What’s more terrifying than standing on a stage in front of your peers, respected business owners and forward thinking entrepreneurs?
Oh yes, watching your ten year old son do it.
Noah was invited to give a talk at TEDxWhitehallWomen last week and he jumped at the challenge. Amazing, I would have run in the opposite direction at his age but apparently regularly being challenged to speak in school assemblies have paid off as he relished the chance to talk about his idea for DiaryZapp.
Noah wanted me to share with you the top tips that were given to him just in case you or your child were about to embark on any kind of presentation. These tips were shared by the pros at the TEDx talk and he was also coached by his lovely headmaster.
Inserting a little comedy into the speech to maintain people’s attention and break the ice. This was great to see the audience reaction – they laughed at Noah’s speech and his confidence rose. He’d mused over which line to say for about four days but it was worth it as that one line of humour warmed the room to his overall message.
Clenching your butt cheeks apparently stops you from shaking. So Debra Searle who was Noah’s coach told him of this time honoured trick to control nerves. He said it worked and I’m not one to argue… if you try it, please let me know.
Have a visual aid that prompts you, not one that defines you. This was important – there’s nothing more dull than watching someone stand on a stage and simply read out what’s written in a powerpoint presentation. Instead after Noah had figured out the story of his speech we helped him to create four slides that prompted him to remember the next stage of his story. It engaged the audience as they kept wondering what to expect and kept Noah brilliantly on track.
Practice to be prepared. Not only practice on every car journey but we also filmed him on the iPhone and rehearsed over Skype so he could see how he was coming across. This was essential feedback actually as we could show him the parts where he was rushing a bit. Practicing with people other than us proved really useful as well. Thanks must be given to Mr Browning – Noah’s headmaster for taking extra time to help him prepare and for encouraging him to enjoy the moment talking about something that he believes in.
Positive encouragement. It’s very easy when you’ve got a million and one things to do for an event as well as the regular school/work week to start rattling off a to-do list which can stress out smaller ears. To keep Noah calm we knew we just needed to be calm ourselves and give him a world of encouragement. And Haribo – thank you Simone Roche for welcoming Noah on the day with a massive hug and for having a massive tub of these on standby to pep him up before his talk!
I asked Noah when writing this, what extra points made the talk easier for you out of all of these tips?
He replied: ‘I’m just being honest and telling my story. What’s scary about that?’ And isn’t that wonderful? He’s just talking about an idea that seemed such an obvious need for society to have, that it banished all fear of speaking publicly. He simply wanted to share his idea, in the most natural way possible – talking.
We’re all so grateful for the opportunity for Noah to come and speak. Debra Searle, thank you for your unfailing belief in Noah and for encouraging and helping him every step of the way to get his story across in a manner that was true to him and reflected his personality. TEDx was an extraordinary experience for us all to meet so many inspirational people all in one room. It was amazing to be transported away from reality and experience it. Over two hundred people all wanting to explore ways that gaps in society could be bridged, it just goes to show that passion, inspiration, belief and a whole lot of hard work can bring these ideas to life. We can’t wait for the next TEDxWhitehallWomen. Thank you to everyone who came along and shared in the day. Best wishes to all you fellow entrepreneurs out there. Let’s keep on keeping on. The world needs us to be better!