clients around presence and the concept of leading from the front. So a story like this, you would create a focal point and present standing up in front of the room, commanding attention and creating a frame for people to listen. However I think while there is no easy solution for your predicament, a start would be some ground work in getting people to listen without interrupting, and giving everyone a chance to finish what they are saying. Hope this helps.
      Yamini

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