Hey you! Yea, you with the idea! You with the tip! You with the trick! You with the cool tool or resource! You who accidentally stumbled on the coolest site while browsing Pinterest before bed last night! Why are you so scared to share?
I recently asked some of my teacher friends this question: What keeps you from presenting, blogging, posting or otherwise sharing what you do or what you know? Here are some of their very honest responses:
So there it is - the truth. Can you relate to any of these? Maybe you feel like sharing your ideas or experiences with others makes you look like you're bragging. Maybe someone has given you a hard time (or you're a little bit nervous that they will). They see your awesomeness, and instead of being excited about it, they are just a little bit jealous (or you assume that they are). Maybe you tried it once and felt like it flopped. You didn't get the right laughs in the right places, or you were confused about why they were busy texting or browsing on Facebook instead of engaging in your presentation. Maybe you're thinking that everybody already knows what you know. They've seen it, they've done it, and they don't need or want to see or do it again. Or maybe you're thinking you don't even know enough to talk about what you're talking about.
Let's look at this from both sides. First, have you ever been in a training or a presentation where you really felt that the presenter wasn't knowledgeable enough, or that they lacked the confidence to be effective? Of course you have. And hopefully you just sat there quietly, thinking to yourself how you are glad you're not them and making a mental list of all of the things you would do differently if it were you. But have you ever been that person in the group who has made someone feel inadequate? Have you ever "disengaged" and allowed yourself to be distracted by a game of Candy Crush or an incoming text message? Do you know how that feels from the front of the room? Of course you do, because you would never put up with that behavior from your own students. Let's face it - we are a tough crowd to please, and one of the toughest audiences to entertain. We rarely get to see each other, and when we do, we have socializing to do, gossip to catch up on, and funny stories to tell. Plus there's that silly little distraction called your real life that keeps tapping you on the shoulder and crying out for your attention. Whether the presentation is good, bad, or just plain ugly, though, we are professionals and we should act like it. Let's agree not to be jerks, and hold up our end of the professional bargain by waiting to reply to the text, keeping the screen open to the presenter's Prezi, and holding our meanie-head opinions to ourselves.
If you, like I, can assume (or even just pretend) that most people will live up to their end of this deal, then maybe you're willing to take a risk. I recently asked a group of teachers at one school to participate in a Demo Slam. If you've never seen one of these in action, here's how it works:
I'll admit I did have to do a fair amount of begging to get presenters, but in the end, TWELVE people stepped up to the plate! The next day, I received this message from one of the Slammers:
So what's the moral of this story? YOUR IDEAS MATTER. Yea, the idea of it might make you want to throw up, and yea, there may be a jerk or two in the crowd (there wasn't at this event, by the way!). BUT you have to block that out of your mind and take a risk. Here's why:
1. People don't know what you know - we don't get out much.
2. Same but different - "I never thought of doing it that way!"
3. It's a long way from Skyview to Arrowhead . . .
4. It doesn't have to be hard.
5. What's in it for me?
5+1. Your participation in a presentation – don't be "that guy."