Thursday, October 23, 2008


I have been noticing lately how the most popular academic speakers open the ears of professionals with PowerPoint, and then retreat, as quickly as possible, to the language and stories that touch the human heart. I have been noticing how impatient are professional audiences are with the highly professional presentations they appear to demand. Isn’t it funny how we rarely get the opportunity to touch the hearts of professionals unless we begin with professional language and possibly display it on PowerPoint?
Last week I sat among an audience comprised mainly of people who work in vocational and residential facilities for people with disabilities. We were listening to Al Condeluci Ph.D., supported by PowerPoint, an expert in the field. How extraordinary it seems that I have now told many others the essence of what I heard him say. I heard him say that all people want a job—something meaningful to occupy our time, a house—a place that is ours to inhabit, a car—a way to get somewhere, and friends. I heard him say that any of us who do not belong in a community need a gatekeeper—an accepted member of that community to bring us in and find us a place.
This is what I did not hear. I did not hear anybody saying he was wasting their time because they already knew the information he was giving them. I did not say it either, though the information was not new to me.
If he had presented the research from his PowerPoint, I would have had to look it up in order to present it again. But since he presented it to the heart through the door of story and the simplest possible language, I did not need to look it up in order to remember it.

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