Small interventions, big changes

Adrian Trenholm has really got his teeth into blogging at 173 Drury Lane. I particularly enjoyed his story The Fabulous Baker Boy. It may start off like a standard customer service complaint but this one has a great ending – one that illustrates something I’m excited by: how apparently deeply habitual behaviour can be transformed by a simple intervention.

It reminds of me of presentation I saw twice recently (part of an event where the show was run twice). The presenter was telling a story about the building he was in and how it came into being.

The first time, he stood at his laptop, facing the screen with the audience either side. The presentation was fine but nothing remarkable.

The second time, he stood at the screen, faced the audience and cued a friend to change the slides. After cueing him verbally for a bit, hoe got bored and instead snapped his fingers. The more he got into finger snapping, the more his body swayed into his talk and the brighter and more engaging he became. His talk went from interesting to captivating, and everything was different: his posture, his movement, his eye contact, his breathing, the variety in pitch and tone of his voice. This guy was almost dancing and storytelling at the same time.

And all that happened was he decided to stand somewhere different. Everything else grew from that.

You probably know the apocryphal story of Michelangelo being asked how he created the fabulous statue of David. He said “Oh it was easy, I just chipped away all the stone what wasn’t David”.

In the same way, I like to think we all have some genius inside, waiting to be revealed. And sometimes it doesnt’ need weeks of chipping away to find it.

The presenter could have gone on a series of courses to improve his voice, his breathing his posture, his eye contact, his storytelling skills etc etc. But in fact, all he needed to do was stand somewhere else.

I’m not saying breakthroughs are easy… but sometimes they are closer and easier than we think.

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