Asking someone to explain something SIMPLY is a really good test of how well they understand it.
If you’re describing something and you start being ‘wordy’, then that’s a good indication that there’s a gap in your knowledge. If you find yourself confused, then bingo… you’ve just found another gap.
What’s been interesting to me over the years has been how hard it has been for people to describe what they do in their job, and yet, they’ve been able to explain simply and powerfully something they do outside work!
Levels of knowledge and passion people have for interesting subjects that fall outside the day job is such a great, and usually untapped, resource. We tend to see most people as nothing more than their job title and work persona. What is exciting are the potential benefits of tapping into ‘Greg’ from accounting’s passion for DJ-ing, or ‘Amanda’ in marketing’s home brewing knowledge. Now we’ve got ourselves a party! But seriously, most people have a job ….and then something they’re great at / passionate about. It’s the simple truth.
Part of creating an environment where new ideas can emerge involves tapping into these unused resources. It’s about mixing things up!
Most meetings and workshops are the same. They’re typical. The sort of person that runs them, the feeling going into them, the table and chair layout, food, style of venue, the schedule, break times etc all tend to follow a pattern.
At your next meeting, why not be atypical and play with a ‘typical’ element. Move the chairs. Play some tunes. Disrupt the norm and in addition to that, find out what the people you know can explain simply. These are opportunities to alter how people see each other and what they talk about when they meet and we all know that that’s they key to creating an environment when new ideas can emerge.