Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Living Outside The Box Sustainable Lifestyles

Most definitions of sustainable lifestyles talk about three key areas: minimal environmental impact, not undermining the carrying capacity of resources and helping people interact with the communities and places in which they live. 
The UNEP Taskforce on Sustainable Lifestyles in its recent report points out that 'people will only change their lifestyles in exchange for a better one'. This means sustainable lifestyles should be attractive and desirable. Its more than savings on energy bills, it is also about happiness, social relations and quality time. Read more in the Ecologist. The report is produced by Futerra.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Next generation footprint calculator

The fieldprint calculator – developed by the Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture - helps farmers assess their operational decisions. It is an easy way to find out how current land use, energy use, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil loss compare with state and national averages. Most footprint calculators are aimed at consumers to give feedback on lifestyle changes. A few aim at companies providing benchmarks to reduce carbon emissions. The field print calculator belongs to a new generation footprint calculators that are tailored at specific professions to help make better informed decisions on the job. In Fastcompany Magazine CEC member Joe Russo explains the knowledge management model behind these new generation tools: “GPS-enabled yield monitors allow us to get site-specific field information for 1- to 5-meter areas. But when it comes to weather forecasting, the most specific we can get is about 1 square kilometer, where there can be a lot of variations in canopy heat and moisture. So there's a gap .that's what we're trying to bridge by combining modeling with physical observation. We use precipitation, effective precipitation -- how much water breaks through the canopy and reaches the soil -- and evaporation levels of the plant and soil to figure out how much water is actually present. Water is precious. Knowing exactly when to distribute it in an exact amount means huge savings.”

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Briefing authors for a special of a magazine

Briefings are often done on line. Sending just an email with the request to write an article is not enough. These are some points of attention when briefing a new group of authors for a special of a magazine. The email itself should be short and personal. The briefing should be in an attachment. See also: Successfactors for a good briefing and Briefings for communicatuion support. Click on the image to read the points.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

What to tell and how to tell it?

For a presentation – focus not only on content but as much on your style. In my last posting I provided some suggestions on how to organize the content. From my musical education I also learned that playing all the notes accurately does not turn your performance into music. Similarly a good presentation in terms of the sonata form, still can be boring. With the result that people afterwards do not remember much of it. So apart from the content we have to think what makes people really pay attention. These are a few points that have helped me:
1. Ask the audience one or two questions about the themes of your sonataform that they can answer by show of hands, then do your talk referring to the answers of the audience.
2. Tell the subject of your talk and ask the three things they would like to know most from you: in your answers you improvise around the themes of your prepared sonataform and be prepared to go beyond.
3. When interacting, give positive feedback to the public, e.g. I heard you have much experience in…; your show of hands proves your positive attitude towards…; that is a very good question that makes me think of the following story…. Etc.
4. During a concert the conductor also does not show the score, so leave the powerpoint in your notebook (if you have one send it in advance or afterwards with the invitation to mail you questions). A talk without powerpoint can be more powerful than one with all the distractions of images and words.
5. Be relaxed and make your mind completely empty before the talk (don’t concentrate on the themes of the sonataform – you know them already by heart); be open to anything that happens when you get on stage, smile, make eye contact, use humor, show emotion and use silences. Be like the audience: a normal human being of flesh an blood. Show what makes you tick. The more they like you, the more they will like what you tell them.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

For a presentation - use the Sonata form

The sonata form comprises an exhibition, a development and a recapitulation. It is the most common form of the first movement of a classical symphony, solo concert or string quartet. In the exposition the main themes or theme groups are presented, in the development the themes are elaborated, questioned and argumented. All tonal, harmonious and rythmic developments are finally resolved in the recapitulation of the main themes from the exhibition. Similarly in a presentation one should start with the two or three key messages one wants to convey to the audience. Next one should illustrate each of these messages with examples and stories preferably from one’s own experiences. One should conclude with repeating the main messages.
A colleague of mine has to give a 12-minute presentation on communicating biodiversity to consumers. The themes she choose were: ‘perception is the only reality’, ‘people change because they want to’,’ let others tell it’. We talked about developing the first theme with stories about generating attention and interest of consumer groups by changing the focus on biodiversity messages and using jargon to focusing on people’s own situation, experiences and values and using plain language. The second is to be developed by stories how change in behaviour of large groups is more successfully triggered by appealing to people’s own motives and drivers. And not by rules, penalties and prohibitions. For the third theme we thought of stories where she had used intermediaries that are most credible to consumer groups and who conveyed messages from their context that (also) benefit biodiversity. For the laggards behind finally we need strict enforcement and if that does not work we should reach out to the responsible agencies.