Last Saturday was a big day and next Saturday is even bigger. The panel is less than a week away and all eyes are on the pitch, the clarity of communication in order to cary the idea, how it arises out of a need in the territory, how it will make a difference, how it will be put into action, with what networks and how it will be sustainable.
On Saturday the Agents were receiving the expert help of Taz Miah an expert public speaker who came to work with them. And what a great job he did! We started off in the media suite and he got everyone up on their own to speak for 1 minute. Before they started he got them to think of a word that made them feel powerful and let the word spread through their body as they shifted into a powerful stance. Then someone else asked them a question, any question, and they had to answer it, not stopping for a minute. It was excellent. Even while there were occasional repetitions and flusters as people found new positions and perspectives to talk from. I think everyone spoke much more fluidly than they expected and it allowed all their abundant charisma and charm to come through. Christian was talking about his style, his friends, going out ice-skating, Stevanie was talking about justice and equality, Kayon on why dance was important to her. The passion and ease were evident in equal measure.
After that, in preparation for the ‘fake panel’ a simulation of next Saturday’s real panel, they got up and did their 7 minute pitches to the group, some like Mohammed & Arnold reading the script they’d been working on last wednesday with Flora, some like ‘The Big Debate…a little bit different’ going straight in with no script and sharing the speaking roles incredibly naturally. Others like Sydney used cards as prompts. Everyone helped feedback and Taz was fantastic at helping the Agents tap into their hidden reserves, what inspired them, why they were talking about this idea and using the flashes of real character he’d seen in the first exercise to really bring the Agents out their shells and not lose their flare in the potential formality of the presentation.
As I was watching I remarked to Roisin how absolutely impossible it is to know who’s going through.
People started going up to the Fake Panel made up of David Jubb (Artistic Director of BAC) Liz Moreton (Senior Producer of The Agency) Kane Moore ( Senior Development Manager at BAC and fundraising specialist) and Andre Piza (from People’s Palace & Faustini’s translator). They were all sitting behind a long table in the gym upstairs at Providence House. The groups went up one at a time while Deanna & Roisin and I were working with the remaining Agents on their way out and in, using each of the rooms to prep people/ debrief with them as they came out.
Once everyone was done it was basically 5 and we all got together in the main space from a super charged pep talk from Deanna, bigging everyone up to the max even while making sure they got what they needed to get done in the next few days, those who wanted to coming into BAC to meet Roisin for some extra help on finalising their pitch.
Everything to play for!