Video and transcript from Van Lai-Dumone talk at Control the Room 2022
Control the Room 2022 was an absolute success! We hosted our annual facilitator summit alongside our partner MURAL. Our wonderful connection between the live event and the virtual world, hosted by Mark Tippin, Director of Strategic Next Practices, Mark facilitated “Mind Shift” sessions, where he guided our attendees through a dialog about how everyone was impacted by the talks. He engaged both in-person and virtual attendees through our various activities in our conference mural. It was inspiring to have so many people joining in different ways and everyone getting the chance to communicate.
We also partnered with SAFE this year to support and honor a lost colleague, Jenni Robertson. The dedication of this summit comes after losing a coworker, mother, and friend to family violence and Voltage Control has pledged to work with SAFE to stop family violence for everyone. We wanted to take a moment and look back on all of the moments of insight, knowledge, and growth we all took part in over the course of the summit.
This year’s summit theme was SHIFTS, and as we move into 2022 we have seen shifts in the way we work, the way we connect, and the way we honor one another.
This year we hosted 18 facilitators in a hybrid space. We were live in-person, on Zoom, and even created our own Control the Room VR space, and we must say the event, even with a few technical issues, turned out to be a hub of idea sharing and growing with each other.
Each speaker delivered a 20-minute lightning session, and each session was filled with a sense of community, play, and story-telling.
Scaffolding Creativity Into Presentations To Generate Lasting Shifts
So I think that if you’re going to teach in one method, it should be using creativity, because when you use creativity what you’re doing is, you’re tapping into a capacity that every single person in the room has access to. So we’re talking about accessibility here. Creativity also expands our way of thinking, it helps us see in different perspectives, not only our own different perspectives that may be sub-conscious, but we really get to see from other people’s perspectives in the room and it also brings up ideas that are left untapped by left brain analytical thinking alone.Van Lai-Dumone
Van Lai-DuMone challenged our community to build their own “creative artifacts,” a reminder of creating something with your hands to remember what you learned and experienced. Using practical and creative problem-solving tools we were able to unleash our creativity and think bigger than ourselves, ready to move on to our next project with confidence. Remember to enjoy bringing creativity into your presentations.
Watch Van Lai-Dumone speak on Scaffolding Creativity Into Presentations To Generate Lasting Shifts :
And isn’t this really what we want as facilitators, is for the participants in the room to take the experiences we gave them and bring it into the world with them, you don’t want to leave the learning in the room, you want people to take it out with them and create those shifts and create those behavioral changes. So I will tell you though that no one that I work with will just jump straight into drawing, possibly the people in this room, because I think there are a lot of creators in this room, but generally when I facilitate in the corporate environment, people aren’t going to just jump in and want to share their creativity right away.Van Lai-Dumone
Thank you, Douglas. So Monica, I love what you’re wearing today, did you pick your own clothes today?
Yeah. So did I. And I’m going to say the same probably holds true for most of us in the room. So we have all at least done one act of creativity today. I want to read you an excerpt from a book that I clearly like, it’s called, 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think and in it Brianna Wiest writes, “we not ebb and flow in and out of creation. It is an unseen constant. From the clothes we choose, to the sentences we say, to the way we arrange our desk at work.” So what this is saying is that as human beings we’re all innately creative, yet as human beings and as adults, often we don’t claim our creativity. There’s so many workshops I go into where people say, “I’m not creative.”
So clearly when you’re running a workshop, running a presentation, the last thing anyone wants to do in the room is just jump into their creativity and start sharing that with the rest of the room. So what I suggest is that we scaffold our creativity into our presentations so that you’re really having people tiptoe into this creativity and really allowing themselves to expand into it as they go along. So, where’s my slides? There they are. So as Douglas said, my name is Van, I’m the founder of Worksmart, where you team and leadership development all through the lens of creative integration, which basically means, I do everything through creativity, play and experiential learning and you’re going to get to experience a little bit of that today. So first, what is creativity and why should we be using it in our facilitations? Number one, creativity is a capacity that every single person has.
So I think that if you’re going to teach in one method, it should be using creativity, because when you use creativity what you’re doing is, you’re tapping into a capacity that every single person in the room has access to. So we’re talking about accessibility here. Creativity also expands our way of thinking, it helps us see in different perspectives, not only our own different perspectives that may be sub-conscious, but we really get to see from other people’s perspectives in the room and it also brings up ideas that are left untapped by left brain analytical thinking alone. And then in terms of why it’s important to facilitate through creativity is, number one and I’m trying to read off of that, but I can’t see that far, so we come down here, so it keeps the audience active and engaged. We are able to get people to get out of their seats, into their hands, thinking with their hands.
At least people energize rather than feeling drained and it creates opportunities for connection and collaboration and what it does, it offers an experience that brings up emotion. And when you get people to think and feel with their emotions, that’s when you get those shifts, the mental shifts and the behavioral shifts and that’s what we’re looking for as facilitators. So a couple other organizations that believe in creativity and education, [inaudible 00:03:21], the National Education Association says that creativity belongs everywhere. It creates new knowledge that doesn’t exist before, and it helps to synthesize information and bring joy and meaning into the experience. And then also drawing, this one specifically talks about drawing. Drawing is superior to activities such as reading or writing, because it forces learner to process information in multiple ways, visually, kinesthetically and semantically and studies have shown that it boost memory, increasing recall by nearly double.
And isn’t this really what we want as facilitators, is for the participants in the room to take the experiences we gave them and bring it into the world with them, you don’t want to leave the learning in the room, you want people to take it out with them and create those shifts and create those behavioral changes. So I will tell you though that no one that I work with will just jump straight into drawing, possibly the people in this room, because I think there are a lot of creators in this room, but generally when I facilitate in the corporate environment, people aren’t going to just jump in and want to share their creativity right away. That’s why I talk about scaffolding creativity. I use a lot of materials in my work, and I will tell you there’s a difference when I walk into a room or when people walk into a room and I’ve brought my canvases and my paint brushes, I see the fear in their eyes, versus when I have Legos on the table.
Everyone knows what Lego bricks looks like, everyone’s played with Lego bricks. So Lego bricks are sort of the low hanging fruit of creativity. People walk in and they’re excited when they see the Lego bricks. So what we want to do by scaffolding creativity into your presentations is you want to start out with that low hanging fruit and get people to interact and explore their creativity before you ask them to do anything further. So basically you’re tricking people into their creativity. So scaffolding creativity, start with something familiar, something that participants have seen before and it’s really just going to get them to think outside the box and think a little bit differently. So here’s our first scaffolding activity today, it’s a word search. So take a look at this word search and pick the first word you see, just write down the first word you see. And once you do that, turn to a neighbor and tell them how does that word apply to how you facilitate. So how does that word that you saw apply to how you facilitate? It’s going to take just one minute to each to share.
All right. I know, in a room full of facilitators, we can talk to each other all day, but let’s come back together. If you didn’t get a chance to share it right now, definitely share a little bit later. So this is a great tool, as you just saw, to get people to talk to one another and use their imagination, use their creativity, sort of like forcing that connection between something they found and a topic that you brought up. So this is one way you can start people in their creativity. A couple other things you can do is pick an object, ask them to pick up an object and tell a story about it. Storytelling is a great thing, and we’re not looking for anything profound here. So I can say, “this is a marker, I bought it at Target, because I can’t really get past those one to $5, little aisles there without buying something.”
Or you can share a bunch of words and have people pick two or three words out and share what brought them to this workshop, what they want to get out of this workshop, again, we’re just trying to get them to tiptoe into their creativity. So the second level of scaffolding, I want to talk about, is this use of visual prompts.
Now, what you’re asking people to do is take a look at an image or a group of images and apply meaning to them. So what we’re going to do here and again, using imagery, it gets people out of that left brain, analytical thinking that as adults we’re generally in any way and particularly in the workplace and by doing so, what you’re doing is allowing subconscious ideas to arise. So here’s the activity I want you to do at your tables, we’re going to do this as a group. Taking these two images or characteristics of these two images, think about what could you combine about these two images that could help you facilitate in a hybrid environment, again, taking characteristics of these two images, what characteristics can you combine to come up with something that you could use in a hybrid work environment or hybrid facilitation environment? So go ahead. No wrong answers. Wild ideas are welcome.
There’s a lot of talking out there. There’s got to be… Oh, Eric.
From my partner here, we’re doing, full steam ahead. So you [inaudible 00:08:18].
Awesome. Great. Thank you. Okay. So the idea here is that you’re trying to get people to use their eyes and their vision to force connections and the beauty of creativity is as a facilitator, you can get as creative with this as you want to. So for example, you can use something like this and say, “how will we solve for this challenge? How could you explain for this opportunity? Or how could you create something new?” You can use it in any way you want. The beauty of the work I do and the beauty of the work the creative people, creative facilitators do, is that we can just make stuff up and make it make sense. So here’s another way you can use this, I call this one force connections, I often use, I love this one, because I will tell you every time, I show these four pictures to hundreds of people. And when I ask them questions such as, “take a look at these pictures, and come up with a characteristic that solves for a problem, that overcomes a challenge, to vet an opportunity to represent something about yourself”
It’s amazing how many unique ideas come up. I’ve heard so many unique ideas just from these four pictures. The other beauty of this work is that, we as facilitators don’t need to know the answers, we offer the tools and the space and the answers, as we all know, come from the people in the room, we’re co-creating this experience. So, that’s the second level of scaffolding and the third one and the last one I’m going to share with you today is this idea of kinesthetic-hands on learning. So what you’re doing with kinesthetic hands on learning is you’re replacing that passive form of learning with movements and with action.
And you’re literally thinking with your hands, there’s oftentimes I’ll put Legos on the table, pen and paper on the table and ask a question and tell people, “don’t even think about your answer. If you don’t have an answer, don’t even think about it, just start using your hands, start building with Legos, start sketching and drawing and see what ideas come up for you.” And that’s when these subconscious ideas might come up.
It promotes retention in the doing, rather in passively sitting, you’re doing so you’re activating more parts of your body in that kinesthetic learning. So this is what we’re going to do today here is, we’re going do a sketch. Now we’re going to go into our sketches and we’re bringing back the idea of the superheroes. So as facilitators over the past few months, now actually a few years, we have gained some superhero powers, wouldn’t you say? There’s a lot of things that we’ve had to learn to do, we are all, as [Galia 00:10:51] said, superheroes. So what I want you to do is pick up a pen and paper, and you’re going to sketch your facilitator superhero power. I gave you some examples here. Maybe you’re captain pajama pants, we’re facilitating on Zoom and you can look professional from the top up, but you’re wearing teddy bear pajama pants from the bottom down.
Or maybe you are the incredible zipper mouth. You have the ability to be patient and not say what you really mean. Oh, got laughs out of that one, we all know that feeling, or maybe you’re the super multi-tasker, you can actually facilitate and play [inaudible 00:11:29] with friends on your phone. So, that might be you. So take one minute here or a couple minutes here and go ahead and write down your superhero name and sketch yourself as a superhero. Okay. Let’s start doing some shares, who has a super hero sketch and a superhero name they would like to share out loud?
The concept is, the queen of rituals.
I feel like I’m really great, especially in the pandemic period, about developing rituals and routine and culture in various types of meetings and online events for people that create a sense of warmth and belonging and…
That is a facilitation superpower, for sure. Thank you for sharing. Let’s get two more people to share. Who else is brave enough to share? When you share with others, you give other people [inaudible 00:12:35]. Okay. We’ve got two here. Can you give me your name too when you…
Yeah. My name’s Katie. Mine is, exciter girl and my superpower is saying, “yay” for others and ideas.
Love it. Thank you for sharing that.
Yes, I’m [Anemaria 00:12:54] and I said I’m, super congeniality, just getting everybody [inaudible 00:12:59] my life.
Awesome. These are all amazing superpowers as facilitators and as human beings, really. Okay. So clearly the idea with creativity is that you’re bringing out play and fun as well as we talked about earlier this morning and it can get serious, not too serious, but you can also use the sketching to say, “sketch a takeaway from today’s work” or, “sketch an idea to solve a problem, to overcome a challenge, to explain something, to create something” as facilitators it’s in the question asking, it’s just giving them that tool of creativity and then you ask the question and let them come up with the answers and I will propose that actually the more serious your topic is, the more important it is to input creativity into your work, because what creativity does it balances because we’re all creative, it levels that playing field.
It gives everyone an opportunity to address the issue at hand in a way that makes sense for them and it opens people up to more conversation and more discussion. All right. So I have three minutes. The last thing I’m going to talk about is this idea of doing something with your hand even further. In my work, I often use creative artifacts and a creative artifact is this idea of allowing people to make something that they take back with them. And I love creative artifacts because in my work over the last six years, what people remember, when I hear from people who’ve taken my workshops, even six years ago, is like, “I still have that artifact. It always reminds me of the work we did that day.” If you’re like me, I’m a copious note taker, I went to Catholic school.
You see my book and you see how much I highlighted on to some of these slides, I’m a note taker, but what I do with those notes is absolutely nothing, they go in my notebook, in a drawer and they never get looked at again. So I came up with this idea of a creative artifact, allowing people to make something with their hands that serves as a reminder of the work you taught them that day or that you guys co-create together that day. So I brought some of these cubes today. So what I’d like you to do is grab some wherever they might be. I think Chris will put them out later, there’s some markers at this front table and use these for the rest of the day, whatever your learning points are, that you want to take away from today that was meaningful to you.
There’s so many quotes I wrote down from earlier today that I’ll be putting on my cube and write them down, sketch pictures that remind you of it and put this on your desk. Another artifact I like are rocks. Many of these ideas I got from my child’s preschool. Just rocks. Write down on these rocks, paint the rocks, paint your ideas, paint your values, paint how you want to present and keep them in front of you as a reminder of when you go in front of an audience, when you’re talking to someone, how do you want to show up?
So with that, I’m going to end with just this idea of bringing creativity into your presentations and scaffolding it gives people the opportunity to tiptoe into their creativity and open up themselves and the other people in the room to a different and new way of communicating and sharing ideas. And I guarantee you, when you can get people to share through creativity, they’re going to share bigger and better ideas and be more collaborative. So enjoy bringing creativity into your presentations, this is how you can contact me. As the people who already know me know, basically I live on LinkedIn, I think I have a house there. So you can always find me on LinkedIn. Thank you for your time.