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


Monday 29 September 2008

Positive reactions on Buddy experiment

Intergenerational partnerships: what does it mean in practice? Over the last five months members of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication partnered with Youth. 62 ( 35 Youth and 27 CEC members) out of 160 participants gave their opinion on this experiment in a web-survey held two weeks ago. The results showed a gender, age and regional balance among respondents. The average age of respondents was 36 with extremes of 17 and 72. On average buddies had contacted each other 7,3 times. Email was the most favourite way to communicate. Some buddies had had over 42 email contacts. A few had had face to face contact. Over twenty buddies had used skype and chats. A few had had no contact at all.

The objective of the survey was to learn about this modality of intergenerational partnerships. The majority of respondents thought that to have a buddy of the same sex was not a precondition for success. 2 male and 2 female respondents were of a different opinion. 38 buddies had discussed their professional work and career. Over twenty had communicated about professional skills or sustainable development. IUCN and Earth Charter were only a topic for 6 respondents. The added value of these contacts most respondents see in new ideas, inspiration and working together on a joint project. The buddy system was perceived by most respondents primarily as a learning tool for young professionals. Around 90% would participate again in a Buddy experiment or recommend it to others.

The average satisfaction level was neutral. This may have to do with the fact that especially Youth had high expectations and CEC members may have been too busy to invest enough time. From the comments and suggestions it is clear that buddies want to make their own choice who they would like to partner with, based on clarity of what the other party brings and want to take from the exchange. Quite a few respondents expressed the need for more facilitation, more reminders by the organziers, more joint projects and joint follow-up. During the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona the results of the survey will be further discussed in a special workshop. For more information on intergenerational partnerships: click here.

Thursday 18 September 2008

Framing the workshop theme

Talking in advance to panelists and participants, it appears that most people associate the theme environment and security with environmental care by the military. We want participants to think beyond environmental care. We are now testing some posters for in the workshop space to help frame the issue differently.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Organizing a round table

The objective of the workshop we are organizing during the World Conservation Congress, is to let the world of conservation meet with the world of security and explore new partnerships. Organizers, speakers and participants assume that this means every fifteen minutes another introduction. And as the military have to be specially invited to this Congress, they need to be a speaker in order to get permission of their superiors. We want a real meeting of minds, not a series of lectures. Round tables means everyone is a speaker. For a week I meet with partners and speakers. And over the phone I talk with invited guests. In the process we agree to invite the majority of guests as a speaker at one of the round tables. It works. We cannot get around all lectures. So we have now 3 key-note speakers, each 15 minutes, 5 panel members who submitted each two questions they would like to answer in two minutes and one and a half hour of 5 simultaneous round tables with plenary conclusions.

Sunday 14 September 2008

How to handle stress?

My colleagues organizing a conference are under heavy stress. So much that it seems to impact their performance. I remember the deadlines we had to meet when we worked for a pitch. Often for days deep into the night. And the way we kept stress at productive levels. For that you have to know what you are dealing with. When stress becomes too much you feel first a certain alarm, then resistence and in the end you feel completely exhausted. A certain degree of stress helps your performance. If it gets too much it impacts your judgment: you don’t know anymore whether you are doing the rights things or are trying to do the things right. It turns positive energy into negative energy: you become unfriendly, angry or aggressive. Stress finally stops your mind totally from functioning. It leaves you behind helpless: time for sick-leave. Unless you act in time. What can you do? Double-click on the box to read some advice from the old days, which is still helpful for me.

Friday 5 September 2008

Making a powerfull point

Today everyone uses Powerpoint for his or her presentation: here is an example - sent to me by Mercedes Sanchez - how to make a real powerful point. It shows that a presentation becomes powerful by keeping it simple and personal :
  • Each slide has a minimum of text and one message per slide.
  • The visual language supports the main message, using big simple images.
  • No details, no data, no flashy colours, no sentences, just statements.
    All slides contribute to the one point you want the audience to learn about and act upon. For more inspiring examples of making a powerful point look at: sustainable marketing.
  • Wednesday 3 September 2008

    Powering Change

    “Be the change you want to see in the world." The idea is to put this quote on a wrist band as a take away in our booth at the World Conservation Conference. I like the idea. It may touch people, some deep learning. But I thought immediately why not have a choice. Other powerful quotes from Mahatma Ghandi are e.g.:
    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
    "Poverty is the worst form of violence."
    "There is more to life than simply increasing its speed."
    "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."