Blog Post

Don't give talks - hold conversations

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 27 September 2011



Don't give talks - hold conversations
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 135
Posted DateTuesday 27 September 2011 11:00 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/media-player?o ... 

I am often asked to give a talk to an organisation and where I have the freedom to, I do my best to transform it into a conversational format.

A few days ago I discovered that Google Video had lost a video of one such talk that I gave at the National Library in Singapore in 2007 and so I uploaded it again to YouTube and in watching it, I realised it was an excellent example of how I like do things.

The traditional way goes something like this:
  1. Give the talk with loads of Powerpoint slides and don't allow any questions during your talk as it can upset your rehearsed speech and someone may ask you a difficult question.
  2. Take questions at the end but don't leave too much time as again you may be asked a difficult one or no one has any questions for you as you put them all to sleep and they are dying to get back to the office.
  3. Leave quickly.
The way I prefer, goes more like this:
  1. Give the talk (some Powerpoint slides are OK) and take questions as you want the session to be engaging and interactive.
  2. At the end of your talk, ask the participants to have a conversation about the topic of the talk or ask them a specific question. This can either be a short conversation at their tables or a more fully Cafe like session where they change tables in order to have a broader conversation with more people.
  3. Ask them to form a circle with their chairs.
  4. Continue the conversation as a whole group and take more questions.
  5. Hang around over coffee and engage in more conversation.
Just browse my talk (unless you are interested in it of course) and you will get the idea of how it all hangs together. Note: the small group conversation starts at about 44:00 and the whole group conversation in a circle starts at about 59:00.

Video: Knowledge Sharing Talk at NLB, Singapore

Knowledge Sharing Talk and mini-knowledge cafe at NLB, Singapore, August 2007

Media Information: Image

Try this for yourself. You don't have to be a professional speaker. The format is simple. It is easy to do. You do need a little bit of confidence to try it but people really enjoy conversation and they will love you for it. You can't go too far wrong.

I am coaching someone at the moment who is a newly appointed head of a University department and they have been experimenting with the format. Not only are they enjoying introducing more conversation into their meetings but their members of staff are too.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

Follow me on Twitter

How to contact me

My Blog

Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community is a global learning community of over 21,000 people in 160 countries across the world.

The community is for people who are committed to making a difference: people who wish to share and learn from each other and who strive to see the world differently, think differently and act differently.

Membership of the Gurteen Knowledge Community is free.
Knowledge Community


request help
visitor book
Friday 12 July 2024
08:41 PM GDT