Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leapfrog learning

When I was in rehearsals for my first scripted show ever, I was in a bit over my head. I spent hours and hours at home memorizing lines and rehearsing my blocking.

One night the director taught us a song and dance number, and the actors almost burned the room down in protest. He started by handing out the script for the scene and we worked it and started to get familiar with the lines and what was going on.

But before we got comfortable with the words, he started teaching us the music. And we worked on that for a bit, but then he started having us sing it together. And just before we got too cozy with that he introduced a few movements into the routine. And before we could get comfortable there he taught us some choreography.

It was insane. So we all started complaining, asking if we could just learn one thing at a time before moving on to the next thing. And he explained that it was deliberate strategy, that you actually learn faster through this leap-frog method.

And you know what? For all our whining, we learned a whole song and dance number in just a few hours.

I try to use that method of learning when I can and have been doing it with these presentations. Before I get one done, I start working on the next one. So as I'm delivering #2 on Friday, I've got #3 underway, and when I get done delivering #2 I'll start in on #4 as I'm finishing #3, and so on.

The best part? This is fun. I could talk for days about this stuff. And since I don't have a marketing juggernaut at my disposal, I'm counting on Seth Godin being right. I'm hoping the passion I bring to it and the fact that I'm "having a ball" will be infectious.

Which brings us back to sketch. That same teacher said if audiences see we're having fun on stage, they'll have fun, too. And they'll be more engaged and on your side.

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