Starting Your Workshop With Play
So, we were in the middle of our Changemakers Day event. Sixteen amazing people had been gathered together to create more meaningful change in their businesses and lives. Andy (the hubs) had spent the morning talking about the process through which we create change - and now it was my turn. My topic: using our voice for change.
So I started by playing Big Booty.
Have you played Big Booty? It's a ridiculous game, but I love it. (No, it does not involve twerking, though that's a common misconception.) It's mostly a clapping/rhyming/focus game, but you get to say "Big booty" about a gazillion times, so that makes it extra fun.
(Watch these amazing kids absolutely NAIL BIG BOOTY!)
]And so we played! People messed up. They laughed. Rhythm was sorely lost and never quite found again. More laughing. I messed up a bit - mostly because, well, rhythm - and it's always good to role model mistakes (ahem). Victory was never had, but over a dozen people got to act like imperfect little kids for a few short minutes.
This was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to create an atmosphere of fun - and laughter - and imperfection.
And then we sat down and I said this: Perfection kills connection. Leading - and speaking - and influence (or whatever you want to call speaking and what speaking does) is ultimately always about connection. And starting your workshop with play goes a long ways towards creating connection with your audience.
So when it came time for us walk around awkwardly and "stumble-through" our talks - and say strange and silly vocal warm-ups - and ultimately share our talks... well, we had played Big Booty together, so it felt just a little less scary. Or at least it felt a little more tolerable, knowing we've already looked pretty silly together.
Playing helps create connection - and perhaps even more importantly - served an important point about how we were going to be that day: we are going to try, we are going to have fun, and we are going to mess up. And that's absolutely awesome.
Someone once said (or at least I've heard it anonymously quoted several times) that laughter shortens the distance between people. I think that's true.
And so if you want to shorten the distance between people - playing together might be your best bet.
...Even Big Booty.