Building on the review of how Sir Ken Robinson crafts his text, his voice and body movement, and the style he uses to present, let's look a little deeper at what else is going on with this successful storyteller.
Mindset: The "role" Robinson plays is essentially the Academic, with heart. He appears to stand in the middle of his authority and competence, without having to defend it.
For those of you playing along at home, try each of these statements out. Say each of them them to yourself a couple of times:
--I am smart, I am not stupid.
--I know what I know, I can handle this.
As you notice how each of these statements, or mindsets, feels when you say it to yourself, you might notice the effect they would have on an audience. The first creates an audience that you can defend your "I am not stupid"-ness against, since they will challenge your intelligence any chance they get. The second invites behavioral flexibility and permits everyone to be who they are without needing to defend against anything. (Not convinced your internal state creates external experiences? You might pick up some groceries while running "I am not stupid" in your head, and then report back to the team about what you find.)
Target Audience: Robinson is specifically connecting that segment of the audience that was a Kid with a Dream who was kept down by The Man. The part of all of us who was a child, or has children, who misses that feeling of being excited and creative, and can point to specific moments where a someone in power kept them from being amazing. It's not the most primal feeling, but it's pretty basic for anyone who sees themselves as a visionary or identifies with visionaries.
Message: The present state of how children are educated is bad for children and teachers, and here's what we do to make it better for everyone. One message, with a narrow focus. From a sales perspective, he's got one product, it fits in this box, it's your size. And here are a bunch of stories to let you know this is exactly what you've thought was missing all along.
The Effect: Robinson paints pictures in the mind of the audience. He lets the audience experience the emotional content of the narrative. He's not working himself up to show big emotions. He's letting the audience respond honestly as he tells unadorned, heartbreaking stories of students and teachers with big potential being squashed by institutional thinking.
The main takeaways from Sir Ken Robinson's model of presenting that anyone can use boil down to:
- Know who you are, and know that you know what you know
- Care about what you care about enough to get others engaged
- Organize your content simply, so the audience knows where they are
- Start from where you are and build on your vocal and physical strengths
- Respect the audience's intelligence and the emotional truth of your words
What else do you see in his presentations? What are other assumptions you observe him making about himself, his subject, and the audience? What did I totally miss the boat on?