Some things are best done in the dark. Watching SkyFall, sleeping, morris dancing.
Training, facilitating or speaking needs you and your audience to see the light (yes, that is a blindingly obvious metaphor).
Arriving in an outstanding training room high above London this week- large, flexible, good tables for a horseshoe, ample breakout space, tech-help, coffee, lunch- I was introduced to two electronic contraptions designed to make the life of a scribbling speaker easier. A cross between a Sportsbar's television and a dentist's chair, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum dominated the space. In fact they all but destroyed the space.
The full tutorial explaining what these chunky chaps could do is unnecessary but I can tell you what, essentially, they were: flip-charts. Massive, immovable, ugly, eye-wateringly expensive, electronic flip-charts.
I used the old-fashioned flip-chart, which I'd asked for. They only had one in the whole place. If I had wanted to copy what I had written- something the terrible twins could do by some magical silicon chippery- I'd have to find a way to do it involving my mobile phone and some typing. Not exactly rocket science.
The most hilarious aspect of all this is not the barking mad over-engineering; it's that it all has to be done in the dark. When I was given the MAGIC PEN to have a go on Tweedle Dee I made the point that this was all very nice but no-one, me included, could see much. The solution? Close the blinds. You could not invent a dafter notion than a client paying loadsa money to get a speaker in the room, or expending huge marketing effort to haul 30 clients off their sofas on a Tuesday, then sitting them in the twilight zone, without popcorn. (I'm pretty sure I got a quick flash of Mulder and Scully as the blinds buzzed shut.)
When I am persuaded to partake of the daft nonsense that is SkyFall I will be quite glad of the dark; sleeping is a favourite pastime and there's an outside chance of some snogging with The Snip.
But when I am one in front of many during the day, darkness is the enemy. There lurks disengagement, passivity and sly checking of mobile devices; all without the chance of a snog.
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about the author
Russell Wardrop is our Chief Executive. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.