My experience on Tuesday, presenting to my colleagues three consecutive times in forty-five minutes, felt very much like when I was a working musician. In most jazz groups I played with, we had a ‘chart’, so called because if provided enough melody and background riffs to play specifically, and then ‘chord hash’ that allowed an improviser to be able to play within the chord progressions (or not, depending on the player’s mood, sensibilities and abilities) while soloing.
My chart was my analysis of the article read and the framework that the presentation itself provided in real-time. As I presented, I noted my particular audience, but stayed pretty close to the chart, noting the bits of the presentation that felt better than others. When we opened up for discussion at the end, the conversations were very much like the feedback a player gets from the audience at a club or a concert.
The second time I presented, I altered my spiel a bit, taking what I learned of my presentation the first time and incorporating some of the sensibilities and interests that my colleagues showed in the discussion. The discussion was a little different, based upon what I learned about the discussion’s most salient points the first time. I was better able to navigate the comments and ask better follow-up questions.
The third time was the charm. I made a few more tweaks to the presentation, although I still had the worst time remembering ‘media system dependency theory’, flowing to the feel of the story and setting the stage for the conversation that I wanted to see in the discussion afterwards. The discussion was as interesting and original with the third group as with the other two, and I felt very engaged and very much a part of a larger conversation.
Despite the challenge of boiling these very intriguing theories down to about 7 minutes in an effective way (or perhaps because of it…), this has been one of the better learning experiences I’ve had of late. I feel that I have better grasp of the basic ideas of these theories, thanks to describing them several times. Of course, now I feel like I REALLY want to dig into each of them, but that is a different post….