I have found that a lot of training at FSI is longer than it needs to be.
This week, I am not sure I would have invested the time we have in going off campus to a local performance facility [Name Redacted].
I am not saying the workshop isn't useful. It does have its moments, and the instructors are really nice (and occassionally funny, which I appreciate). But parts of it pinged my inanity meter so hard, I had to leave the room.
For example, relaxation techniques are good. I have used them before. And while I am pretty comfortable speaking publically (and have done it A LOT), even I get nervous before doing it. Every time. For those less comfortable speaking publically, I can imagine these relaxation techniques are even more vital.
But vocal warmups, while great for actors, are not so useful for diplomats, in my humble opinion. No way am I ever going to stand backstage before going on to give a talk yelling "HA HA MAMA MA!" from my diaphragm. Not going to happen. Ever.
And teaching us how to constructively critique artists...also not so useful. "I have an opinion, would you like to hear it?" We are diplomats, after all. I would like to think we can do better than that. Okay, I know a lot of us can't, but they are also the ones I wonder how they passed the group exercise of the oral assessment.
Yesterday, we were back at FSI getting talks about how art can influence people and about new and social media. I was/am alarmed that I seemed to be the most comfortable with social media of all the folks in the room except the instructor. Really, no one else tweets. (By the way, our social media instructor, Suzanne Hall, mentioned that the new FAM guidelines are out and the verdict on New and Social Media is essentially that the Department encourages us to use it but be smart about it! Hooray! For more on this, I encourage you to check out DiploPundit's piece on the guidelines.)
We will be back at this facility again today. Say a little prayer that the air conditioner holds out this time. And that I can get my little speech out before somebody makes me yell "HA HA MAMA MA!"