Out on a Limb

I have this theory that in the age of information, some of us are comfortable keeping a low profile, close to the tree trunk (so to speak); while others are okay with stepping away from the trunk, and going out on metaphorical limb. Each style is valid, and the same person can inhabit both at different times in their life. Context is also an influencing factor. This year, for example, I’ve spent chunks hugging the trunk and chunks hanging on a branch for reasons I won’t get to hear and now.

Look the camera does add 10 lbs.

Look the camera does add 10 lbs.

This spring, I was asked to give a presentation for work at an event intended to increase employee engagement in the British Columbia Public Service by providing information sessions of value to staff and to draw them together across agencies and working lines. This event featured something called an ETC Talk (Engagement, Technology, Culture). It is a take off of TED talks that are a current interweb steam engine. In addition to the “studio audience”  my talk would be recorded and shared on the BCPS internal internet site; and, due to the magic of YouTube,  potentially further beyond.

Have a view of the recording here. It’s 15 min. long so adjust the playback speed to 1.5 or 2.0 and make me sound like Donald Duck and spare some time: Greg’s ETC Talk

I was one of three ETC speakers that day and each of us was a BC Public Servant. While these ETC talks were done before, this was the first time they were presented and filmed outside of home base (Victoria). I was reluctant to participate, when first asked, because the event was scheduled for a few days after a family vacation to California and I had other projects in May and June that required my time and attention. However, I reconsidered when I was told that I would be the only local speaker and that the others would be coming from elsewhere in the province. At that point I felt obligated to participate and to represent the Northern interior.

It meant a lot of work in a condensed period of time before my vacation. It meant visualizing my talk in odd places in stolen moments such as roller coaster ride or security line-up. And, it likely compromised my effectiveness in my other, pre-confirmed spring projects. It did however, also gift me a few more grey hairs, heaping amounts of stress hormones, and an interesting learning experience.

I stand on the shoulders of Bob Chartier

I stand on the shoulders of Bob Chartier

Some have asked me what inspired this talk and I tell them I stand on the shoulders of federal public servant and change agent Bob Chartier. The story I’ve heard Bob tell few times a before and it has always captured me. I am simply retelling it; albeit in my own style and with my own examples. I don’t normally do covers, I prefer to present original material; however, the time complexities I explained before forced my hand on this one.

Why I climb on the limb is a story best kept for another time as I’m already getting long here.  Suffice to say that doing and sharing something like this is definitely an expression of my “limb-climbing” phase of 2014. I think it also demonstrates that everything and everyone has a backstory and I think we are all richer people when we inquire what these might be.


I would be privileged if you took some of your precious holiday time to have a peak and then tell me what you thought of it, how it made you feel, or what you might do differently as a result.

Comment below, tweet me @gsjonuk, or email me at thejonuks@shaw.ca

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2 Responses to Out on a Limb

  1. Roberta Campbell says:

    Hi Greg – I loved the talk – great use of visuals and wonderfully engaging presentation. I have shared your video with my Toastmaster group (Birdcage club) here in Victoria. thanks for posting the link and back story on Yammer (which is where I first ‘saw’ you, so when I saw you on the @Work site, I clicked….

  2. gsjonuk says:

    Thanks for taking the time to view my talk and read my blog post Roberta! Your mention of the Birdcage club made me think of how long it’s been since I visited an “out of town” Toastmaster Club. I’ll have to fix that soon.

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