First, do you know when you are decking your way through a meeting with too many cooks, non-combatants, and ‘talkers’ rather than ‘contributors’? You know them; you may even be one. Folks have much to say but need help understanding how to narrate or storytell well. Some of my posts walk around the issues I face when over-prepping a story. 

This a pet peeve: ending your stories with Thank You, QA, or Next Steps literally on a slide or out of someone’s mouth. Those are all good and politely useless things to end a story or meeting, let alone a deck. 

Enter the Magic Wand Question™, which I learned from the best, Bill Seibel and Bill Vergantino. The ‘Bills’ laid down the wisdom of closing with a question that can save a session but also uncover hidden feedback, gaps in the story, unaddressed topics, etc. 

So try this in your next meeting, storytelling event, readout, pitch, or whatever. “That is all the materials we had to share, but I have one last question before we get to the next steps… If you could wave a magic wand and change anything about the materials or this session, what would you change?” Give some context, like “…stuff we covered was not what you thought, you saw stuff you wanted to hear more about, something was missing I expected.”

Then wait, pick someone. A little intentional silence goes a long way. Be comfy in the silence. It has taken me years to be comfortable in the silence. But the Magic Wand can surface real, valuable, and addressable feedback. When folks scurry off without being heard and not having their issues addressed, getting that before you end a session can be refreshing, even if it stings a little. Passive aggression is indirect resistance. 

Sometimes, the Magic Wands give openings for the antagonists, not-paying-attentionistas, chat-trolls, snarkasauruses, and gotcha people to get it out. Whatever it is. Ambiverts, low-interest introverts get a chance to be seen and heard. 

Just write it all down.

You name the profile, and I guarantee that when you hand over the magic wand and give an opening, your ‘next steps,’ ‘QA,’ and ‘thanks’ slides will be a thing of the past.

As always, if you made it down here, thanks. #keepmoving#magicwand