A New Generation Steps Up to the Plate

Over the past few months, along with another speaker and coach, I’ve been working with a group of students at a local secondary school. The programme that was devised was aimed at helping them to bridge the gap between school and the world of work by helping them with their presentation and communication skills. What we wanted to do was ensure that they were able to present themselves well so that, once they got before a potential employer, they would do themselves justice.

The programme had been planned in some detail but, with the approaching summer holidays, we had to fit everything thing into a shorter timescale than we had originally intended. Also, although these were 17 year olds, none of them had spoken in public before. So we started with helping them to identify a subject that had been a “turning point” in their lives and then write a script based on that. During the second week, we actually got each one up to speak! Yet, with only three weeks to go before the presentation to their peers, teachers and families, I was getting worried that it wouldn’t all come together. I should have had more faith, especially given my own experiences.

Well, on that week, they all stood up and gave a short presentation and Mike, my fellow coach, and I were amazed. They did it; in one case with an 8 minute presentation. Not only that but, in the weeks that have followed, they have improved beyond measure. So much so that, next week, when we have the presentation, I expect the programme to have delivered all that I planned for it to do when I first started work on it more than two years ago. If these students are any indication, the future is in safe hands.

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