A number of times over the last few weeks, I have been speaking to groups about the topic of flexibility. I’m constantly on about how flexibility is a useful state to hold in any presentation and allows you to truly be there for your audience.
This has got me thinking, what exactly is a “state of flexibility”?
A state of flexibility I believe involves all three realms, emotional, intellectual and even physical. The physical we can work on easily enough through exercise, yoga, tai chi etc. So how to work on the others? I believe non attachment is a key. Non attachment seems to instil an idea of flexibility.
I woke up with a phrase yesterday “Hold your values lightly”. I thought this was really exciting. So it’s about having values, having ideals and having opinions, and holding them lightly (ie without attachment) – so that you are able to listen and hear other values, ideals and opinions; to be OK that they are different from yours, and to even perhaps learn from them. If I am rigid with my opinions, they become dogma and I will never be in a state where I might learn from another’s ideas.
As a presenter, it’s important to stay a learner. What is the point of going into a situation where you had the idea that your audience wanted to know about cloud accounting, and when you get there they don’t even know what accounting is! Is it going to be useful to them for me to continue on with my prepared presentation and ignore that they completely don’t understand the basics of what I am talking about? Probably not, I would think. It would be of more value to stop and be ‘flexible’ enough to acknowledge where they are at and to meet them there.
To develop flexibility I also believe in the approach that it’s not about me! If I am coming from a position of positional power and I have things I want them to learn, then I am probably going to approach a presentation with my ego firmly upfront. The problem with that is, that egos are prone to bruising, and audiences’ responses, reactions and that monkey mind in my own head can be perceived to be negative, and my ego will jump to the defence. If I am coming from a position of service ( of personal power) then it’s not all about me – it’s about my ability to serve, to put my audiences’ needs at the fore and to go into dialogue and conversation, rather than lecture.