Sometimes the stars are aligned and your schedule allows you to travel from Manassas, Virginia, where it was 32 degrees F on our departure last Friday, to Margaritaville where it was 74 degrees yesterday in Key West, Florida, and then back again where it’s still freezing. Such was the case this 2011 MLK Jr. weekend for my wife and me. What triggered this get away? Two young officers — both stationed in Germany and back from overseas combat tours — were recently married near the Southernmost Point in the Continental USA. We happened to know the groom and his parents. My wife and I were lucky enough to receive an invitation and had the time and money to attend.
So what does this have to do with facilitation or public speaking? Plenty.
The next time you’re looking for a little outside the box thinking, consider cranking up some Jimmy Buffett music. Ask your participants to think about warm water or sunsets viewed from the beach. I’m thinking such changes in latitude might result in changes in attitude and help your group find an alternative solution to their most pressing challenge.
Of course stories about a spontaneous get away or a visit to an exotic destination make for entertaining speeches. What better way to thaw out from winter’s chill than to recall time spent in the sun? Listening to the tall tales about boxers who fought at the Green Parrot, judging Papa Hemmingway look-a-likes at Sloppy Joe’s, or debating if the conch fritters are better at the Southernmost Cafe or at the Sports Page Bar and Grill while watching Green Bay battle with the Chicago Bears — well, you get the idea.
Examining extreme differences in climate or attitude in a facilitated group discussion or while participating in table topics at a Toastmasters meeting; these are memories from Margaritaville that may help you on Main Street in Manassas or elsewhere.