Nudging your audience along #buildingpassions

I told a friend and his teenage son about my book today. It taught me that you can present the same story in many different ways.

I sat them down and literally explained the main characters and the built structures linked to them. This was a good test for my own memory and would help my comms skills when handling larger audiences.

I literally went with the flow, without any planning except my own knowledge of the book.

My main focus was on the two fathers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Sir Charles Barry, and their sons Sir John Wolfe Barry and Henry Marc Brunel. I mentally pictured the small tree I have drawn showing their relationships, and those with Sir Marc Brunel, father of IKB, and Sir Charles’ other sons and grandsons covered in the book.

I also covered broader issues such as the development of architectural styles and the link between ‘modernism’, Art Nouveau and the Crystal Palace.

I thought, as I spoke, of what would keep a teenager interested in the story. I tried as much interaction as I could, asking questions and then providing answers where he or his father couldn’t do so. It was all about nudging them along, but trying to avoid any topic which might appear too technical for a layperson.

It would be great if I could write books easily this way (think perhaps ‘Sophie’s World’ or ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’), but I have not quite mastered such an approach to non-fiction. May be fiction will be easier?

You can always teach an old dog new tricks …

There are all kinds of passions not just #buildingpassions

I watched a beautiful film (‘Lea and I’ on Netflix) yesterday about a young woman who had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child and wasn’t given long to live.

The film was a true story documentary with a strong emotional feel to it given the serious health issue. Fortunately for Lea Moret, now 23, she still lives and is determined to make the most of her life.

In the film, she travelled a few years ago with a close friend to Latin America to find alternative remedies for her illness. This started with a magnetic healing session in Mexico City and then moved on to more spiritual approaches helped by native concoctions. The most extreme was in Peru, where she and her friend experienced a 10 day shamanic retreat taking the powerful hallucinogen ayahuasca.

It was fascinating to see the experiences Lea and her friend went through first hand, and it seems they had an impact on her for the good, both psychologically and physically.

She deserves this fully as she is an energetic and driven young person who will make the most of her extra time on earth. Her passion for life came to the fore in the film.

I write in this blog about building passions linked to my forthcoming book.

Please find some kind of passion that keeps you going before it’s too late.