It’s Only Television But I Like It

Yes I know it’s a television program and yes I know they are playing up to the camera and yes I know we only see the ‘edited highlights’ but Jamie’s Dream School on Channel 4 last night was an exemplar on how to deliver motivational talks to a disinterested audience. As I discussed last time the ‘teachers’ (actually people at the leading edge in their field) are truly inspirational, passionate individuals who use every trick in the book to engage with and inspire their students. Not only that they are incredibly humble, as typified by one of the pupils asking Robert Winston if he “had ever cured anything” to which he replied he “thought they had helped with some advances, yes”. As well as all this inspirational and motivational teaching you will see there is not a single PowerPoint slide in sight. It’s all about naked presenting (well, apart from the odd prop or two) and story telling.I’ve recently been reading Nancy Duarte’s book Resonate which looks at how storytelling as done by great writers and film-makers can be used by presenters to really engage with their audience. If you want a book that helps you with presentations that is something other than the boring ‘how to’ guides on structuring PowerPoint presentations then it’s definitely worth a read.

So what’s this got to do with IT architecture? Nothing and everything! At one level architecture is just a pile of models and diagrams describing ways for solving business problems. However architecture also needs to be ‘bought alive’ if the ideas it encompasses are to be explained and the costs of implementing it justified to non-technical people. Explaining and presenting architecture is probably one of the most important aspects of the architects role and communication skills should definitely be up their as one of the key competencies possessed by architects. Without these architectures will just remain a bunch of ideas gathering virtual dust in a modeling tool.

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