In last week’s post Send Me Your PowerPoint in Advance I wrote about the fact I will work on a presentation right up to the morning of the presentation and sometime up to just before I deliver that presentation. I used to think this meant I was an undisciplined, unfocused procrastinator. I have learned to reframe these perceptions and accept this is a positive trait that works for me.
This system lets me think about and reflect on the presentation, the audience, what I am reading, what I am listening to right up to the day of the presentation. In the lead up time I am always learning, reflecting, thinking and making new connections. In that time I am also teaching, doing interviews for the Excellence in Training Academy and the ILEETA Learning Lab, I am listening to podcasts, watching interviews, reading books, doing online courses, attending presentations, writing weekly Excellence in Training and W.I.N. Wednesday blog posts, and reading other people’s blogs and newsletters.
I realized I wasn’t unfocused, I had simply learned over time when to keep my focus broad to allow as much information in as possible, and when to tighten my focus to prepare a specific presentation. This focus might shift from broad to narrow repeatedly over a number of months as I build elements for a specific program then leave it for a while before coming back to it.
I wasn’t that I am undisciplined. In fact I am very disciplined. Disciplined in my commitment to not settle on the final product or presentation until I had collected as much data and as many insights as possible. This is why every presentation is a little different than the one before, and this process allows me to deliver the most up to date relevant information possible.
I realized I wasn’t stalling or procrastinating, I was learning, planning, thinking, reflecting, growing and making new connections between what I was learning and what I already knew. I have come to realize and accept that for me, this is what the creative process looks like.
Your creative process may look very different from mine. You may have different rituals, philosophies, methods of collecting and filing stories, quotes or other material. It is important for you to develop a creative process that works for you. It will likely go through a lot of iterations over time. It certainly has for me in the 30 years I have been involved in delivering training.
The key is to keep learning, growing, making connections, creating, delivering, and refining.
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