The guy at the flipchart is in his late 40s, early 50s. Suspenders, glasses, shirt, gray full beard. "When 80,000 people in the stadium groan or murmur - what is that?" After a short thought it is clear: "Non-verbal communication" is what is wanted. Incidentally, this is in contrast to “shoot it!” – that would be verbal communication. Everyone quickly realizes that communication can be so much more than the spoken word. A look, the tone of voice, but also the posture, the sitting position or breathing, all of this has an influence on how we and our message are perceived by others. Or in other words: How the recipient interprets our message, what should be considered and what can be done wrong was discussed in this session at the Agile Ruhr Day.

What is Agile Day?

The Agile Ruhr Day is an open bar camp in the Unperfekthaus in Essen. The aim: to promote exchange and provide suggestions. So for us the perfect opportunity to get new inspiration.

But one after anonther. It started in the morning with breakfast and the "first mutual sniffing". Around 160 interested parties from a wide variety of industries had announced their attendance. During the planning in the opening session, one thing became clear: there are a lot of exciting topics to discuss. Whether – as mentioned above – communication, recruiting, “agile games”, transformation or the psychological constructs behind individual motivation; there was something for everyone. Discussions were usually very intense, completely independent of industry, activity or hierarchy.

One focus: What motivates us? Are we intrinsically driven, or do we simply follow the "call of money"? Or something completely different? Prof. Dr. Monika Burg in her lecture with smaller role plays. In another lecture, Dennis Willkomm represented the thesis "Agility does not work without psychology". Everyone goes through different phases in life, such as the ego phase as a small child. It was of course clear to everyone that this would not get you very far in terms of cooperation ("...unless you are the president of a large country..."). His conclusion: If you want to successfully deal with agility, you not only have to have the right communication strategy at hand for every situation or every counterpart, you also have to be able to adapt to changing situations and be able to interact constructively and effectively with those around you.

Title or no title

There was also lively discussion about careers and recruiting in agile companies. Classic? New ways? Or in Shakespeare's words: "Title or no title?" - that is the question here. Where one company – perhaps also due to a lack of the appropriate size – relies on classic HR professionals, other companies take a different approach and work with peer recruiting: job interviews are primarily conducted by those who are supposed to work with potential new candidates in their day-to-day work – the experts of the respective department. Only when they give the thumbs up does the executive floor or a responsible human resources manager take over for salary negotiations.

Of course, the question in the headline wasn't about the famous gray pachyderms. Rather, it is about a "big, heavy problem". How do you deal with something like that in a conversation? Indeed a subject where finding the right words is not always easy. Nevertheless, the session was well attended and there was a lot of brainstorming.

What exactly is “agile”?

As this day shows, the topic can be approached from very different angles. For us, this first participation in an event of this format was primarily a "gathering of impressions". Even though we didn't make any contributions of our own this year: the exchange was very interesting; as well as the opportunity to follow the approaches of others. Next year we will be there again. Most certainly.