Monday, January 4, 2010

Sticky Shibir Talk

A fellow sticky presenter used the SUCCES method to make a shibir talk stiky. Here is his take on the process.

"So I had to do this talk a few months back on balancing Satsang and education. Thanks to some presentation hits and misses, I knew the first thing I had to do was think of the audience -- K2 kishores. K2 kishores are very different from K1 kishores. I can play a red-light-green-light game with K1 kishores and they'll be satisfied. K2 kishores like to be treated as adults and they like to be talked to as adults. I've generally found discussion-based learning to be more effective with K2, but that wasn't an option for a general talk like the one I was to give.

I decided that the best way to get their attention was to push the envelope. I wanted to "get noticed" by the audience, so within the first two minutes I shared some ridiculous goals I had set as a kishore in high school after a priority-setting presentation done by a yuvak, which included going to Harvard or Stanford, becoming an international man of mystery, marrying a pretty girl, and benching 300 lbs. These initial goals ended up sticking with the audience really well, and also got a lot of laughs. They were bought in by then.

The rest of my presentation relied on pathos and self-reflection. I incorporated A LOT of personal stories that I knew would resonate with everyone. I even talked about girls (carefully, of course) -- I figured it would have offended the kishores more if I pretended that this wasn't a big deal. This too ended up being sticky (unexpected).

I decided on a very simple, image-driven slideshow to accompany my talk. My last slide had three takeaways -- if they didn't pay attention to any of my presentation, those three points could sum it up well enough. I also had an easy-to-understand venn diagram to support a few of my points.

I think the most important thing I did in the talk was play on their emotions by doing two things. First, I took time to explain to them how their friends might be making them feel guilty about doing Satsang. Many kishores came up to me to talk about this point after the presentation, unsolicited. I also ended with some lines from an email sent by a sadhak about buying into Satsang (many people may have seen it already).

This write-up really doesn't do justice to the format and delivery of the content. But I did look back at the book and realized that I had inadvertently made this talk sticky -- it was simple, unexpected, emotional, credible, concrete and filled with personal stories. And if I were to work backward and apply this model to every talk, this is what I would do:

1. Come up with the takeaways (no more than three)
2. Find a lot of stories around those takeaways, some that push the envelope or really encourage reflection
3. Make sure you have a strong, attention-grabbing introduction

The rest of the sticky points just fall in place. I tried this for a karyakar goshti and it went really well too, even though I wasn't doing all of the talking."

Have you given any sticky talks lately? Let us know so we can share our SUCCES-es.

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