The view from another side

In the movie Dead Poet’s Society, there’s a scene in which the teacher, John Keating (played by the late Robin Williams) stands on his desk, making the point of how important it is to see things from another perspective.

I was reminded of this when I sat in on Mike Hayes‘ online presentation, “Blogging Rebooted.” Mike gave a very good presentation, as he always does, and he even gave me lots of props. (Mike, if you’re reading this, thanks for all the kudos! I will reciprocate when I do mine!) If you missed his presentation, a recording of it is available online. Go check it out!

Whenever I attend SQL Saturday (or any other conference, for that matter), I regularly make it a point to attend sessions that are similar to mine. I need to see how other presenters view whatever it is that I’m viewing.

Looking at the same thing from another angle is important for multiple reasons. It gives me a bigger picture of what I saw to begin with. It might give me ideas that didn’t occur to me. If another presenter touches upon the same points I make in my own presentation, it validates my own ideas. If (s)he offers points that are contrary to my own, it makes me reexamine my own view to ensure what I think is correct, or to make any adjustments.

In any case, I usually end up improving my own presentations and viewpoints, sometimes vastly.

So if you’re building a case, an argument, a presentation, or any other situation where you’re expressing your own viewpoint, also consider how it looks from another view. You’ll end up strengthening your own case in the process.