Saturday, November 26, 2016

Satyakam's Test

Back in April, we kicked off the Small Hands, Big Hearts Project with Shaluk and the tussle his mind faced with the melon, and tomorrow, we will revisit Satyakam's test and how he earned brahmvidya.

With tomorrow's sabha ghosti, let's use the 15 minutes in a targeted way to reinvigorate others to this elusive seva. Here are some ways to focus the discussion and keep the momentum going.

Know your audience: Survey your audience to see exactly what individuals are doing and frame questions accordingly.

  • If commitment is an issue, the discussion should focus on identifying opportunities using the example prasang as a guide.
    • Chaturmas just concluded, and if an individual gave up something for four months, there's a good chance s/he can solidify it as their sacrifice to this project
  • If commitment has been made, the discussion should focus on how to keep motivation afloat.
    • If Satyakam could give you 1 piece of advice, what would he say?
    • Imagine Satyakam participating in this project alongside us. From the prasang, how would he go about staying consistent with his sacrifice?

Do sampark: Let's not forget about those who may not be attending sabha tomorrow. Identifying ways they can sacrifice can serve as an opportunity to spark a conversation and do sampark.

Leverage your karyakars: Ask parents coordinators to communicate with parents of kishores/kishoris who cannot identify a niyam or may feel shy approaching their parents. 

Create a rally point: Graphically display your mandal's contribution in an area where they can see, like the sabha hall.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Data Science in Bal 1!

Viren - a bal karyakar and experienced Sabhaologist shares a great way to modify the un-unexpected of asking every kid a question.

During my preview for my Bal 1 talk, I said that I would get everyone’s attention by asking them who they loved the most and then comparing that to Bapa and using that to start my talk. The idea I wanted to convey was that Swamishri’s love for us is unconditional. I know from past experience that just asking Bal 1 an open ended question can lead to lots of talking. So what better way to captivate kids’ attention than doing data science? The best way is to see who everyone loves the most was to create a bar graph. Each balak was given the question “Who do you love the most?”. When every balak answered, we tallied for either mom, dad, brother, sister or grandparents. After tallying up each balak’s response, we saw that most balaks love their dads the most because they spend more time with them. However, then it was easy to connect this to how Swamishri loves us unconditionally though the balaks said they love their dads. If we graph Swamishri’s love for us, it would be impossible to graph. This idea of graphing easily caught all the balak’s attention and it was an awesome way to see Swamishri’s love is unconditional.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Connecting with Shaluk

With this upcoming weekend, we kick off a momentous project that will help fulfill one of Swamishri's very own sankalps, Akshardham North America.

To aid in our efforts of pitching this project, several karyakars went through the presentation and have created a video highlighting the important manan points. This video is not meant to replace the presentation but just as a guide to aid us in our preparation, especially since most of us are coming off Swaminarayan Jayanti.

As noted in the video, the idea behind a powerful prasang rests in how we connect the details with the concept at hand, and this Sunday's topic proves no different as we hope to generate energy and excitement.

Password:  Akshardham2020

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

15 Things to do before a Presentation

"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public." —George Jessel
It is uncanny how public speaking can make almost anyone feel uncomfortable. In the past we have explored how preparation (Simple, Unexpected, Story) can make a world of difference. However even the most confident of speakers can feel butterflies before a talk - even a talk they have given hundreds of times. The key is to harness these feelings and make the butterflies work for us. The following Business Insider article looks at 15 things we can do to make that happen. The entire article is worth a read. We wanted to touch on a few of the points. 

Remember and live up to the 3 Audience Truths
  • "This audience believes I am the expert."  This is especially true in Balika and Bal Mandal. However even in Kishori/Kishore/Yuva Mandal this can apply. You have read the syllabus, done your home work (SUS). So at the very least, the material is fresh for you. You are also the expert in your opinion and point of view.
  • "They want me to succeed." Nobody wants a boring sabha. Everybody wants you to do well because that means they are engaging in something of value. Samp is not relegated to basketball and team building activities. Samp is also rooting for you to give an amazing talk. Even the apathetic of audiences will be happy if your talk goes well.
  • "They don't know what I'm going to say." If you forget a prasang or don't say everything exactly as you planned - nobody will know. (Yes the karyakars that previewed your talk will know, but they REALLY want you to do a great talk - it's their seva - so they will be the ones who are most forgiving).

Take several deep belly breathe
Pranayam - it works.

Practice the first (few) minutes of your talk
Nerves tend to dissipate as our talk goes on. If we are going to choke it is going to be right at the beginning (I once messed up the Jai Naad when giving a talk). If we nail the first five minutes - the rest of the talk should follow with flow.

We never believed this one until we tried it. Smiling relaxes us when we are most stressed. Guy Kawasaki has written a whole book about it, which expounded the idea that true (duchenne) smile is indicated by crows feet at the side of the eyes. More recently Kraft and Pressman replicated an earlier study showing that forces smiling reduces stress. (They made subjects bite chopsticks whereas the previous study had them bite pencils).

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bal/Balika Go To Move #9: Trashketball

Continuing our guest posts, here is a great idea from Dev - a bal 1 sanchalak. Give it a try and let us know how it worked.
Image result for trashketball
This week in bal 1 we organized a retention game that the kids really enjoyed. The construct of the game enabled us to retain all of the information from the presentations spanning the past month. In this post we explore the many facets of Trashketball and use this to have fun with balaks/balikas and also help them remember and retain information.
Trashketball is a game which enables retention while having fun - because everyone loves throwing things in a trash can! The Sabha audience is asked a question and they get to shoot based on their response. The objective is to have fun but also remember information from past presentations.
  • Trashcan (Preferably metal but any one will work)
  • Small Ball (A small ball that is soft and nobody will get hurt with)
  • Questions to ask audience that relate to presentations

How to Play
  • Divide the audience into groups of preferably four or five.
  • Set up marks on the floor for 2 point, and 3 points, and set up trashcan. Putting it near a wall will help them to use it as a backboard, or can keep it away from the wall to make it more challenging.
  • Ask a group a question related to what has been presented. If they get it correct, they get one initial point for the correct answer but they can shoot the ball into the trash can from any point value to get bonus points. If they do not make the basket, they get only one point.
  • If the group doesn’t get the question right, the next group gets a chance to answer until a group gets the question right. If they get a question right on a steal, they can get the one initial point, but they will not be able to shoot the ball.
  • Keeping score on whiteboard or online can help increase the competition and the audience will have more fun.

This is a great game to play for retention games and your audience will have fun and remember what they learned.

Go To Move #8: Meet my Imaginary Friend

Recently a spate of Balika/Bal karaykars have come up with some really amazing ways to keep our kids attention during sabha. So for the next few weeks we are trying to send out and share these ideas. This week Kirtan, who presents regularly in Bal Mandal, shares with us his go-to move.

Do you ever get tired of presenting in Bal mandal because Balaks don’t listen to you? Do balaks always start talking while you are trying to make a point? Here is an idea that has worked for me. It grabs all the Balaks attention when they start to fade and is my favorite Go-To Move.
Many balaks understand the concept  of “an imaginary friend.” This idea is riff on that concept. The key difference being the imaginary friend is Swamibapa. For this to work, you really have to sell the idea that Swamishri is present in sabha. There are several strategies to establish this. I like to start by having a conversation with Swamishri  as soon as I enter the room (even before I start my talk). When balaks see you talking to your imaginary friend they will get confused and start laughing and think it’s funny. That is okay, it is unexpected and you now have their attention. But for this idea to really work you have to quickly make it clear to the balaks that your imaginary friend is Swamishri and that he is truly present and that we need to act as if he is present. If you can sell this the kids will be amazed that you have an imaginary friend that is Swamibapa. Leverage this amazement to make it clear that: “Bapa is going to be here in our sabha today so let's make sure we to pay attention and not mess around.” Once this is established, start the presentation. During your talk to can ask Swamishri questions. If you are about to recite a prasang, say it as if Bapa was really there. Try saying: “Bapa do you remember during your 51st Birthday in Dharmaj when you picked up all those used datan?”
One reason I really like this idea is that this is something all of us should really be doing in any sabha we sit in. We sing prarthna to invite Swamishri into our sabha, but then act as if he is not there. If we can instill this concept in our balaks, they may actually do this throughout their lives in any sabha they sit in (and we may start doing it as well).