A light grilling… and TED restriction makes me think.

I was recently interviewed by colleagues as part of a ‘light grilling’ for the Junction Theatre Website. I wrote my answers in 30 minutes at 7 am on the morning of rehearsals for a new play.

It is quite interesting what you write when you are under pressure, and you just have to… write:


I am cringing a bit now to read it back and would change some, but certainly not all of the content.  The answers about what you like/don’t like become gut feelings – instinctive – and of course have some logic and thought, but with no time to overly consider, you get a  quick and actually quite realistic and raw view.

I encourage this “light grilling” approach in workshops and project exercises to consider things quickly, to get a gut feeling and so generate a set of ‘foundation information’. It can take the form of a written answer to questions,  of timed ‘idea capture’ in groups or even hot-seating individuals to get instant, instinctive information.

The results can be powerful and revealing, we often worry too much; write, think, edit re-write and re-edit. Sure, for the final analysis we want real depth, but in this first instance if I am looking at a rehearsal for a new play or at a project analysis, I want lots of information quickly and this first hit is a ‘stream of consciousness’ that really has ‘raw data’ value.

A “heavy grilling” for me came a couple of weeks ago when I did a TED talk in Cambridge.

Distilling a talk with the intention of having impact and substance into 18 minutes is a challenge, but again it is this ‘restriction’ that forces editing and clarity to tell the story clearly and simply in a limited time-frame.

I essentially distilled a three-hour workshop on Communication Skills into 18 minutes. What was missing of course was the interaction and testing of the ideas with my participants. But I found it very useful to distill and force  my ideas, so as to to be as clear and connected as I could be in my storytelling.

I gave myself a light grilling, took the essential elements that emerged then pulled them into a story structure and then looked for the greater detail in a heavy self-grilling!

You can compare the light and heavy touch and see what you think,  but restriction can be a good thing!


Forza Azzurri..!

Milan: 20th June

I am finishing off a session in Milan for an international client – focussed on effective communication skills.

Dynamic city – full of beautiful people, fashion and cars everywhere – parking is crazy in Milan – you just stop your car and get out – anywhere you like – that is parking!!!


Even though the day is short as i travelled in this morning… after only an hour ….we stop … we have to have lunch which takes nearly two hours …all good on the effective communication/team-building front..!

End of the day  – I head towards the station via Navigli and sit and watch the second half of Italy vs. Costa Rica in the World Cup.

My colleague tells me that the guys in the bar are being quite racist about the Costa Ricans. I don’t know if this is a universal dynamic or just in this bar on this street? It is a real mixture of VERY smart guys in suits and others in football shirts. They certainly take their football seriously and the proclamations of injustice are thrown theatrically towards the TV . Italy lose. England are therefore officially knocked out of the World Cup as they needed Italy to win to leave any hope. Italy may still win.  England certainly won’t!

As was usual with the English there was a lot of hype over this World Cup – could we do it..? could we win? Unfortunately it is not going to happen. With the Premiere League we have the best footballers in the world `but no space for development or growth of home-grown players.  The argument goes that our players get to compete with the best players in the world so they will be better. Unfortunately when you have teams like Manchester City starting with NO English players you are going to struggle for development due to lack of numbers of home-grown players coming through..

Anyway England lose. Italy will lose and who knows who will win the world Cup… Brazil probably?!

I say goodbye to Italy.

Hope to be back soon. Milan is buzzy – and next year sees the EXPO – where the world comes to Milan so will be back for sure..


And the headline for EXPO?.. Feeding The Planet…

Forza Azzurri..!