“Creativity is the defeat of habit by imposing originality and change.” —Andy Law
I’m a writer. I must engage editors and readers. But over the years, I’ve practiced grabbing the attention of middle school students, corporate colleagues, Bible study participants, Sunday school and Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) preschoolers, my children and grandchildren, and young male prisoners.
Here are 3 things that worked.
1. The next time you prepare to interact with people, stop, consider your habitual method, and then change one thing so participants will take note. An attention-grabber is what makes the point you are trying to get across memorable. Ask yourself: How can I report this information or guide this activity or write this paragraph differently to hook participants?
Example. As an actuarial analyst in a health insurance company, I asked myself how I could get VPs to focus on a potential problem from my profit analysis. The film “Top Gun” and “Danger Zone” from its soundtrack were popular. On my graph, I inserted a horizontal line at the critical threshold and labeled it DANGER ZONE. Feeling like a top gun analyst for a few moments, I enjoyed hearing the VPs bandy that terminology while they discussed options.
Example. One opening activity in BSF was to explain the meaning of the US flag’s colors. Rather than smearing my face with red lipstick, I created a tricking game that would keep the wiggly preschooler’s attention longer than a shocked moment. Wanting to stop me from tricking them, the children engaged immediately. I whipped grapefruit-sized dots in four colors from my apron pocket one at a time. Initially, they called yes or no whether the flag had a dot’s color.
Although learning the meaning of the colors wasn’t our purpose, I played the simple game often because the children loved when I feigned disappointment that I hadn’t tricked them. By the year’s end as I extracted dots, they yelled: “Red is for courage!” “White is for liberty!” Blue is for loyal, true, and faithful!”
3. Call on others to help your creative effort. Whether I prepared for presentations with analysts or trained weekly with BSF children’s leaders or submitted chapters of my manuscripts to critique partners, others often vitalized my preparation for my everyday activities. And for me, God is the One I seek first.
Example. As an actuarial manager, I had a problem to solve for a presentation. I asked my favorite analyst into my office. I went through several, “What if we …,” “No, that won’t work because …,” “But how about …,” and finally, “That’s it! Perfect. Thanks for your help.” The analyst smiled, rose, and left without having said a word. Sometimes you need a warm body with ears.
Your turn. How have others helped you plan engaging activities?
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