On being creative

It is always encouraging to engage with colleagues in social media and I try to answer questions from there. Thanks to Jennifer Wyman for raising the idea of creativity in presentations.

“Can’t imagine being that creative?” Why ever not? Creativity is within each of us. The Sensei, Garr Reynolds uses a little task at workshops he runs where he asks audience  members to sketch each other. and then share the results. Adults almost always hand the sketch over with an apology. Children don’t. As children we have creativity but as adults we deny it, hide it and criticise it.


creativityA presentation is an opportunity to be creative. So is getting dressed for an evening out. So is arranging the furniture in a room. Clearly some people express lots of creativity but there is no one for whom the creativity of a presentation is out of reach. Let’s consider the different steps.

Once the message of p1 is derived, the method of delivering that requires a degree of creativity. Simple tricks can be used. For most presentations there will be three steps. Using alliteration allows artistic activity. Similes are like water in a desert. Film quotes do or do not work; there is no try. Or even adverts can be the best a man can get. * Such devices are merely media within which a message can be built. Some prefer paint, others sketching and others photography. None is right and each offers everyone something to work with. Perhaps the most scary thing is the blank page.

In p2 the creativity may similarly be expressed. But with restraint please. Images can be searched through a multitude of portals. Illustrate the single points, not sentences and ensure the images are high quality and bleed to the edge of the screen. The use of colour is valued but again with restraint, no more than 2 colours and search these from the title image. No templates or backgrounds. Fonts similarly can add elan. Find complimentary fonts through sites such as canva but remember the font must travel with you to the presentation! Start small and ask friends for feedback. No one is expecting all singing and all dancing for the first teaching slot but perhaps that is a good place to try things out rather than that massive presentation.

Creativity in p3 is about performance. That too takes time to develop but is a representation of your personality. Not anyone else. Engaging with an audience is actually easier than most people believe and starts simply with the introduction. Look them in the eye and you will make a connection. After that, simply be yourself, if a bit more widescreen and animated. Step out from behind the desk/lectern/laptop. Try to relax, the audience wants to get to know you.

Creativity is within us all. Of course is feels different from the centre justified, Times New Roman with gaudy clip art, but even that clip art was a start. Make the first mark on the page and carry on with a child like innocence. Share your thoughts and opinions, that after all, is why you are on the stage. The document could never do that. Creativity isn’t the challenge, it is about letting it be expressed.


*Using Alliteration Allows Artistic Activity.

Similes refresh like water in a desert.

Film quotes do or do not work; there is no try (Star Wars).

Or even adverts can be the best a man can get. (Gilette)

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