Thursday, February 26, 2015

A simple prop and a cruel story

An wooden 2”x4” wall stud might be just what you need to make an abstract concept concrete. In a mis-titled story on February 20th about Public Speaking: Four Attention Getters to Start Your Presentation Sean Buvala explained as his sixth point that:

“....Once, during a youth leadership conference, I dragged an eight-foot long piece of wood up to the front of the room. 

I announced that I came ‘with my two by four’ to speak about how leadership was not something adults practiced ‘at’ youth but rather was done ‘with, to, by and for’ young people. 

I held on to that piece of wood throughout the presentation as the audience learned to say with me, ‘with, to, by, for’ whenever I prompted them. 

Both the content of that speech and the image of me with a huge board in my hand were talked about for many years.”

I suspect part of why the 2x4 stud was memorable is that it prompted recall of another well-known story about a donkey. There are many versions. Here is a brief one:

A man was having trouble with a disobedient donkey he’d recently bought, so he took him to a trainer known for his gentleness, a ‘donkey whisperer.’ That trainer immediately pulled out a long 2x4 and whacked the donkey - right between the eyes.

The man was horrified. “Why on earth would you do that? Aren’t you the donkey whisperer?”

"Yes, I am. But, before I whisper, I first need to get his complete attention."

The image of a 2x4 is from Wikimedia Commons.

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