“Places” by Shane Koyczan

Shane Koyczan is one of Canada’s best known spoken word poets.

Koyczan speaks “truth to power”. His messages and performances are stirring. I saw him in performance at a local theatre, last year. He puts his heart out there. I recall his tears, and mine. He has published a number of books of his poems. (I suggest Stickboy. It’s about bullying. There’s an associated amazing video, To This Day (with crescendoing narration… Beethoven, move over!). It went viral.)

Koyczan is an influential advocate for anti-bullying and social justice.

Recently, Koyczan released a video of a (2017) of a piece he did, commissioned by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. Called “Places”, “the piece (and video) shares the explicit reality of homelessness and mental health, and calls on us to remember that compassion is a better cure than indifference.” Yes, indeed.

Places starts with these words from Koyczan,

We’re busy people. We got places to be. So many places. However many places we need to get away from dealing with our problems, that’s how many places we got….

Here’s the video:

(Video not displaying? Click here to watch it on Youtube.)

Koyczan’s words are powerful on their own. Coupled with our brain’s preference and capacity to process information visually, spoken word + visual effect is a doubling down on communication impact.

Five years ago, I wrote a post titled, 12 Things you should know as a Facilitator of effective communications. #9 was “Visual communication is the wave of the future.” The future arrived, a long time ago.

[Need help with speaking “truth to power” in your workplace? Contact me. I’m also facilitating a May 14 (Victoria) workshop, “Speaking Up“, that looks at truth to power, and more.]

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