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Sunday 11 July 2010

Just a minute ....

"The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster as seen form the London Eye"
by Susie Mallett March 2005

....or maybe even ten

I was thinking about what a good idea it would be if the Hong Kong congress actually took on the form of BBC Radio Four's brilliant, and therefore long-running programme, Just a Minute. What fun.

How much buzzing would there be I wonder, with people interrupting and challenging the speaker, prepared to take over the subject after either deviation, repetition or hesitation is confirmed.

You know, after listening to Clement Freud, Nicholas Parsons, Stephen Fry, Paul Merton, Julian Clary and Co. over the years, all being extremely clever, witty, funny and fast on this show I thought:

"Ten minutes really is a long time to have to convey something that you are passionate enough about to wish to talk about it".

Songs are usually much less than ten minutes long and they often convey an awful lot . Even pieces of classical music are broken down into pieces of six or seven minutes. That is quite a long time to concentrate, enough to be able to appreciate what you have heard.

In my groups a 6.49 minute piece by Mozart is long enough to have most of the adults and some of the children sleeping soundly.

In a song and in music there are often sections that are repeated or choruses with words that are repeated, just as in a lecture you my need to repeat something to emphasise your message. One must be careful though, in a presentation that the "Just a Minute-buzzer for repetition doesn't go off too often!

A poem may only be a few verses long and hold a lot of information, taking only minutes to recite or read. It can even be a lengthy epic, or a graphically described story like Lord Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott that can be recited in a seven minutes.

It is the way that you sing it, recite it or tell the story that makes the difference not the time it takes.

You certainly are not going to be able to tell a very long story if while presenting you are fiddling with a computer. If I was speaking in Hong Kong I would certainly keep my fingers away from any technology. I might consider singing though if I had a voice anyone would want to listen to!

Minutes and combinations of minutes have been on my mind all week, ever since I noticed that we are now talking about ten minute sessions in Hong Kong and not the twenty that I heard about originally. Andrew Sutton and Norman Perrin have both written about this on their blogs.

I have been timing activities at home and at work. I am surprised at how much can be achieved and learnt in ten minutes or less.

In ten minutes three of us two littlies and me, made a batch of bread rolls, in another ten they were baked and in less than ten one each was consumed!

In ten minutes one littlie learnt how to do froggy legs while swimming and in the next ten how to turn over from front to back without swallowing tons of water.

In another ten minutes our lips were turning blue so we got out of the water. It only took two minutes in the heat of the afternoon for them to turn red again.

On another day we had cycled in ten minutes to the baker. On the way we had discovered all the best places to cross over the roads and we had checked that the yellow ducklings on the village were safe and sound and growing up. We had learnt to look right and left and right again so that the car drivers could see our heads moving and we checked out how wide the bike was and if it could get past the cars that were parked half on the cycle path.

We were still inside the ten minutes when we sat down with our ice-cream in the shade.

In the ten minutes it took to eat them we talked about how the shadow of the tree fell in relation to the sun, how the heat of the sun melt our ice-creams and talked about how hot it must be for
"Hitzefrei" to be given and deciding that having no "Hitzefrei " from Petö is OK if we learn cycling, ice-cream eating and swimming!

Ten minutes is a long time

I can paint half a dozen birthday cards in ten minutes. I can clean the bathroom in eight. I can water the balcony in five and shower, wash and dry my hair in six if i am late for work!

In a conductive upbringing a lot of discovering and a lot of learning can take place in ten minutes. In a ten minute presentation a lot of story telling can take place and a lot of learning can happen too.

Just look out for any unwanted "hesitation, repetition and deviation" if you do not want to get buzzed off!


Just a minute

The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson

, when school children go home early because of the heat of the day

Andrew Sutton, "Ten Minutes... now there's a challenge"


Rony Schenker, OTR, PhD, Tsad Kadima, Israel said...

You, however, did not relate to the preparatory time which takes to prepare a ten minutes presentation. That take much longer than ten minutes. The shorter the presentation is, the longer it takes to prepare it
I think it was Voltaire who once wrote to his friend: "I have no time, this is why I am writing to you a long letter "

Susie Mallett said...

Rony, you are right I forgot to mention the hours of preparation, I was so engrossed in the hours of preparation for the posting!

I did think about this a long time ago when I first knew about Hong Kong and it is the reason why I decided to take the time to prepare a poster presentation that would hopefully reach a few more people than to prepare a ten minute verbal presentation for a parallel session.

As I am more experienced in preparing and presenting visually than verbally, I hope I made the right decision.

The many short "presentations" that I and other conductors prepare for our clients each day are just the same.

Ten minutes of bread making while standing up, each client working in a different way, takes at least three times the amount of time to prepare than the doing. And that does not include all the minutes of cycling home with the next days planning in my head!

It is lovely that you take the time to pop up on the blogosphere so often.


Conductive World said...

All very true, Susie; and all very true Rony. (That sounds like the incomparable Rabbi Lionel Blue on 'Though for the day'... and look what he can get across in less than five minutes, with no more than a joke, a topical allusion and s sharp twist at the end!)

Either way, it still leaves me confronting a whole new art-form.

The nearest that I have experienced to this was a ten-minute radio broadcast for the BBC/Open University. I cannot remember what the topic was (I have a suspicion that it was Vygotskii). I suspect that it was so over-prepared and so over-concentrated as to be stilted and indigestible in a ten-minute rush. Maybe this is significant!

I do recall however, that it was an ordeal to compile and deliver. And if the author cannot remember the subject, then he cannot expect his audience to have done.

Yes, you can get a lot of information across in a carefully crafted ten-minute explosion, but how much of the content will stick...? I do not know.

That is why I am still contemplating something radical, which is to abandon the idea of getting anything substantive across in those supposed ten minutes. Instead, I might use my time to entertain the punters (hence, get them motivated to remember me) and to give them means of finding out any specifics about my advertised topic if they want to when the are back whencever they came from and have their minds clearer than they might be in the Congress-time frenzy.


PS Rabbi Blue?

Susie Mallett said...

Andrew, you say you are contemplating "something radical", to "get them motivated to remember me".

That is exactly what I meant when I wrote that if I was doing a verbal presentation in Hong Kong I would keep away from the computers and "I might consider singing".

Good luck with whatever it is you decide to use to motivate your audience to remember you.


Andrew said...

It certainly won't be singing... though a piano and a small group would be a nice idea.


Susie Mallett said...

Andrew, did you have something like this in mind?

Andrew said...

I cannot imagine anything further from my mind...