The topics for this term are “something I am passionate about”, exploring why it is so gripping, or “waiting”. I am nuts about paragliding, so decided to talk about that. Several weeks went by, while I listened to other peoples stories, usually amusing, always interesting, putting off the moment of having a go myself.
The trouble is that when you have been crazy about something for ten years and engaged in that activity in three different countries, it is hard to choose what to say to make an analysis of the passion and convey it.
Linda to the rescue, or rather an article she had written for her blog. Linda deLuca is an executive coach by profession but her blog is free. http://azione-scopo.com/2010/11/01/blank-page-to-powerful-presentation/ The above article made it easier than usual to zero in on what the other class members might want to hear and how to put my thoughts in order.
Now I have just come back from the class, and wrote to thank Linda:
“It went extremely well, people were butting in all over the place, asking questions in French (they are German). That is what I wanted, rather than questions as the end, which is what the teacher asked for! Your “how to” guidelines were extremely powerful, as promised. My problem was that paragliding is such an overwhelming passion for me …. There was simply too much material jostling to be talked about. In the end I never did manage to reduce the presentation to a well-behaved two pages of text, to be read out in class, which is the format that most of the others have gone for. Instead I just typed my headline points out onto an A4 sheet, in various colours and distributed it, so that people could follow the structure.
Thanks again for that valuable article.”
Getting to know German people
What I didn´t tell her was that after the class a lady came and asked when we would next be flying in the Alps, which I had spoken about. It turns out that she is going to her normal holiday location in the nearby Jura at about the same time and would like to come and watch. She gave me her e-mail address. Another lady mentioned that she has a son who is into climbing and a daughter who dives.
This sort of contact is exactly what I was looking for when I joined the class, meeting real live German people who share my interests.
Learning a language by pursuing the things that you are interested in anyway is what Benny-the-Irish-Polylot is always trying to persuade people to do: venture out and get talking to people because humans are humans and imperfect language skills need not get in the way if you really want to hear what the other person is saying, and you really want to tell them something.
It may seem a bit weird to join a French class to meet German people, but hey, it is a crazy world, sometimes the weirdest ideas work the best.
Got any comments? I´d love to hear them. See that underlining below called “Leave a comment?” That is the one!