Friday, December 9, 2011
Always Learning--Speaker's Storyboard
Every year I despise TV programming just a little more.
It started when I was in my late teens (late 1960's) while I was watching a rerun of Star Trek (the original TV series). I began to sense that it was all mindless & useless. Every once in while I'd find something that was mentally stimulating but, like foods you find in a grocery store that are later discontinued, those shows usually disappear. For a while I liked programs featuring the sciences. But lately, most of that seems to focus on UFOs, and now "USOs". And how does EVERY episode end?.... "We really don't have any hard evidence, we may never know in our lifetime." So, while many refuse to believe in the Bible which has tons more evidence than UFO research has, it almost seems you'll find more people "believe" in UFOs.
So, I turn off the TV. Once or twice in a month I'll find a movie that my wife and I enjoy and we'll record it and watch it later....so I don't have to put with another mindless feature-commercials.
So at age 60 what in the world could possibly be left to learn? Plenty! I enjoy public speaking. For several years (on and off) I was a member of Toastmasters, which is an international organization dedicated to helping professionals develop their speaking skills. I am also active as a religious teacher/tutor. Learning how to teach effectively, so as to keep the student's interest, is an art-form in itself. Of the various "hats" I wore at AT&T, one of them was the officially designated instructor in a group of 200-400 people. It was during that period that I came across Nancy Duarte's books, "Slide-ology" and "Resonate." (These books are available on Amazon.)
I am the sort to pick books apart (figuratively) and piece them back together in a way that becomes a helpful reference for me. Although nothing that she wrote was new, it was very inspiring. With it, I started pondering afresh something I've struggled with for years--is it possible for speakers to use the concept of storyboarding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storyboarding) in quickly fleshing out a speech? I am happy to say that it is. Although what I named the "Speaker's Storyboard" is nothing like the original concept, the end result--that of being able to quickly conceptualize the progress of a speech--is the same.
Here is what I did to create this storyboard:
Get a large posterboard. The color doesn't matter, but a single flat-color is easiest on the eyes. Using MS-Word's textbox feature, I created several small "tiles" that I printed on regular paper and then affixed them to the posterboard. I divided the posterboard into 3 main sections. The bottom section, which is used first, I have tiles for "facts, reasoning points, illustrations, experiences and other bits of info. I placed these tiles as headings across the bottom-3rd of of the board. Then, when developing the speech, I use one sticky-note for each piece of data. If I have 3 facts, I make one sticky note for each and place it under the "Fact" tile.
The top-3rd of the board is for the actual speech development. The 3 main tiles there are "Intro, Body, Conclusion." The "body" section gets the bulk of the top of the board. To use this section, I first review all the tidbits of sticky-notes I accumulated and look for two or three main points to drive home. I write those main points on separate sticky notes and place them under the body section. Based on those, I now know exactly what I want to teach the listener(s) and therefore I write the conclusion. Then, having the conclusion in mind and the main teaching points, I start moving all the tidbits from the bottom of the board under the main points. If a tidbit doesn't fit, it doesn't get moved up. Finally, after seeing the speech unfold in front of me, I write an introduction to raise the audience's interest and anticipate the points I want to convey.
(In the middle section, I've reproduced some graphical illustrations that demonstrate the development of a speech that touches peoples imaginations and hearts. These are mere mental joggers and only intended keep me (the speaker) focused on the creative process.)
As a personal challenge, once a week I prepare a speech, whether or not I am assigned to deliver it. This keeps my mind sharp and enjoying an artform (speaking) that can refresh the minds and hearts of others. You will find two of those speeches in this month's (Dec.2011) blog writings.
So, TV can continue to dull the senses of everyone else (like the people in the animation WALL-E), but I for one, treasure this brain of mine and will continue to challenge myself to use my pastime for learning.
See also: http://bartreflect.blogspot.com/2012/02/smart-writers-start-at-end.html
I finally got around to creating a couple videos to show the actual storyboard I created. I divided this into two videos. In the first video, I show the actual storyboard and explain its features. In the second video, I explain the auxiliary information on the backside of the storyboard.