Exploring ways to bring excellence to LIFE!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Day One - Great Learning

(Click on pix for larger view)
My first day was fraught with great learning. I delivered my workshop from 8AM to 12N and was received well by the eight individuals who attended, as well as the 15 or so who popped their head in to see if I was the Win Wenger, PhD. who was delivering “An Endless Reservoir of New Accelerated Techniques”. I consider this a compliment.

I guided the rapt audience through an agenda which included: The 3Cs of Graphic Communication - Characters Containers Connectors:

  • Learning to use the natural functioning of our brains
  • Routine practices to gather information
  • Understanding and utilizilizing the cross function
  • Listening and crafting a graphic message
  • Buildin a graphic language
  • Designing an effective visual using the 3Cs

The method developed can be delivered in three ways:

  • Virtual to an event
  • Blended - a combination of preparation and real time facilitation.
  • Real time – riffing as the event is happening.

We concentrated on the first two modes (virtual and blended) to acclimate people to the concepts in a way that was partially familiar. The goal was to get them to stretch slightly outside their comfort zone but not too far respecting that most people don’t typically draw, let alone draw among other adults. While most childhood practice has resulted in adult competencies, drawing (and painting, and sculpting) typically has not. Having drawn and dreamed in elementary school and not having done it since, it is no wonder most of us still draw like children and refuse to use our dreams as a platform for creating new ways to improve our adult issues. Goofy as this may sound this goofy practice is a key enabler used by many great minds throughout the history.

We spent our last hour creating a visual (poster) to take back home along with feedback on the positive elements used and areas with which to improve. Some examples of their work were:

  • A visual mission statement
  • A unique representation of the elements of graphic communication
  • A metaphorical representation of a key attitude shift that is critical to making change (the organizational kind – not the currency kind).

All evaluations were great, although one person referred to me as “Wim” (kidding). Due to factors I don’t completely understand, there were no other sessions starting in the afternoon so, I joined a small contingent of Clevelanders for lunch and some Austin culture. At 6:30 we found out the cocktail party was actually happening at 8:30 after the day’s keynote speech. Nobody seemed to know who was speaking, so, exhausted, I returned to my Austin homestead (Bayfront Inn) to capture the day’s activity and to stare blankly at the TV.

So where was the day fraught with knowledge? Well beside a day rich with Austin culture and the experience of delivering my workshop (always a learning), I also had an experience at the Baymont Resort which I was saving this for the end. Early this morning while procuring coffee, I got to talking to the desk clerk and the security guard. I explained that I was at a learning conference and was staying at their fine establishment because the Omni was "all that." I also explained that I did work to improve people’s ability to retain and use information. Turns out the desk clerk had dyslexia and both her kids had learning disabilities. She was a strong advocate of alternative learning techniques and described ways she used to overcome her disability. One in particular was her use of a transparent, colored sheet she laid on the page which locked words in place enabling her to read. We had a great conversation - perfect for a guy in Austin at a learning conference. Okay, it’s not the Omni, but who needs a mini bar and chocolates on your pillow. Oh she also told me a great story about her indestructible rottweiler, but I’ll save that for later.

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