I’ve Been Thinking…

I’ve been thinking about the picture in last week’s post:

bird balancing on balanced rocks
billbalance – busy. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

 
At the time it seemed to capture the feeling of the previous week–a precarious balance. But after thinking about it more, that was only a part of what was going on. I don’t like to live my life that way. This picture is a closer match:

balanced rocks
schmeis. Used with permission. Owner reserves all rights.
 

It’s not nearly as spectacular, but I like having a solid foundation. Even when I felt pressed by a deadline I was focusing at least as much on developing needed skills as I was on preparing a specific talk. I still took time out to experiment with, and practice, new techniques so they would be there for me when I needed them again.

My main problem with the talk was I had too much information and had trouble figuring out what to include, what to leave out, and how to organize the mess. Power Point was a blessing. Even though I had never used it before, when I went poking around on the web for some ideas, I came across these tips on how to create a good slide show. The tips not only made it easier for me to get started with an outline, they also gave me a template to use.

Power Point Tips:

 
My Talk:

Once I had the template and outline all I had to do was to liven the talk with some cartoons and pictures from Flickr.

The talk went well, which was fine, but even more importantly, if I ever have to do something like that again it will be a lot easier. Yes, I do believe in skill development. I feel a lot happier knowing I have a solid foundation to build on.

What About You?
How important is skill development to you?

Thanks to suzen, tikno, Diane, Evelyn, bikehikebabe, rummuser, and Liara for commenting on last week’s post.
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17 Responses to I’ve Been Thinking…

  1. Grannymar says:

    Interesting tips Jean. Thank you for information and links

    Grannymars last blog post..Food Monday ~ Peanut Fingers

  2. tNb says:

    Incredibly important! What surprises me is the range of skills I’ve been developing this year. This morning I’ll continue working on my auditing skills (yawn) which means my poor little brain will be ready this afternoon to switch to developing my weeding, painting and grouting skills. In the evening I’ll have another attempt at developing my cooking skills — no accidental poisonings yet, fingers crossed …

    tNbs last blog post..And Now We Dance …

  3. Cathy in NZ says:

    one of my papers this semester has had a full gambit of power point slide shows – some have been so diabolic to print out that black/grey/white scale the only way to read them.

    Even then one lot the big leaves they had used printed black which hid the words…now for some reason they have gone to a different format which I still haven’t fathomed out how to print!

    We have a class rep, first time for me to use him…emailed for him to ask lecturers to clean up their act or at least email us how to print this new format out :-)

    Good to hear, that you are extending your skills and getting some ‘solid balance’ going for you as well.

    (not typed with the help of the Dragon…no excuses! just forgot to attach this evening…)

  4. Mike says:

    Skill development was very important to me when I was working. Back in 1983, when I got the job that I wanted as an instructor, I decided that I would do what I could to be the very best instructor I could be, since I really didn’t want to do anything else in the company.

    I would take the initiative to learn things on my own while my coworkers primarily learned the things that they had to.

    This helped me appear to be more innovative and to actually be more innovative in my classroom presentations. There is a difference. I was using the new stuff first, but I was also using it effectively.

    I used games, music, toys, and activities in adult learning situations before accelerated learning became “the” recommended way of teaching in our organization.

    In our group, I was the first to try to use computer generated presentations — before PowerPoint. When PowerPoint became available, I was the first to use it.

    Before I left, I was the only one who had stopped using multiple bullets on each power point slide. I may have had a lot more slides than most people, but there was usually only one statement or phrase.

    I was also the only instructor to finally go PowerPointless. In many of my classes, I stopped using PowerPoint. A lot of people are kind of burnt out on PowerPoint and I found going back to using the board for the visual part was actually innovative and different from what anyone else was doing.

    Sorry if I went on a little long here, but your question struck a chord in me about the good part of the job I retired from.

    Mikes last blog post..Traveling in Tennessee, Virginia and Wednesday Weigh In

  5. tikno says:

    Skill development is so important for me. If not, I always one step behind.

    tiknos last blog post..Reflection From Hunger For Us

  6. Whenever I’m doing a new project I build in skill development time. Most often, there’s something to learn and I want to make sure I have enough time to learn it while doing what I need to do. When deadlines are tight, I make notes on what I need to revisit so I don’t miss out on good learning opportunities.

    Laurie | Express Yourself to Successs last blog post..You’re Amazing

  7. suzen says:

    The post is as fascinating as the pictures! Learning new things keeps (or it should keep) us from a myriad of things that aren’t healthy, mentally or physically – such as boredom, depression, lethargy, arrogance to name a few.

    This year has been one filled to brim with newness for me – going into computerland, the blogsphere, learning as I go, developing new skills I never thought I would. Its refreshing and also a good opportunity for me to keep hold of the Beginner’s Mind.

    Congrats on having your presentation go so well – no surprise!!! :)

    suzens last blog post..Parenting – Passages – Letting Go

  8. I’m always building my skills especially with technology. To tell you the truth I’m always overwhelmed because there is too much to learn…

    Tess The Bold Lifes last blog post..Monday Magic Freebie Cheryl Richardson’s New Book

  9. Jean says:

    Grannymar,
    Glad you liked it. ;)

    tNb,
    Thanks for coming by. How did you happen to come up with “Atomic Dogma?”

    Cathy,
    No doubt about it, some people get so hooked on new technology that they forget what it is for!

    Mike,
    Thanks for the long reply. I love it when a post touches a chord. That’s what I’m aiming for!

    I agree about making only one point per slide. The talk was discussion, slide show, discussion, so it wasn’t all PowerPoint. PowerPoint helped a lot because I’m a visual thinker and I wherever I could I used pictures or cartoons rather than words. I couldn’t have done that it I just had a flip chart.

    You might like the PowerPoint version of the Gettysburg address.

    tikno,
    I agree!

    Laurie,
    Yes! I can’t imagine doing things any other way.

    suzen,
    Thanks for making that point. It’s also a great way to keep from worrying…which is what mind tends to do if I don’t keep it having fun learning new things. :)

  10. bikehikebabe says:

    With years of ripping out seams when sewing, I learned–the hard way–how to do it right the 1st time. Now I’m really the expert, after 60 years. Good feeling tho’ I don’t have time to sew now.

  11. Jean says:

    Tess,
    I purposely buy new technology just so I can practice figuring out how to get it to do what I want. I figure I don’t have to know everything, but I don’t want to feel helpless either.

    bikehikebabe,
    It does feel good to know how to do it, though, doesn’t it? It seems to me the more we learn the more confidence we have in new situations.

  12. Evan says:

    My life decision was, “I am incompetent and therefore unacceptable”. It’s taken me years to largely re-do this decision. This has lead me to a rather fraught relationship with skills development. Especially as a big part of me is a teacher.

    One of the paradoxes I confront repeatedly is that there is a skill of being present and getting out of the way. Focusing on skill I think is a great place to start, but we also need to be able to leave this behind. Hope this makes sense.

  13. rummuser says:

    I have just come from an other interesting post :http://www.blackinbusiness.org/ where, this is the comment that I posted:
    “At my age, my skill sets are all in mothballs. I would not like to trade them for anything any way as I have worked hard for my retirement and am really enjoying just being a hippy.

    Some of my hobbies, now allow me to experiment with life. Cooking and writing are two most important hobbies that now take up quite a bit of my time. Due to the latter, I have made many new friends, such as you, and with the former, I have been able to build relationships with other serious cooks with who I exchange recipes and samples!

    rummusers last blog post..A Sales Representative’s Dilemma – III

  14. Jean says:

    Evan,
    I can see where you’re coming from, but I try to separate my skills from my feelings of self-worth. Developing skills is more a commitment to lifelong exploring and learning. As suzen says, it’s a way to practice being in Beginner’s Mind. For me it keeps life fresh and magical.

    rummuser,
    The way I see it you are developing new skills. ;)

  15. Looney says:

    Now I am pondering the difference between “learning” and “skill development”. I am always sticking more information in, but then some is leaking out. A few years ago I started learning snow boarding, but this left me with a knee injury that eventually needed an operation. “Skill development” is scarier than “learning”, but it still needs to be done.

    Looneys last blog post..

  16. Jean says:

    Looney,
    As I understand it facts are stored in the hippocampus while skills are stored in “process memory”, in the cerebellum. Process memory tends to be more stable than the other kind. One treatment for people with Alzheimers is to let them practice the skills they still have, such as golf (for former golfers). It gives them a lot of joy to have a feeling of mastery in some areas.

    I’m not athletic at all, so my skill development doesn’t involve doing risky things with my body. ;)

  17. Looney says:

    Jean, thanks for that note. I have it in my mind that learning is “safe”, but skill development is “risky”. Perhaps I need to reflect on this more.

    Looneys last blog post..

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