Childish But Effective

The word ‘Childish’ is used as an insult – used to accuse someone of being immature, silly or annoying. However, thinking like a child is a wonderful way to rediscover your creativity, curiosity and joy, the three things which are vital for rich, inspiring communication and a true connection with your audience.

Play

I find that the very best moments in my communication are when I am free of self-doubt. Ultimately this is a state you achieve with your closest friends: no rules, no limits, no ‘wrong’. Now, clearly the idea of ‘no wrong’ could be dangerous, but with those you trust, you don’t have to actively think about it or worry that you’ve overstepped a boundary, because it’s instinctive.

When performing stand-up comedy, the playful, childish part of my mind was indulged and developed to such an extent that I can completely trust my own ability with a group of strangers whom I’m leading, whether I’m training them or giving a talk. The layer I add – now that I have the responsibility of training rather than entertaining – is to give useful information. Combining that with a style that occasionally amusing or frivolous creates something very special.

Creativity and Curiosity

Think differently to everyone else. Throw off the limits of the usual thinking, where everything unfamiliar is questioned and doubted. That approach removes all the exciting possibilities – it’s an adult way of thinking that won’t help you access the good stuff.

Forget whether you should be interested in something, just go with your instinct. The insult “Little things please little minds” always annoyed me because I used to be fascinated by simple things with possible complexity such as the physics of a spinning top or the different trajectories of a rubber ball in a particular geometry.

Joy

Go with the flow: when something unexpected happens, embrace it and move forward. Does someone come in late to your presentation? Welcome them and ask them to introduce themselves, with no criticism or awkwardness. The tech fails? Make a joke about it abandon it and move on. Power cut? Get your phone out and illuminate your face. Have fun and you will achieve everything that you want – that counts for communication as well as a lot of other things – if not everything – in your life.

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