I just had the wonderful opportunity to attend the American Society for Training and Development Conference in Denver, Colorado. The conference, as usual, lived up to my expectations. The speakers were fantastic and enlightening, the expo booths interesting and overwhelming, and the networking extraordinary. I don’t remember how many conferences I have been to–over 10–and this one ranked high. Denver was a great host city and the weather was unbelievable!
Now to the blue bear. Evidently, Denver selected the blue bear as a mascot and there is a very large blue stone one outside of the Convention Center looking in as shown in the picture. During the general session on Tuesday, the speaker (John Kao who was mesmerizing) asked the audience to pair up with someone and do a story improvisation starting with a sentence something like this: All of you are here in this great big theatre and suddenly you hear a very loud boom coming from outside……. We were to take turns continuing the story and switch when he said to do so. I was person A and my long time dear friend from Vincennes, Indiana, (we purposely arranged to meet at the Conference) was person B.
She and I had talked about the blue bear every morning as we walked over to the Conference Center so I continued the story by saying that someone ran outside and the blue bear had fallen over….and we went back and forth to where the blue bear had come alive because he wanted to come in and see all the wonderful people who were at the Conference. He had been standing outside for so long and was so stiff that he fell over when he tried to move. He was telling everyone to not be afraid–he just wanted to network too!
The exercise was a great activity for thinking outside the box and developing your creativity. The Wells Fargo Theatre was loud with talking and laughter. I would have loved to hear what some of the other stories were that had been created in that brief span of time. I wondered if anyone else had talked about the blue bear.
I was reminded how doing something so simple could be so engaging and energizing to a group of people. I was reminded that something or someone that is seen everyday (and perhaps taken for granted) could take on a whole new light if seen from a different perspective. I was reminded that humor and laughter can start your day out with a positive and motivating attitude. I was reminded that stories can really create learning moments in a training session……whether they are real or made up. Remember that the brain can’t tell the difference between something that is real or that is vividly imagined. You can do it….imagine the bear coming alive!