Class Introduction & Warm-up
We're gonna talk about what it means to be an inclusive presenter, but first we're gonna go through all the different lessons that we're gonna go through in this class. So one of the first lessons is gonna be practicing active and engaged listening, making sure that when you're in some sort of presentation format, whether you're the presenter or you're someone listening, maybe just even in a meeting, that you are actively and engaged while you're listening.
We're going to work on how to be an empathy machine. Improv does this naturally, but we want to harness the power of improvisation to think about how to really intentionally be an empathy machine.
Yeah, we're gonna focus a little bit more on focusing your attention on who you really are and sharing things about yourself in the form of facts and anecdotes so that you can actually connect with people and learn more about each other because you can finally find bridges with people that have differences with you by just being yourse...
lf and sharing more.
And then we have some quick tips for empathy in online meetings, things that we've used and ways that we have found really helpful when conducting those new technological kinds of meetings online, and then even how to then apply empathy in your presentations.
Wonderful. So let's review the POINT system. In all of our classe we talk about our training system. POINT stands for presence, originality, inclusion, narrative, and transformation. And in each of our classes, we focused on one of those points of emphasis. And this one, as we said, is going to be inclusion. And inclusion means a lot of things to a lot of different people. But in this particular class, we'll go into our definition in just a second.
Great. So we also, because we're using improvisation and sometimes when people hear that we're going to do improv or improvisation, it can feel a little scary or intimidating. So we want to make sure to set your minds at ease and set some parameters around what we mean by improv and improv thinking. So we want you to be spontaneous. That means that when you have an idea, we want you to embrace it and share it with the group.
We want you to focus on your partner, make each other look and feel good. Big part of improv is not thinking too much about how you're doing, but making sure you're supporting the other people that you're around.
We want to work on this idea of how and when we yes and. So how do we validate someone's idea and then add to it? And even how to we think about using our own ideas and validating those and adding to our own ideas and yes and-ing ourselves.
And as usual, the final thing is to have a good time. Have fun, because even though public speaking, to a lot of people, is a big fear and improvisation can be kind of scary in its own right, we want you to know that even in the studio, and for the people at home as well, you're in a safe environment. Everything we're gonna do, we're gonna guide you. And there's no consequences to getting it wrong. We actually want you to take little risks and maybe make mistakes here and there because that's how we're gonna learn from it.
Great. Are you guys ready? Yay! (applause) So woo! So we want us to get prepared. So one of the most important things we need to do and we've covered this in some of our other classes in more detail, but as we really want to get ourselves warmed up and ready to go, so we've done a shake out in several other classes. We're gonna do that again, because it's such a great, easy way to get our bodies, our minds, and our voices warmed up. So if everyone can stand up. If you're doing this at home, please feel free to stand up and join us. You can always remember to take care of yourselves. So if you can't stand to do this, please do this from your chair. If you have any injuries, take care of yourself. It's really important that you do this in a way that feels comfortable for yourself. Are you ready? So we're going to shake out each limb. We'll shake our arm one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. And then eight, and then eight, and then eight. And then we'll cut that in half. Four, four, four, four. Two, two, two, two. One, one, one, one. And then how do we want people to land? Dinosaurs, I believe, is what we decided, right?
Yeah, let's have dinosaur poses.
So we're going to pose like dinosaurs, whatever that means to you.
You want people to move around as the dinosaurs too?
Let's figure that out when we get there. Yeah, let's figure out when we get there. So everyone take a nice, big deep breath, and we're gonna count out loud, ready?
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two. One, two. One, two. One, two. One, one, one, one.
Let's see your dinosaurs walk. I'd love for them to make a sound as well. (imitating dinosaurs) Sorry, Adio, sorry. Oh, freeze for a second. Jerry, what kind of dinosaur are you?
I'm like a Brachiosaurus thing.
It's pretty obvious. Yeah, no, we can tell. Great, Samuel, what kind of dinosaur are you?
I'm like a baby T-Rex. (laughing)
A baby. Jonathan, what about you?
Oh, okay. What's up, smart guy? Great. So let's dinosaur back to our seats, yeah? So keep it up. Keep it going, dinosaur back. (imitating dinosaurs) Those are some pretty fantastic dinosaurs. Thank you.
I felt my hands might actually become claws at a certain point. (laughing) I was like, "They're stuck. "They're not gonna ever move."
One day, if you dream it, you will be it. So one of the reasons that we love shake out, as we've said, is it gets our blood flowing. It gets kind of our silly bone moving so that we feel a little bit funny. We feel a little bit ridiculous. It pushes us out of our comfort zone, but it also allows us to really get our voices, our bodies, our minds warmed up very quickly. So it's an exercise that we often recommend people to do right before they go on to present something or as they're getting ready to go onstage because it does allow you to hit a lot of different points very quickly and helps you to get in the mindset that makes you a little more ready to go on with a positive, happy attitude. What are we gonna do next?
What we're gonna do next is our first example of an inclusion exercise. It's another warm up, but it's gonna get us right into the mix with what we're talking about in this particular class. And it's called I am Sammy, and I am here. You're gonna put your name in in place of mine. But the way that it works is we're all gonna get up again. We were just dinosaurs and you were all very scary. But now you're just gonna be you. Because a big part of inclusion is being acknowledged, having a voice, having equilibrium and equality within the room that you're in and within the organization that you work for and being heard. So it's very, very simple, but it's a very, very powerful exercise. It's also gonna have, as usual, a Speechless twist on it where it's gonna be a little sillier than if we just did it in the usual way. But I'd like everyone to stand up first. And then maybe just find a different place in the room before we start walking around. So just go ahead and find a place and obviously, stay--
So try to stay in the light.
Within our little rectangle of light, here. So just find--
As much as we can.
Find a spot to just stand. We're gonna just kind of, big part of this is being respectful to each other's space. So we'll be practicing that as well. So the way this works is I'm just gonna be the person walking first just so you kind of watch and hear me. We're all gonna be walking. So just picture us all walking around. At a certain point, someone is going to stop and decide they want to be acknowledged and be heard. And I'm gonna say I am Sammy and I am here. It's a very simple statement, but very powerful to basically have the floor, where no one else is speaking while you're speaking and be acknowledged by everyone. And the way that we're going to acknowledge back just to put a little fun twist on it is we're all gonna pretend that that person is someone that is famous or that you really respect or maybe you're thinking of them as a celebrity and you're the paparazzi. And the way that we're going to acknowledge them is we're gonna whisper that person's name and say that they're here. So you would all say, "Sammy's here. Sammy's here. "Oh, my gosh. Sammy's here." However you want to do that. So it's silly, but it also is going to feel good to hear your name repeated back to you. That's a big part of this too. Did you hear the person's name? Did you say the person's name back to them? And did you make them feel special? 'Cause it feels special if you come into a room and everybody's excited and there's a little buzz. So we're gonna create that buzz every single time. So we're all gonna do it at least once. I'd like to hear everyone's name, everyone get acknowledged at least once. So if you already have said your name and said that you're here, please don't do it a second time until we feel like everyone has done that. And each time you hear someone's name, you're gonna stop, and you're just gonna whisper that person's here. So that makes sense to everyone?
All right. So let's do it. And let's make this very difficult for the camera crew. Here we go. (laughing) So just walk around in silence. At any point, you can just plant your feet and be the first person to say your name and that you're here.
I am Shaweet, and I am here.
Shaweet's here. Shaweet's here. Shaweet's here. Shaweet's here.
All right. Continue walking. Thank you, Shaweet. Did not expect her to be here. (laughing)
I am Areena, and I'm here.
Areena's here. Areena's here. Areena's here. Areena's here.
I am Jared, and I am here.
Jared's here. Jared's here. Jared's here. Jared's here.
I am Jonathan, and I'm here.
Jonathan's here. Jonathan's here. Jonathan's here. Jonathan's here.
This is really fun.
I like that Jonathan whispered thank you to us.
I'm Heidi, and I am here.
Heidi's here. Heidi's here. Heidi's here. Heidi's here.
I am Alba, and I am here.
Alba's here. Alba's here. Alba's here. Alba's here.
I am Kimberly, and I am here.
Kimberly's here. Kimberly's here. Kimberly's here. Kimberly's here.
I know, I'm here.
Wonderful. Take your seats. Give yourselves a round of applause to thank each other. (applause) So we've already been dinosaurs, and we've already been celebrities and paparazzi. It's been quite a day so far. So let's talk about how that felt on both sides. Each person did it at least once where you actually planted your feet and said your name and said you were here. So what were your experiences? How did that feel to know that everyone was gonna focus their attention on you and not speak over you and listen to what you had to say? Yes.
Empowering to have the moment.
Empowering to have the moment. Wonderful. Did others feel that way?
Yes, I was thinking like so often in a company or another situation, it's just the opposite, where you're not recognized at all and you don't recognize the other people.
Yeah, I think, go ahead Shaweet.
I was gonna say in the beginning, it feels a little awkward to not start off by saying "excuse me" instead of just taking the space. I wanted to say, "Pardon, I don't mean to bother anyone but I'm here."
That's a great--
But the second time around, it felt better.
That's a great point. I think a lot of times when you do have the impulse to speak up and be heard, you may be also have the impulse to preface that with an apology, which is ridiculous, that you need to apologize for speaking and being yourself. Go ahead.
For me, it was interesting how fast we were connecting with each other when there was several times when two people would stop and about to start speaking, and how fast the connection was happening when who's speaking and who's letting go.
Yeah, it was really cool to see that happen a few times. It was nice.
Giving and taking focus, which is really a big thing in improvisation, in general, but I think it's in communication too. I mean, far too many times, and I think we're all guilty, I'll speak for myself clearly, of just being too excited and just kind of running rough shot through the conversation. You're not trying to speak over, not trying to interrupt. It just happens. There's an energy, but in this, we're just taking our time. There was a lot of silence, and that's good. I think sometimes we're a little uncomfortable with silence, but it was nice. How did it feel when you heard that people were acknowledging you and whispering that you're here and excited about that? What did that make you feel? And raise your hand if you have a comment. Yes, John.
It was a little new. I liked it, but it was like a fresh experience, actually.
New in that people really don't whisper when you enter a room? (laughing) Are people like, "Get out of here John!"
Just even though we have all given talks and been in these situations, just to have half a dozen other people sort of recognize you in that way.
I felt really awkward. In fact, I found myself kind of posturing a little or something. I felt awkward because it seemed so unusual. Sometimes for some of us, it's awkward to receive a lot of attention.
Yeah, that makes sense. And that is completely valid however you felt, clearly. I mean, having people acknowledge you might not be what you want or it might not be the kind of attention you want. So know that in the context of this exercise, it's about making you feel good and letting you know that we all are acknowledging you, but this might carry over in a different way into a real setting. And one of the ways I can think of that this feels really good, in a practical application, especially for presenting, is if you ever present with a partner, or with a team, or you're maybe at an event where a lot of people, we work with a lot of companies that do a lot of public facing conferences where multiple people are part of the same general session or keynote. And we encourage them to do exercises like this just together 'cause it just makes you feel good before you go out and the same for anyone watching at home as well, just having a partner just make you feel special, make you feel like you're a big deal, even if it's for a few seconds, it kind of boosts your spirits a little bit. And you can do on with whether it's a presentation or the rest of your day.
I think there's something else. I don't know about all of you, but I really love the moment when I get to acknowledge someone. So I think there's something really rewarding about that too of what it feels like to be acknowledged but then also the moment of getting to say, "Sammy's here, you guys, Sammy's here." Feels really good and I wonder how that can carry over into our other work, right? So that when someone comes into a meeting, whether they're on time or they're late, often we're kind of running from one thing to the next. How do we cease someone and really let them know we see them and we're happy that they're here. So how do we give them that body language, that facial expression that says, "I see you and I'm glad you're here. "Even though you're 10 minutes late, "I'm just so glad you're here." I think that can change some of those dynamics that Jonathan mentioned of we're not used to walking in a room and having people celebrate our existence, right? They're not necessarily wishing we weren't there, but the sense of you're here, you're always here. But that moment of just, "I see you, "and I'm so glad you're here," I think can really boost our egos. But it also just makes us feel connected in such a positive, wonderful way.
Yeah, it just makes you feel welcomed and acknowledged. I mean, I've walked into so many meetings, and I'm sure I've done this to other people, maybe unintentionally, where the people's heads never come out of their laptops and then you sit there and you're in an hour meeting and they still haven't looked up at you. And it's not that anyone's done anything wrong, because a lot of times people are working. This is me working. This is not baby T-Rex anymore. Unless baby T-Rex just got a job. But you have to know that the simple gesture of just looking up at someone as opposed to not, is powerful and it's easier said than done because we're all just in our own little worlds, especially at work.
Yeah, so I want to just really quickly, we want to define some of these things. And these are our definitions. This is what we're using for our work today. A lot of these words are words that are thrown around a lot and we use a lot in a lot of different ways, perhaps misuse. So we just really want to define what they mean for us. So for sympathy, those are often feelings of pity or sorrow for someone else's misfortune. And I often think of it as kind of someone standing and pointing at something. So the gesture becomes, "I see you. "This looks really hard. "I feel bad for how hard it is for you, "but I'm not necessarily in that position. "I can't even necessarily relate to that position." But I can see and acknowledge that it's something that I see as hard or hurtful or challenging and acknowledging that. Empathy I think of as, if sympathy is sort of pointing and acknowledging, I think of empathy as more openhanded. Really wanting to connect with someone, see someone. So it's more of an identification with feelings and thoughts. So we often will say we want to be in someone else's shoes. It's that situation and that feeling and thinking about a time when I have felt similar experiences or experienced something that was similar so that I'm really trying to understand and really be in the moment and understand the feelings. And then for our purposes, inclusion, for our workshop today, we really want it to be where everyone feels equally respected and valued so that we're all bringing certain things to the table and those things are equally valuable. So none of us need to change who we are or change what we're doing, unless it is hurting another member of the group and then that's a different conversation that we have. So we really want everyone to feel in the room that there is equilibrium and we're all included just because of who we are and what we're bringing.