Monday, May 23, 2011
Facilitating with style
Class picture (thanks to Mr. Nelson Ravina, one of the participants, for uploading the photos on Facebook.)
I spent my Saturday speaking before a group of elementary and high school campus journalists as well as their school paper advisers on editorial writing. The activity was part of a series offered by Ignite Media. Participants came from Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna. One even came from Surigao.
The title of my presentation was "Persuading with style."
At the onset, I made it clear that I was not delivering a lecture. I do not believe anybody can really teach another person how to write, much more do so effectively. I like to think of myself as a facilitator. I also made it clear that my inputs were not in any way the prescribed norm for writing editorials. I just drew from my four-and-a-half year experience with the Standard. Simply put, I just told stories, I described processes as they worked for me.
And since the gathering was, first and foremost, a workshop, much time was spent by participants brainstorming for a topic, narrowing it down, outlining their piece and ultimately writing their own editorials. They read each one aloud for the group's (not necessarily my) appreciation and comments. Some of the pieces written were very, very good ones -- and touched on topics that I did not even know existed. Who says we can't learn from those we teach?
I have never really been very confident about my public speaking skills, but everybody seemed genuinely happy and appreciative during the mini-graduation rites. I take comfort in the fact that I was once like these kids, spending my weekends learning more about the craft, competing with different schools, wondering whether if I would really build a career out of it or if this was just something to do while in school.
Wouldn't you know it, I'm still doing the same thing, and deriving as much satisfaction from it as I did many, many years ago.