Chuffed about running Give and Get for one year, a meaningful milestone, someone asked me “Straight up – what are you getting from Give and Get in all this time that you are still doing it?”
Hardly a koan (a riddle with no answer). I’ve been paying close attention to exactly that.
It’s More than the Dinner
Obviously, aside from being introduced to the best grocery store freezer chicken for our collective dinner, stellar spanakopitas from the Greek neighbourhood where we hold our events, and laughing about the cost of houses in Toronto (and then having a good cry) with a great group of people that changes every month, there’s also learning that happens. My list of what I’m taking in is mile-high (just like the housing market) and grows each time.
If you want to learn something deeply, birth a project of your own and then study it. Anyone who has pioneered an initiative knows this to be true.
Our Murder Mystery Procedural
I’ve been particularly attuned to the quality of the listening and the feedback that happens in the creative problem-solving circle of project owners and feedback givers. We work with people to describe their project to people they don’t know and then make a request for ideas and/or resources. There’s a lot at stake here because if the project description is off-kilter, others may not understand the project or the challenge.
When Give and Getters first describe their project they almost always start at the very beginning, and provide the description of activities in the same sequence of how it evolved. Let’s call that a chronological account. Not often compelling and a bit of a jaw-wag, but we’ve all done it. We sometimes confuse our pitch with a murder mystery procedural. First this happened, then that, and on it goes until we catch up to the present. That’s not always helpful or compelling and nearly always far too detailed with fresh information for people to hold in their memory banks.
Speaking To Be Understood
Something interesting happens though when I’ve listened to the feedback givers assisting the project owners at our events. With our encouragement, they shape, tease out, cut out, and emphasize in the name of getting a clear story to emerge from someone’s mind. That is priceless. And it’s at least worth the price of a freezer chicken to get just that.
We all benefit from the strengthening of our stories and pitches inside and outside of our workplaces. Change isn’t possible without pitches and stories because these are the ways that we engage people and communicate a vision for the future of what we’re after. Committed listeners who are willing to ask questions when we meander to help us get back to the vital bits and tease out what stays and what goes to present to a larger audience are invaluable.
All of this is for the sake of making our stories easy to access and resonant so that no matter what sort of change we are leading, it makes it relatable and pulls others in to be a part of fulfilling our vision.