Last Thursday I was casually informed by a (very pleasant and professional) Press Officer of Queen’s University that UTV Life wanted me on Friday. It was to involve a ‘sofa chat’ with local presenter Frank Mitchell. Although it was my course on Jedi Training that sparked off their interest in me, the context was the big ‘Knights of the Empire’ event at the Odyssey at the weekend.
It’s not often that airports lead the way in showcasing a commitment to excellence in customer service. I mean, come on, we’ve all been there – it’s as if any sign of a personality has been surgically removed. You have to remortgage your house to buy a sandwich, and then realign your taste buds in order to enjoy eating it.
So this week I’m resting frorm the rigours of teaching another public workshop at Queen’s University, Belfast. The subject? Body language. The title? Body to Body: How to Communicate Without Words.
It’s the second time I’ve led this workshop at Queen’s. Both times it’s been the largest, most popular course I’ve ever taught. Both times, the numbers have been well over the 40 mark. But there have been a few changes over the years.
Back in 2006 when I first taught the course I tried to lay a foundation of theory before offering some application and role-play. This time I launched straight into it with a ‘Top Ten Uses of Body Language in Evey-day Life’. Only after this I squeezed in a bit of theory before lunch, mentioning the likes of Mehrabian, Morris and Eckman. After lunch, I hit them with 10 ‘Special Techniques’ of nonverbal-communication they could try out upon unsuspecting friends and colleagues. The day finished with a test and ‘graduation’! Continue reading “Body to Body, Funk to Funky”
Well, kind of. I was interviewed this morning by Steve Chase of ABC Radio in Australia.
Media coverage for this course has snowballed at an unbelievable rate in the last week. Dawn mentioned some of the radio interviews I’ve done in the last blog, as well as the inital exposure with the Newsletter and the BBC.
The E Factor: Entrepreneurial Competencies for Person and Business Success
David Gibson (Queen ‘s University, Belfast)
It is not often that a book on entrepreneurship yanks my chain.Usually such books are either of the motivational variety nowadays penned by some TV ‘personality ‘ or the innocuous how to start a business kind.Both have their place, I suppose.The first provides entertainment wrapped as education, while the second passes on information of the sort that you would be hard-pressed not to classify as ‘textbook tedious ‘.
They both have their limitations.At best, a book about/by Richard Branson or some Dragon ‘s Den expert can show you where you want to go.And a start-a-business book can map out your first practical steps and keep you on the right side of the law.But how can you link the two realms together?How do you get from the starting blocks to the finish line?What sort of person do you need to become? Continue reading “The E-Factor”
On Saturday 6th December I delivered a 1-day workshop at Queen’s University called The Psychology of Happiness: How to Grow Your Happy Skills. Its purpose was to introduce the students to the new positive psychology movement, and to the thoughts of Martin Seligman and Mih√°ly Cs√≠kszentmih√°lyi in particular. Those who read the blog will know that I’ve reviewed Seligman’s latest work Authentic Happiness before, and I’ve also captured the two of them in a fascinating conversation.
In the workshop I did four things. First, I discussed Seligman’s analysis of the three types of happy life: the Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life. Then I explored the whole notion of optimism, perhaps Seligman’s main contribution to the field of academic psychology. After lunch, it was time to check out our signature strengths. Finally, we applied all this to the area of work, that most usual and difficult source of unhappiness. Continue reading “A Positively Brilliant Workshop”
Last Saturday (15th November) I delivered my long-anticipated university workshop on Star Wars called Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way. There was an excellent turn-out (over 30 apprentices from all ages, genders and species) with fabulous feedback. We had a great time together; lots of humour, lots of discussion, plenty of new ideas to ponder, students left hungry for more. All a training session should be.
Five interesting things came out of it:
(1) People from different employment sectors enquired if I could provide business training for them based on the workshop. Some wanted the Star Wars link, other were keen on the fact that I made standard training topics – Assertiveness, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics – interesting. I didn’t foresee this (so maybe I’m not much of a Jedi), but it’s an exciting development. I’m due to give a couple of Jedi-themed corporate talks in December for the Institute of Internal Auditors (in Belfast and Dublin). May the Force be with them!
Interest in my Jedi ‘university workshop’ has, I think, climaxed. I’ve mentioned that I was interviewed on ABC Radio in Oz. The latest is an interview on Danish Radio Station DR, who were pretty into it.
So it was comforting to learn that I’m not the only wacko innovative, lateral-thinking teacher around. Professor Richard Wiseman has told the British Association Science Festival that teaching magic tricks helps pupils perform better. They learn a cluster of social skills – like empathy, confidence, and social intelligence – that are otherwise difficult to teach.
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