Well, I don’t know…

I’m always interested in new challenges and I might have been in my own comfort zone for too long. I read Johnnie Moore about why Q&A sessions don’t work and his great analysis of the power differences between speaker and audience and how that makes the audience passive (or active) aggressive. And that reminded me of a situation in Ghana, where my young colleague was able to turn around this “I’ll rip your presentation to shreds” atmosphere in the room into true helpfulness and support. And he did something very simple. He just said: “These are some things we don’t understand. Do you think you could explain them to us?” And these were not rhetorical questions or strategic interventions to make the audience happy. He was just honestly and genuinely saying: You have a lot of experience, maybe you can help.

It’s years ago and I only now remembered it. And I know that I often get so enthusiastic that I give “Why Net-Map is so great!” kind of talks. And it’s safe and comfortable to try and pretend that I know it all. So I set myself the challenge: The next time I give a talk I want to find at least one thing that confuses me and humbly ask: “I don’t understand this. You have a lot of experience, do you think you could help me explain it?”

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