Wise Words: Benjamin Franklin

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“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

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Today at work, I realized just how much people hate, protest, and refuse to change.  At a department meeting this afternoon, I was astonished by the resistance people had to new ideas, new technology, and new ways of working.

I often find this is the case when I introduce the slide design principles of Nancy Duarte or Garr Reynolds to people for the first time.  These people will insist that death-by-PowerPoint works.  They haven’t tried the Presentation Zen method, but they just know it’s not going to work for them.  It’s too hard.  It doesn’t fit their material or content.  They need all of the words and bullets on their slides.  Using images with little text is not what their audience wants/needs.  Immediately, these naysayers let me know they don’t want to hear me out; often, they talk over me and refuse to listen to the logic and reasoning behind the design concepts.  Eventually, after I wear them down, they reluctantly agree to try the new way of presenting.  If they follow through, they always find that this kind of change will improve their presentations and will improve the response and engagement from their audience.

Why do you think people are so quick to say “no” to a concept just because it is new and different?  When confronted with change, do you immediately put your guard up and refuse to consider other alternatives?  When implementing change, do you just have to power forward and force the protesters to get on board?

I love change.  Change makes me feel alive.  Doing new things or approaching problems in new ways forces me to experience life to the fullest.  It’s certainly uncomfortable, but what’s the point of comfortable?  Forcing yourself to constantly change will help you to be more comfortable with discomfort.  What can you do in 2012 to seek out and embrace change?

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