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Attitude makes a difference

Looking into the

Looking into the students’ faces, Riccardo declared, "The best way for me to share with you what I know about giving presentations is to give a presentation." Riccardo laughed, and added lightly, "and it would be even better for you to give the presentations." As he said the word 'you', Riccardo eyed each of the informal leaders briefly. So what I’m looking for is somebody to volunteer to give a presentation for a couple of minutes so that we can give some feedback. In fact, I’m looking for three people. Who are the three most confident people in the room?" The students looked around at each other, their eyes aiming in the direction of the informal leaders, who slowly began to sit up and face Riccardo. It took a while. Three individuals finally rose and grinned at him. "Great, we have three volunteers. Come to the front of the room and I will give you your instructions," encouraged Riccardo. They strode towards Riccardo, growing in size as they did so. Two were taller than Riccardo so he invited them into a huddle so their heads were all at the same level. He asked their names. Eric, who wore glasses was the tallest and thinnest of the three, seemed to be very nervous for someone who had volunteered. Joseph was physically athletic, spoke slowly, choosing his words with care. Lonny the broadest of the three, gave the impression he could knock down walls with his shoulders. Riccardo guided the three volunteers to where he wanted them and turned them to face their classmates. One by one, he invited them to share their names and how comfortable they felt standing at the front of the class. "Eric, how does it feel to be standing here?" Eric looking down at the floor, replied, "It’s OK." "How about you Joseph?" Joseph kept eye contact with Riccardo as he replied, "No problem. No problem at all." 62

"And Lonny, how does it feel to be here?" "Alright," Lonny answered, grinning and looking at his classmates. Riccardo huddled with the three volunteers again, and gave them instructions. "What I want you to do is give a very short talk about what you were doing yesterday, or last week, for two minutes, no more, just two minutes. Can you do that? Then we will give you some feedback to make your presentations even better!" All three agreed to the assignment. "Now here’s what I want you to do. Go outside and prepare your two-minute talk. Oh, and by the way, I want you to talk with each other and decide who is the strongest one. That will be the person who will come in first when I ask for somebody to come in. The strongest one. Do you understand?" They understood, and grinned at the challenge of deciding who was the strongest of them. At the back of their minds, they were thinking about the two-minute talk they were going to give. At the front of their minds was the question of who was strongest. They left the room. The door closed. Riccardo turned off the projector. "Okay, now listen," he said in a conspiratorial tone to the rest of the students. "We are going to play a game." "Are you ready?" asked the voice inside Riccardo’s head. "We will soon find out," Riccardo giggled, as he replied. The students hushed and leaned forwards, intrigued by the promise of a game to play. Obviously, it was going to be a bit naughty, hopefully exciting, and probably more interesting than listening to a boring lecture about giving presentations. Riccardo set up the game, continuing his conspiratorial tone. "Whoever comes in first, we are not going to like them. We’re going to ignore them; we’re going to be a bit rude to them, but not in an obvious way. You know what I mean? You know how to be a bit rude without being too obvious, right?" 63

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