How you can adapt luminary architect Renzo Piano’s design technique

 In Architect, Learning from Luminaries

“You start by sketching, then you do a drawing, then you make a model, and then you go to reality – you go to the site – and then you go back to drawing . . .you do it . . . you redo it . . . you redo it again.” (Architect, Renzo Piano describing his working procedure, as quoted on p. 40 of The Craftsman, by Richard Sennett, Allen Lane 2008).

With Piano’s work in mind, if you want to improve your spoken message and personal communication impact and delivery you can mirror Piano’s working procedure in the following way:

Prior to a presentation/meeting:

  1. Brainstorm fresh options to hook the audience to listen (similar to Piano’s ‘start by sketching’)
  2. Form the key messages and supporting principles for the messages (‘do a drawing’)
  3. Finish the scaffold of the entire presentation, the Open-Middle-Close etc. (‘make a model’).
  4. Trial the presentation delivery on a practice audience (‘Go to the site’).
  5. Go back to your desk and rework the presentation based on the audience feedback. (‘Leave the site and go back to the drawing . . . you redo it’).

Piano’s work strategy echoes Geoff Colvin’s messages in his book Talent is Overrated. That is, to continually improve, top performers keep reworking and getting feedback on their ‘performances’ versus relying on their innate talent.

The ‘how to apply’ for this post: In the next seven days reflect on Piano’s work procedures and adapt what seems appropriate to your presentations and meetings.


p.s. I have friend that has just published a great book. His name is Robin Dickinson. Below is a message from Robin:

Four keys to sustained success

Here are the four key messages from the short presentation I gave last week to mark the 20 Year Anniversary of Northstar Martial Arts (my brother, Andrew Dickinson’s very successful business that is thriving in a tough economy). For an organisation, company or person to succeed in a way that is deeply fulfilling and sustainable, there must be:

  1. Passion: something that you care deeply for and can get passionate about. It’s a burning intensity that creates a contagious buzz. For example, Andrew Dickinson has always had a passion for martial arts and he gets very passionate about it – talking about it, being involved with it. Actions without passion are just ‘going through the motions’.
  2. Purpose: having strong logical and emotional reasons to take action and persist. For example, Andrew Dickinson has many reasons why he has persisted to grow Northstar to the organisation that it is today and beyond. Actions without purpose are short-lived.
  3. People: making people the centre of everything that you stand for. Realising your dreams is never a solo effort. It takes teamwork, family support and community involvement. For example, Andrew Dickinson lives a creed that seeks to honour, serve and empower people. Actions without people are self-serving and thus end up being me-diocre.
  4. Presence: being fully in the moment – the only place of power and truth. You can act with passion, purpose and people, but if you’re not totally centred in this present moment because you’re lamenting the past, or anxious about the future, your actions will always be hollow and impotent.

About Robin Dickinson

Robin Dickinson is a business leader and author with more than 20 years experience helping entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies succeed with his combination of commercial acumen, inspiring ideas and online community building.

Outside of his business development work, Robin is a popular contemporary visual artist. He is also learning French, Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic.

Robin’s new book

The Fortune 8: how to succeed in the web-wise world is now available for purchase as a fully illustrated e-book (Kindle) or paperback. It makes the ideal Christmas gift to give to a client, colleague or family member who is keen to succeed in this exciting new world.

BUY NOW: http://thefortune8book.com/

Connect with Robin in any or all of the following ways:


Blog:                      http://robindickinson.com

Twitter:                http://twitter.com/RobinDickinson

Facebook:           http://facebook.com/robindickinsonbusiness

Linkedin:              http://au.linkedin.com/in/robindickinson


Etsy:                      http://www.etsy.com/shop/robindickinsonart

Facebook:           http://facebook.com/robindickinsonart

Twitter:                http://twitter.com/robdickinsonart

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