Day 10 – Free lateral thinking and creativity lesson
The creative process applied to public speaking or speaking in an “informed” manner.
Hold on! Don’t run away scared!!
You are not going to believe how powerful, yet how simple and effective, this lesson is. This lesson applies whether you are speaking to an audience of one, or a million and one. It requires the exact same creative strategy.
Whether speaking to only a small group, or an audience of millions, there is only one piece of advice you need to remember . . .
“Always speak as an expert . . . and the only thing you are ever truly “the ultimate” expert on is your own personal experiences“
Saved by the cat
A huge restless and highly agitated audience awaits the arrival of a specialized speaker on the subject of the medical benefits of involving pets/animals in the rehabilitation of victims of alien probes. The speaker is running 10 minutes late.
Your boss tells you that you have to go on stage and address the audience without upsetting them by admitting the speaker is running late. He wants you to go up on stage and speak about something so the audience doesn’t catch on to the debacle. What do you do?
The answer is simple. You speak to the audience as an “expert”.
As a highly confident creative speaker, you take a minute to think about your own experiences with being abducted by aliens and being probed. No luck there. Okay, but you do have a personal experience that you can relate to the audience about your journey as a child recovering from something and how beneficial having your pet cat around was to that recovery.
So now you jump up on stage, and you relate your personal experience with the cat. You are the world’s leading authority on the subject of your personal experience with that cat, and the audience can relate back to their own experiences with pets.
Things are going well.
Next, you might tell the audience how it is that you personally find yourself present today, and how you personally came to be so interested in the potential of pets to help the very traumatized victims of alien probes. Once again, you are an “expert” on your own experiences, and the audience can relate their own personal reasons for attending.
The audience is actually enjoying your speech because you are an expert on the topics, and they can relate to your experiences.
The ten minutes is nearly up. Time to put a closing point to your talk. Once again, your close should relate to personal experience, so you tell the audience something like . . .
“My point is ladies and gentlemen, there is substantial evidence that animals can assist the traumatized. I, like many of you, have personally felt the calming effect you receive from the love from an animal or pet. It’s why I understand this cause, it’s why I’m here. Can you now please make welcome our guest speaker for today . . .’
As the guest speaker walks on to the stage, with the applause for your introduction resonating through the halls, he thinks you’re a tough act to follow.
Nothing you will ever have to face in real life will be as tough as that subject and situation I promise you. If you can imagine yourself managing that task it is all downhill from here.
YOUR EXACT PERSONAL EXPERIENCES ARE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE TO YOU
Your life is filled with personal experiences. Many interesting, controversial, frightening, happy, sad, frustrating, dangerous, fun, weird and hilarious experiences fill your memories.
The secret is to always keep your speech/talk/conversation to your own experience because invariably, if you attempt to speak as an expert on anything else, eventually you’ll run into some painful know-it-all who knows more than you (or at least pretends to and you won’t know better).
When you speak about your personal experiences, there is no “right or wrong”, no argument, no debate, no question . . . YOU are the ONLY authority that can relate your own personal experiences.
LET’S TRY THIS
Structuring your own ‘personal experience’ talk
Let me clarify something for you before moving on. If you witness something, or you hear about something in a way that impacts you, it is still possible to relate your own “personal” experience to that subject. For example:
“I remember turning on the television and seeing the World Trade Center collapse.”
It is YOUR memory. It is your personal memory. The impact it had upon you is personal, but it is a personal experience that others can relate to.
Okay, just because I know some of you will probably say I need to also give you some advice about the structure of your “personal experience” talk, here is what works well for me (I’ll relate this to the speaking requirement above):
- Try opening with something strong (“There was a time that my pet cat became my only friend as a child, or so I imagined”);
- Engage your audience. Don’t speak “at” them, engage them in a conversation. Usually posing questions can achieve this well (“Can you remember when . . . ? Have you ever . . . ? Isn’t it great when . . . “)
- Speak from the heart. Whatever it is that you have to say, say it with passion and meaning (“That cat saved me, or so I imagined at the time”);
- Finish with a clear point to make (“The doctor eventually put a band-aid on my finger, my mum kissed it better, and I was okay once again. However, the love and comfort from my pet cat meant more than anything to me that day, I will never forget. It is the reason I am here today, it is the source of my passion for this great cause”).
It’s okay to leave them laughing.
CREATING NEURAL PATHWAYS
Talk the talk
That’s it today. Why not try this exercise as a way to practice this skill and also interact with others (especially kids, this is an amazingly powerful way to give children confidence):
- Pick on someone who deserves it . . . your partner, the kids, your parents, or the neighbors with the noisy dog;
- Tell them what you are trying to achieve and ask if they can assess/critique you at the end;
- Ask them to pick a topic, any topic, the crazier the better;
- Take a minute to prepare and maybe think about the points I’ve made above;
- Speak for at least one full minute on the subject as an expert of your own personal experience;
- Ask the listener what they thought was the point that you made and whether they thought you handled the topic well;
- Share with the person the creative speaking technique you are attempting to master;
- Now let them try the same thing with you as the critic this time. The subject I suggest you choose for them would be “alien probes . . . how our pets can save us”.
Lateral thinking lesson 10 – Summary
By speaking from personal experience, you will always be speaking as an “expert”.
You may notice that our list of topics covered is getting pretty long. Don’t worry, the very last lesson is a creative MEMORY technique that I promise you, you will never forget! We’ll be filing these lessons away in your memory using your imagination as a filing system so that you can pull them out when you need to.
YOUR LEARNING JOURNEY PROGRESS
Three things you now understand about the creative process are:
- Creative thinking is merely the combining of two or more ideas that haven’t been combined/considered before;
- Our education and life experiences can often lead to a “blinkered” viewpoint; and
- Never be afraid to defy the experts. Experts are often reduced to being cogs stuck in the machinery of their own expertise.
Creative thinking/lateral thinking skills that you can now use are:
- Random starting points;
- Considering the viewpoints/perspectives of others;
- Challenging the status quo by asking “why?”
- Look off the path of dominant thinking;
- Backwards planning for achieving goals;
- Setting goals of passion; and
- Creative speaking.
See you tomorrow.
DO YOU HAVE AN OPEN MIND?
I don’t, not really.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve traveled through life building some clear, intelligent viewpoints that you can substantiate and articulate well. You have a lifetime of gathered experiences and supporting evidence to back them up. The older I get, the LESS flexible my thinking. (I must be getting very, very old I think)
Blinkered thinking is an inevitable outcome of life’s longevity. However, life gave me one hell of a shake-up. I met an actual witness to the alien UFO encounter at Roswell. Something I will be eternally grateful for and something I would like to share.
Roswell’s Final Witness is a personal journey of discovery as the shackles of my lifetime of experiences and beliefs are smashed. That journey has been recreated, with artistic license, so that the reader can fully appreciate the magnitude of my personal discoveries, the significance of what I’ve uncovered that potentially threatens the very existence of mankind.
The writing of Roswell’s Final Witness is nearing completion. Your journey is about to begin.
Michael Muxworthy – Author
Lateral Thinking Investigations . . . of the Third Kind