Alexis Monville (en)

The worst presentation ever

Last week, I attended Agile Games New England. The last day of the conference uses Open Space Technology which is the best way to organize and run a conference.

With an Open Space, all attendees are active participants. They define the program and choose which sessions to contribute. They also have the freedom to leave a session when they think they are not learning or contributing. This is known as “The law of 2 feet” or “The law of mobility.”

I chose to propose two sessions for the Open Space:

One with Isabel Monville, to play a game with the participants: Kanjis. This one went great and I will come back to that session in a future post.

One by myself to discuss my book: Changing Your Team From The Inside. This one was the worst presentation I ever made.

What happened?

I picked the first time available, and so it was one of the first sessions of the day. When you attend an open space, and especially for the first time, you are confronted to a last minute choice of your first session. At the same time, you just heard about the law of two feet, and the roles of bees and butterfly.

  • A bee is a person that goes from breakout session to breakout session, maybe collaborating with some groups and cross-fertilizing ideas that come from another group.
  • A butterfly is a person that does not take part in any breakout at the moment to fulfill her own needs. Sometimes butterflies cluster in impromptu sessions and make groundbreaking insights.

You can choose not to attend any session and be a bee or a butterfly whenever you want. The freedom of choice brings some people to select late and to switch room frenetically hoping to find the best possible spot. All people also need to discover the space. After one session, it seems that everybody adjusts, and the last minute’s changes at the beginning of the next sessions are less disruptive.

I chose a small room with a triangle-shaped table so we could have a good conversation.

I started 2 or 3 minutes after 10. And just after I started people entered the room, and left the room for the next 5 minutes. Each time they tried to open the door they were pulling the handle instead of pushing. A bad design choice, if the door needs to be pushed, it should be a plate, not a vertical handle that suggests the door should be pulled.

Do you see what is going on there? I blame the circumstances. I try to justify what happens. If I continue down that path, I will learn nothing. A quick look at the Responsibility Process can help in that situation. It works this way:

  • Responsibility Owning your ability and power to create, choose, and attract
  • Quit Giving up to avoid the pain of Shame and Obligation
  • Obligation Doing what you have to instead of what you want to
  • Shame Laying blame onto oneself (often felt as guilt)
  • Justify Using excuses for things being the way they are
  • Lay Blame Holding others at fault for causing something
  • Denial Ignoring the existence of something

What really happened?

I started my presentation, and two sentences after the start, I was confused and changed my initial plan, tried to mumble through all the chapters without giving any airtime to the participants.

I knew it was not going well. During the previous days, I had the opportunity to sit next to a person who was taking beautiful notes in her notebook. Before the beginning of the session, I nudge her to be our notetaker for the session. During the session, I had her notes in front of me reflecting the growing confusion in which all people in the room were probably.

Someone tried to save the session. She found her way to interrupt me and the notetaker, asked questions, and put the session on a better track. Thank you!

What did I want to say initially?

This book equips you to make a positive change in your organization starting from the one place you can guarantee success – you.

The book is structured in three parts: The Individual, The Team, and The Organization.

Each chapter turns insight into actions that you can use straight away to build momentum and create lasting change from yourself to your team, from your team to other teams, and from other teams to the entire organization.

If you’re looking to make a change in your organization but don’t know where to begin, worried that nobody will listen to you, or fear you’ll burn bridges along the way then Changing Your Team From The Inside will give you a plan, increase your influence, and help you build high impact, sustainable relationships in the process.

This book has everything you need to build high impact, sustainable teams.

Jim Kwik said:

If an egg is broken by outside force, life ends. If broken by inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from inside.

I shared this belief that great things always begin from inside.

After that introduction, my goal was to open the floor to questions and facilitate the conversation from there, bringing more details of what you can find in each part of the book.

It seems that I was not ready to say just that. And as I was not prepared enough to deliver the message. I failed to deliver it.

Interestingly, even if I knew that it was not going well, I was not able to stop myself and ask to start over.

Something that I want to be sure to work on.





2 responses to “The worst presentation ever”

  1. […] two previous posts, OKRs! OK What?, and The worst presentation ever, I covered sessions proposed during the Open Space on the third day of Agile Games […]

  2. […] to participate to a fantastic event: Agile Games 2019. Here are three posts about the adventure: The worst presentation ever, OKRs! OK What?, Agile Games New England […]