Monday, April 30, 2012

Dear ME: Low tech tool for changing my world

Just this past Monday I used a wonderful audience engagement tool introduced to me by Peter Kenyon. 

Peter is founder and Director of Bank of I.D.E.A.S. and an amazingly talented story teller.  He has worked with over 1000 communities throughout Australia and around the world working on Asset Based Community Development.  

While I am often promoting the use of technology in Planning work, often the best strategies are simple, personal, and more meaningful.  This particular tool is the "100 day letter to yourself".  I have used it a number of times, and this occasion was at the Toronto Complete Streets Forum.  (template of letter pictured

The way it works is simple.  The audience is asked to write a short note to themselves (a reminder, a commitment, whatever); then sign it; write their mailing address on it; and then hand it to the facilitator/presenter.  As the facilitator, you make the commitment to them to mail the notes back at the end of 100 days.  It's that simple, but surprisingly powerful.

At the Forum it went over well and I look forward to sending people their letters back.  The letters that were handed to me were written by people who really opened up (to themselves) with incredibly personal messages.  They set all pretense aside, and wrote with open, ambitious, and sincere voices.  

Upon receiving the letters and "hearing" themselves speak through their own words written from a personal place, and time of inspiration, will be more than just a reminder of things to do and far more moving than reviewing any notes they may have taken during my presentation.  

This tool can help people realize who they want to be, and how they want to change their world.  I know this, because I have experienced it as a facilitator and as a participant.  Every time I use this tool it is as inspiring and energizing for me as I suspect it is for the letter writers.  I suggest you try it with your next workshop, public meeting, or town hall meeting.  

Good luck.  

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