A review of the book, Spark Joy, written by Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo piqued my curiosity. Kondo advocates a minimalist approach to decluttering by determining the value of what we want to keep (or donate to Goodwill). “Does it spark joy? ” is the question to ask when deciding if that unworn sweater folded on your shelf for the last 24 months is worth the space it holds. I felt compelled to test the theory. I pulled two shirts from the closet and took a few seconds to consider each one – and surprise – one shirt definitely elicited a happy feeling and the other was, at best, neutral. (Naturally, I immediately hung them both back on the rack.)

But this phrase continues to resonate for me. It simplifies a fundamental truth about achieving peak performance in communication. As a coach, I see “sparking joy” as a vital part of what must occur in the focused work of creating, designing, practicing and delivering a memorable presentation. I don’t typically include that phrase in business proposals to clients, but the science is in — brains reward play. And that means fun, or “engagement” in business parlance.

Barbara and I build in purposeful fun in our workshops. We engage teams in small groups, with high levels of personal participation and practice. When we hear the laughter and raised decibel levels we know that learning centers are activated, and that norepinephrine (attention, motivation, reward) serotonin (mood), and dopamine (alertness, energy) are fueling loops of pleasure and a willingness to continue the hard work of learning (and risk-taking).

Our most successful clients engage in the serious and hard work of delivering a well-crafted and well-received presentation. This requires many iterations in the preparation phase. One of our critical roles is to create an open, creative and fun process. The more enjoyable the work, the more likely clients are to advance their thinking, to be open to feedback and to embrace continuous improvement through practice. And, ultimately to find joy in the experience of communicating unique, creative, and insightful ideas with others. Spark Joy because it works.



To find the JOY in your next presentation, join us for a free 45-minute webinar on Friday April 22 at 1PM. We will share ideas and practical advice for achieving your peak performance. Register Here.