E. Thomas Behr. Ph.D.
 42 Old Mill Road
Millington, NJ 07946
908.647.1114
tom.behr@verizon.net
www.tombehrbooks.com

How it all started

I was one of those kids in school whoseteacher
“notes” were doodles, diagrams,
and cartoons – because that’s how
my brain worked.

My teachers didn’t approve.

I was the little boy in Harry Chapin’s “Flowers are Red”

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cVpkzZpDBA (If you don’t know it, it’s a wonderful, disturbing song)

My teachers told me: “Unless you learn to be organized and think properly, Tommy, you’ll never amount to anything.”

They were pretty firm about that, and so I believed them. For a while.

Teaching

When I started teaching high school English after college and was responsible for helping kids understand and be

Teaching at the Pingry School in 1966

Teaching at the Pingry School in 1966

excited about literature and ideas, I started drawing pictures on the chalkboard. It just seemed like the right thing to do. The kids got it. And loved it.

I wanted to know why. My life-long inquiry has been a journey that began with the poets, novelists and dramatists I loved, and has expanded to include thinkers like Tony Buzan, Howard Gardner, Ned Herrmann, Roger von Oech, Gary Zukav, James Gleick, Meg Wheatley, and most recently John Medina.

Along the way, I got professionally trained in theatrical set and lighting design and had a wonderful second career in theater – 60 performances as an actor, director or designer.

What emerged over time was a synthesis of theater and whole brain thinking into a life practice of helping people visualize and act on possibilities in their lives.

 

Corporate Consulting and Training

In 1980, I left the world of teaching and embarked on a career in corporate consulting and management training, starting my own company in 1985. A few highlights of my work:

  • Systems redesign consulting (with all the visual tools required in that discipline)
  • Whole brain thinking workshops based on Ned Herrmann’s Diversity Game and my own proprietary whole brain problem solving process.
  • Blended learning systems design for clients facing the need for organizational change

visual ideas 6

This is a graphic representation of a complex learning system in leadership development created for one client that synthesizes assessment and evaluation, formal and self-directed learning, and web-based sustainability tools (which I also developed). It’s an animated PowerPoint slide so that the build and synergy among different elements can be presented visually.

PA190012

As a workshop and conference facilitator, I rely deeply on the combination of self-managed group discovery and visual thinking models, such as Harrison Owen’s Open Space and Marv Wesibord and Sandra Janoff’s Future Search.

mindmap.lg.DSC05155

 I’ve also worked for decades as a pro bono facilitator for large group community and non-profit workshops using the same methodologies.

 

 

I’m a published author. For how I incorporate graphics in my latest book, see:

http://tombehrbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/milller-book-page.jpg

Presentation Skills Training

My greatest love, however, has been helping people — at this point well over 8,000 participants in 12 different countries — learn to master the fear of public speaking and develop their own innate capacity to become powerful, compelling presenters.

MY PERSONAL “DOODLE REVOLUTION” For the past two decades I have waged a joyful, unrelenting war against the mind-numbing affliction of “Death by PowerPoint.” When the apple hit Newton in the head, it destroyed the right side of his brain. Small wonder that people since then have been thinking like half-wits.

 

Putting Power Back in PowerPoint

 

Here are some sample slides from my Presentation Skills workshop:visual ideas

  • Use animation to let participants take in and emotionally/subconsciously react to an image that triggers their own memories and feelings.
  • Then allow the text to appear, one thought at a time to frame their individual
  • Encourage participants to share what the complex concept means to them.
  • Then introduce skills and techniques to help participants accomplish goals they care about.

 

  • visual ideas 3Use animated thought balloons to create the cognitive dissonance that frees participants to question habitual (and irrational) assumptions.
  • Use laughter to open people’s minds to new ideas (and flood their brains with endorphins.

 

 

Cartoons are great, too.  presenting cartoon

 

 

 

 

 

Pushing the Envelope

I use PowerPoint now to create the equivalent of TV commercials or mini-movies.( I used to do a lot of video training, but clients don’t want to spend the money for quality video now). You can get the same dramatic effect with PowerPoint animation.

This is from an animated slide show on consultative selling in which participants experience the difference between what salespeople and customers say to each other and what they are actually thinking and feeling.

We see the conversation first, as if were a video, then the thought balloons pop up over the characters’ heads.

 power point video

power point websiteI’ve built learning websites for clients using WordPress, but I’ve also used PowerPoint to create simulated websites when clients don’t want to spend money on web development.

This is a 40-slide PowerPoint deck that looks and acts just like a non-linear website.

Participants view it in slide show mode, so the hyperlinks are active.

All the buttons on the top menu bar are active, so participants can jump from one section to the next, review material as they need to, access embedded tools and resources.

I’ve learned you don’t need to “teach” with this tool. Participants today are so used to websites that they instinctively know how to explore and discover. They create the questions that they then solve collaboratively using the resources on the site.

Share This