Making Statements?

A few days ago Andy sent me a few links with articles that takes Tina Fey’s Improv Rules (from her book “Bossypants“) and applies them to work life. You can read them here and here. Then, he wrote a post applying the same Improv Rules to Open Source Development, “Open Source is improv, so say “Yes, and.

In all of these commentaries two things have stuck out to me.

One: Self-censorship is not allowed. The internal editor needs to die. You know, that voice that edits your own thoughts, keeping you from being spontaneous, incorrect, and sometimes even right because you’re afraid of a number of things (responses, what people will think, failure, etc).

Two: Confidence is required. At some point, I need to turn my questions into statements. And be bold enough to support them. Here’s a quote from “Tina Fey’s Rules For Improv…And the Workplace“:

Rule #3 — Make Statements

This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” If we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers

We’ve all worked with that person. That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up!” and “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.

Lesson: Don’t Ask Questions All the Time

Statements are about confidence. Asking nothing but questions is draining. It’s excluding yourself from being part of the solution, it’s building obstacles instead of bridges, it’s throwing the ox in the mire and stealing the plow to get him out.

In order to find my voice, I need to be able to make statements. Otherwise, I’m not adding any new content, I’m leaving all the work to someone else. Sure, while asking questions is a good thing, it shouldn’t stop there. Asking questions, collecting data, and researching topics will only move the conversations forward if something can be said about the data—and maybe even more importantly, something can be created in response to the data.

So, I have another post already mulling in my head. One in which I’ll make a statement… something about the connection between good data and awesome customer service.

Stay tuned.

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Finding my voice

If I don’t speak, I’ll never know what my voice sounds like.

If I don’t flex my muscles, I’ll never know how strong I might be.

This year, in my profession, I’d like to find my voice. If I’m doing any work that is worthwhile, it should hopefully also be worth talking about. And to take it a step further, in the next two years I’d like to even present at a conference.

But as a jack of all trades, master of none, or a generalist…. I find that it’s hard to focus in on One. Thing. And maybe I don’t have to. But I have to write, think, speak, flex my creative muscles to even find out what is there.

So here’s what I do know (at least right now in this short time that I have to write):

1. I work in marketing doing design AND code. I sit between IT and Marketing and I feel like I’m able to help translate between the two. (Thinking about a future post: What designers wish programmers understood, what programmers wish designers understood) (Right now, as a web designer coming from print, I wish I had a better sense of version control/git and wish I could get into the habit of incorporating it into my workflow.)

2. This isn’t a 1999 internet anymore, yet higher-ed seems so behind. (I feel so behind). To move forward in public institutions seems to take so long because of red-tape, budgets, personell, and personalities. How can we move forward while still being tied down to process?

3. Mobile first? How to go from static HTML to CMS to Mobile first (responsive) design? or is that even the right way to go?

4. Conversion to a CMS (Drupal). Working slowly now to convert an asp, home-grown CMS to a larger, robust CMS. (Decision process, server, software, personell, training)

5. Higher-Ed: Whose story are we telling, and who are we telling it to?

But for now, off to brainstorm/justify a new navigation scheme.