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Mastery III

Presentations, Tools of the Trade, Measuring Your Mastery




The dreaded “Death by PowerPoint” has become a standard in many industries, something ICA facilitators and trainers find quite disturbing. It goes against all of the principles of imaginal education (see also the Imaginal Education Collection). Lecture Building is a good way to create presentation content that will engage your audience. Images rather than lots of text in a PowerPoint will help maintain interest and particularly engage visual learners.


Lecture Building

The original work of the Ecumenical Institute in its enormous efforts at “renewing the church” included mastering pedagogy for the delivery of content in courses. A unique approach developed called the 4x4x4 (or sometimes just the 4×4). After selecting a topic and clarifying the rational and experiential aims (originally called objectives), the lecture giver would brainstorm ideas using an 8 x 8 grid, meaning 64 boxes to be filled with ideas. Once they had such an exhaustive list of potential to include, they would use the Lecture Building Worksheet (see below) to rationally organize the flow of the content, making sure it also was meeting the aims. Each of the links below gives different perspectives and further information on how to develop an effective presentation that engages your own heart as well as engaging the audience.


Giving a Dramatic Lecture extensive talk, no date

Lecture Building  from The Academy papers, Chicago Centrum, 1974

Lecture Building – Presentation Notes Example a fascinating hand-written set of notes of one person’s work in creating a lecture.

Lecture Building Brainstorm Chart 8 x 8 as 64 Blocks (blank)

Off the top of your head list Illustrations/Images/Stories related to the subject matter of your talk. This chart pushes you to think “outside the box” if you brainstorm something for all 64 blocks.


Lecture Building Worksheet

Once you have brainstormed at least 64 potential pieces of content, use the chart below to begin to rationally organize the flow of the content. See the  Lecture Building links above for instructions and examples.

Sample Climate Change Presentation

Teeth of Facilitation“, Jim Troxel, 1995


Sticky Walls 

To obtain a ToP Sticky Wall®. Facilitator Tool Kit or other facilitation supplies, go to the Institute of Cultural Affairs on-line ICA Store

To see a video on how to use a ToP Sticky Wall and how to care for a sticky wall, go to All things”sticky wall” a demonstration….  With thanks to Barbara MacKay and North Star Facilitators.

Table Toys

Colorful and interesting/amusing objects or “manipulatives” were first

placed on training tables by an early trainer of ICA methods.

Now they are now widely used by ToP trainers and

facilitators to balance the intuitive and rational

parts of the participants’ brains. Museums,

 art and unique toy stores are frequently

the source of toys and objects. 

For full article



Beyond the strong feedback you receive from your assessors in a certification program, keeping a journal of reflections on your sessions that captures what happened as opposed to what you planned and adds what you learned from the experience will allow you to go back and remember what you learned as you design for later sessions. You can also use the journal to track the progress of your professional development journey.


As you continue to use your skill-set and design further sessions, an ability to do different things with the methods is another measure of your mastery. Below is an example of using methods and experience to create an entirely different application.

Storytelling Procedures from Swamp Gravy Program, Bill Grow, 1998

“Intentionality fuels the master’s journey. Every master is a master of vision.”   ~ George Leonard