I was at a session on Friday with a client and a number of our own people.
I could have presented my material (I think I knew most of the answers) and told them my opinion. But I wanted a bit of engagement and I find that people don’t engage with presented material, they become passive, sit back and just receive.
Why did I want engagement? The main reason was that I wanted them to start to own the things that we were talking about.
My solution was simple, but the impact was profound – I got A1 sized print-outs of uncompleted slides and asked everyone to get involved. Rather than starting with a completely blank piece of paper we had somewhere to start from, but there was still plenty to do.
Straight away people were engaged, they were so engaged that it took us a good 15 minutes to explain what we were doing. From the start the discussion was about “we” not “you” – “What are we doing?” Everyone was hooked in right from the beginning.
Armed with the A1 sized pieces of paper and a pen we went on to fill in the information with everyone contributing as we went along, even arguing vehemently about the content. Different people added value and it became a team effort with everyone contributing.
I don’t think that anything was put on the paper that I wouldn’t have put on the slides beforehand. What was different was the commentary that went with it, different people stating one opinion over another. I’m sure that each person who left that session learned something that they wouldn’t have done with a presentation.
The material wasn’t any different, only the media.
I’m not suggesting that we should do all sessions this way but what I am saying is that we still have a lot to understand about interactivity.
- How would this session have turned out if we had used a 3D world?
- What if the material had focussed on scenarios?
- Was it the paper that made it interactive?
- Was the interactivity partly because the set-up was a bit like a school classroom?
- Would the session have been the same if we had interacted with a virtual piece of paper?
- When are you best to simply present?
- What does art have to teach us?
- What does journalism have to teach us?
I still have a lot to learn.