So, as I reflect on the various sessions I attended in my blogging capacity at #CIPDHRD13, something hurts. The healing bit of this blog is inspired by Andy Lancaster , Neil Morrison and a conversation with Doug Shaw.
I am lucky enough to do work that absorbs me, stretches me, fascinates me, teaches me and that I love. There are parts that feel like harder work than others, and there are some bits that I would like to wriggle away from, and some people that I can’t connect with. I often learn the most from these situations.
I’m always studying too, I’m a girlie swot, I got laughed at when studying for doing ALL the reading and homework. Whatevs. I’m currently writing up a reflective portfolio of a humungeous amount of words evaluating myself as a coach. I know nothing and want to learn everything. If I could go back to school (primary of course because my high school education wasn’t worth remembering) I would. I’d have my hand up for every question, I’d put the hymn numbers up, clear the canteen and practice my italics.
So when I attend the sessions at conferences I want to hear everything you want to share, and I want to explore it.
But you unintentionally hurt me when you give me 30 minutes of powerpoint bullet points and no interaction. It hurts because I can’t hear you. Oh the disappointment, the missed learning opportunity. I can’t see you because when you talk at me a part of my brain shuts down. Then I start to physically hurt. The pain worsens because you are trying to tell me your story of how much the relational aspect of working with people is important to you. You are trying to share your commitment to making their environment one which nurtures people. You want to share your excitement of the great conversations you have facilitated.
But what I see is a photograph of people looking at a photograph. What I see is rows of chairs expectantly placed to look at you. What I hear is a description of tried and tested methodologies, such as a nine box grid (heart suddenly weighs more), what I hear is that you are still thinking top down (a little sinking feeling starts to drag me down).
What I’m waiting for is for you to be relational with me. What I’m waiting for is for you to jump about with your own excitement that with make my heart leap with you. What I want is a story about a person, who thought they couldn’t be something, but hoped, and who you showed their possibilities.
When I walk in your room where you tell me how important your people are, but you don’t ask me to get involved, somehow I don’t believe you. When you tell me that you must find more ways to prove ROI, I somehow doubt your veracity – how much would you stand up for what you believed in, how much do you believe in what you are doing? I feel pain when I don’t experience you in the way that you are describing is your way of taking people through change.
When however, I walk into the room and you have purple bumper boots on and you are brimming over with excitement and energy to tell your story, when your story by its nature shows the return on investment, when you make me laugh, make me catch my breath, when you ask me to think with you, then my pain dissipates and through my body hope breathes its’ soothing and uplifting spirit.
When I walk into a room and you are playing music, the tables are round and we are looking at each other as well as you, when your story heats us up with the flames of your passion and commitment, your stories, your pinkened cheeks as the blood raises as you remember the achievements of the people who took their empowerment then I believe you.
You pace, move, look. I can see you thinking about what you are saying, it’s still alive for you now, you want to wake us up, you want us to come with you.
My challenge to next years speakers, will be to work harder, more truthfully, more connectedly to bring your stories to life. Why not bring some of your stories with you to chat to us in person, why not invite us to a google hangout so that they can live stream their story to us, why not get your audience talking amongst themselves, why not get a twitter feed going. Why not give us some activities to do. We can read your case study afterwards, and about your organisation, it’s important but not as important as your story.
Wear your purple bumper boots and show us the passion.
PS thank you to Simon Heath for his artwork.