Thursday, April 21, 2016

140 Characters, A 90 Second snippet or a Living Room Story?

Elevator or Living Room Version of a Story???

Elevator or Living Room Version of the Same Story???
Middle School Staff Blog
Welcome to Spring
April 21, 2016


Elevator Version or the Living Room Version
My wife and I were invited over to some friends house for dinner a few weeks back.  We sat there in their living room for a time, then the guys went out into the back and lit the grill and the ladies stayed inside.  When it was just the two of us in a smaller setting, we were able to actually have a conversation.  We waited for each other to finish thoughts.  We asked each other direct questions that demonstrated prior knowledge.  We waited for the answers and allowed plenty of time for processing.  We were able to talk about more than the weather, the Cardinals or each other’s health.  It was a time of connecting. I felt refreshed, energized and renewed that I was in a good place in my life.
The next day, Jayne and I were heading down to her doctor's appointment on the 8th floor of the Brentwood Building.  We walked in the building and noticed  another couple looking at the marquee, looking for their floor.  They turned Jayne happened to know her.  They were heading to the 11th floor and so we rode the elevator together.  It was during this time, the ladies began chattering about common friends and family.  Who was ill, why they were in the building, lost friends and even the uncommonly warm weather, but they couldn't really finish anything.  We said goodbye at our floor, the girls promised to “get-together, soon” and we exited on our floor.  I was feeling exhausted from the quick snippets of stories.  Eventually, I realized something when I compared this incident with the evening before.  For the first time, realized the difference between a LIVING ROOM VERSION of a story or an ELEVATOR VERSION of the same story.  
The elevator version is quick, it conveys facts, ideas and basic information but it contains few details and possible important omissions.  The Living Room Version is longer, filled with details, drawn out and maybe even embellished a bit.  There is time for interaction between the speaker and the audience with reflection and segways frequently following paths into deep conversation and thoughts.
From here, I began to wonder about my versions presented here at school.  Do I try and force a living room version when I only have time for an elevator story, shoving too much into a small window, forcing others to “drink from a firehose?” By trying to get it all done, am I really adding to the frustration level? Or, do I give the elevator snippet when more information is needed, possibly the reasoning or back-story or explanation of my limited reasoning?  Regardless, as I continue to practice, hone and develop my communication skills, I realize they will never be perfect. I will never be able to convey my intended message precisely or exactly.  But I can’t let this stop me.  Perfectionism is a manifestation of insecurity.
I wonder about any applications for the classroom, teaching or learning?

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