Hi Folks! I'm Sassy. Welcome to my Soapbox.
I've been a communication enthusiast for a very long time. All the myriad ways we humans 'talk' to each other holds endless fascination for me. So when I started my consultancy, Sassy Facilitation, it wasn't just to support a movement and model I believe in, or to have the dubious benefits of being my own boss -- it was also to make a profession out of a proclivity.
I really, really like this stuff.
I like communication because it is endemic to the human condition -- it is the lifeblood of all our endeavors, especially when we cooperate to create something larger than ourselves. From a 2 person partnership, to a 20 person business, to a 20 million person city -- whenever we organize, we must communicate.
Who the Heck am I to be talking to You?
My most recent personal Strategic Planning session -- in which I decided to start this blog -- was... interesting. When I look at the column "Assets: Skills and Experiences," I see "Renaissance Woman", but "Crazy Quilt" would be just as accurate. I am, shall we say, an avid collector of eclectic experiences. Here is a small sampling:
- I have facilitated a conflict resolution process inside a tent in a 70 mile hour windstorm.
- I regularly lead participatory education events on adult sexuality -- some folks call them 'orgies'.
- I dedicated 20 years of my life to Theater (becoming a triple threat before donning stage blacks).
- I have a degree in Ecology, and once helped tackle and tag a tiger shark in the service of science.
- I can also design and sew wedding dresses, fell, saw and split a tree for firewood, and run a full service kitchen serving 100 people 3 meals a day.
Throw in over 16 years in peer facilitation training, chairing and sitting on several Boards of Directors, living and working in democratic organizations since age 3, a healthy dash of Direct Activism, and a hard boundary against taking bullshit from anyone.
Add it all up, and what do you get? An experienced communication fetishist with an eclectically sourced, scientifically applied, and thoroughly beta-tested collection of high-stakes communication tools.
And in collecting and learning to wield all these tools, I learn over and over how communication is endemic to our daily lives -- and therefore how, when we learn a lesson in one context, its application in another context can yield very productive (or at least very interesting) results.
Communication Lessons from Unlikely Places
That lesson is the thesis of this blog. What powerful tools -- from practices & policies to rubrics & rituals -- for increasing communication competency can arise from unlikely cross-fertilizations of context? We'll ask questions like:
- What can the BDSM community teach us about high-stakes, identity centered, oppression-neutralizing negotiations?
- What can the system-oriented models of Ecological Science say about growth planning, resource allocation, and communication design?
- What can Theater teach us about managing collective egos and competing visions on a tight schedule (and budget)?
- What can the streamlined volunteer operations at Burning Man show us about the productivity force multipliers of fun and self-expression?
- And, of course, what can the world of co-ops -- across all sectors, contexts, and ownership models -- teach us about consensual communication and unpacking power hierarchies in our daily lives?
We'll talk about all this and more, in four different ways:
These posts will be explanations of communication tools that Sassy Facilitation has developed and uploaded into the Original Tools Library. We'll go over what they are, how to use them, and when to apply them to good effect.
In these posts we will take a scenario -- a story or experience from the Crazy Renaissance Woman Quilt -- and draw from it a synthesized communication lesson, tool, or metaphor that applies across unlikely contexts.
This column's posts all start with the words: "Dear Sassy..." By popular request, every once in a while we will deconstruct and advise on an anonymous real life communication conundrum from any context.
Occasionally we'll round up a few folks from interesting, innovative, or wildly different backgrounds, sit down and dig into a special sub-genre of communication. These posts will feature notes, interviews, and outcomes from these conversations.
Broader Perspective, Better Communicator, Benefits for Life
A larger toolbox, a higher vantage point, a bigger library -- pick the metaphor you like, the sentiment holds true: the broader a perspective you can draw upon, the better equipped you are to communicate efficiently, effectively, and equitably.
And because communication is endemic - you reap the benefits many times! No matter where you apply these communication lessons (at work, at home, in your hobbies, volunteering, in your family relationships) the benefits of better communication will spill over into the other wheelhouses of your life. Inevitably, your lives and the lives of those you communicate with will improve. Or at least we hope they will. I promise nothing -- but my life sure has!
But then, as I've said, I really, really like this stuff.
I hope this blog helps share that enthusiastic enjoyment -- and the spillover benefits to your daily life -- with y'all!