Sunday, 27 November 2022

Make your own Christmas Angel

A lovely few hours last Friday spent making Christmas angels and chatting with students in the library. Many thanks to all those who stopped by 😀

Do join us on Thursday, Dec 8th for another session of angel making in the Drill Hall Library, between 10am - 2pm.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Thought for the week ...

Bowling with the Boys

Well, I really don't know how this happened, but our bowling trip today was me and 15 guys!!!

This is me in action, and I'd just like to point out that first game I got the bronze and second game came in with the silver.     

Me and the boys 😀

Friday, 18 November 2022

The Art of Public Speaking

Even though our numbers were fewer last night, we still had a good evening on 'The Art of Public Speaking'.

After some time brainstorming, what makes a good public speaker, it was time for a challenge!!!  Everyone was invited (and most took up the challenge) to pick a random topic out of a basket and speak on that topic, with no preparation, for between 1-3 minutes.

EVERYONE did amazingly well, despite some nerves. Barbara started us off with an entertaining 3 minutes on the subject of 'trees'.  Jane spoke on 'learning English', Arun on 'facial hair', Rhandi on 'religion', Alfred on 'the weather', and Nimanshu on 'my favourite day of the week'.  I think Augustine may have had the toughest topic, 'world peace'.  WELL DONE to all those who had a go 😀😀😀  There were several entertaining personal stories included in the mix 😀

As promised, here are my 'Top Tips for Public Speaking' ...

Know your Material

·        Find out what works for best for you.  It may be that you want to write your presentation notes in quite full detail or maybe simply having the key points written down works best for you.

·        At all costs avoid reading your presentation.

·        Practice, Practice, Practice  …  practice your presentation and know what you’re talking about it.  Read your material … practice out loud. Do a complete run through in advance … do it more than once.

·        Find someone you trust to give you feedback.

·        Being fully prepared is an act of love and respect … and intelligence.

·        Study and learn from those you see as successful speakers … what can you learn from them?


Know your Audience & your Venue

·        Who are you speaking to? What is the event? What are the aims of your presentation?

·        If possible/appropriate, greet some of your audience; it’s easier to speak to a group of friends.

·        Give your audience and the event the respect they deserve.

·        If possible, walk around the venue beforehand.  The more familiar you are with your environment, the more comfortable you'll be at the podium.


Techno Terror

·        If you are using a microphone or any form of technology, practice with this in advance. Never leave such preparation until you are in front of your audience.

·        Any PowerPoint you use should accentuate your points; they should not be your point.

·        Keep your PowerPoint simple!  Make sure you use a suitable size font and colours that are appropriate to the size of the venue.

Slides can really make or destroy a presentation. There are some good ‘YouTube’ videos with simple rules on how to use slides well – check these out!


Think Positive & Relax

·        Start by addressing your audience … pause, take a deep breath, smile, and then begin.

·        Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm … negative thinking will get you nowhere!

·        Don’t apologise for nervousness … your audience probably won’t even notice.

·        Chances are good that you're the only one who knows how nervous you are … let people believe you have it all under control, even if you don't feel like you do.

·        Visualise yourself being great!

·        We are usually our own worst critics … despite what you may think, other people want you to succeed.

·        Whether you feel like it or not, your presentation probably isn’t a life or death situation.


The Personal Touch

  • If you can turn your talk into a story or a journey, not only does it become easier for you to remember it becomes far more engaging for your audience.

·        Think about stories you can tell that are interesting but also have a lesson learned in them.

·        When you share genuine feelings you create an immediate and lasting connection with the audience.

·        Ask your audience questions; it will help to keep them engaged in the listening process.


Body Talk

·        Find out what dress code is required. The better you look, the more ready and professional you will both appear and feel. Never under-dress.

·        Have eye-contact with your audience – don’t look solely at the floor or your PowerPoint or your notes.  Don’t only look in one place – though it might be helpful to find a friendly face.

·        Stand up straight and hold your head up.  Such positive posture will help you take command of the room.  It says, ‘listen to me, I have something to say.’

·        Be aware of any nervous, repetitive gestures you make.

·        Learn how to use a microphone well or learn to project your voice.  There’s nothing worse than sitting through a presentation when you really can’t hear what’s being said.


Getting it Wrong

·        When things go wrong, what really matters is how you react.  Everyone makes mistakes; if necessary acknowledge them and move on.

·        Don’t make excuses, such as beginning your presentation with "I didn’t get much time to prepare…" or, "I’m not very good at this…"  Just get up there and smile, no matter what.

·        Be prepared for technology to go wrong. Regardless of what happens, your presentation should be able to go ahead.  An ice skater doesn’t apologize for slipping. She keeps skating, distracting you with the next great move.

·        Think about a contingency plan should something go wrong.


Say it again!

  • Your audience will only take in a percentage of what you say  … and they will filter that through their own perspectives. So create a structure that allows you to repeat and reinforce key points.

·        Seize any opportunity to answer questions. If people have questions it shows that they’re listening.

·        In larger venues, always repeat questions asked by a member of the audience.  Your answer may not make any sense to others listening, if they don’t know what the question was in the first place.


It’s All about Timing

·        Know what’s expected of you.  If you have thirty minutes, take 25. If you have an hour, take 50. Always respect your audience’s time and end early. As a bonus, this will force you to hone your presentation.  Finishing early will give you the opportunity to ask if anyone has questions.

·        Keep it short … better to leave your audience wanting to hear more than to bore them rigid.

·        Allow time for the unexpected.

·        One of the biggest indicators of nervousness is the lightning-fast talker. You might have the best speech ever written, but if no one can understand what you're saying, it doesn't matter.

·        Pace yourself and remember to speak at a normal (or even slightly slower) pace when you're speaking publicly.

·        Pause for two or three seconds and audiences assume you’ve lost your place; five seconds they think the pause is intentional; after ten seconds even the people texting can’t help looking up.  Generally only confident speakers are secure with silence.


Finish Well!

·        Plan your finish.  Wrapping up can be the hardest part of a talk.

·        Always give the audience something to take home  …  not necessarily in the sense of a handout, this might not be appropriate, but in the sense of certain key things to remember or an action point.

·        Are there 1 or 2 'sticking' points?  Key points expressed in a short, memorable phrase - that can be used a few times so your audience will remember the main thing you said after you have finished.

·        Inspiration is great, but application is everything. Give your audience something tangible that they should learn or apply.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Inter-Faith pop-up

It's been a busy, busy day  ...  but a great one 😀😀😀

In respect of Inter-Faith week, I spent four hours in our lovely library.  

There were chocolate bars on offer for any students who had a try at our inter-faith quiz.  Testing their knowledge about seven different world religions  ...  identifying the correct Holy text, symbol and festival.


Chocolates were also on offer for those who
took part in decorating our 'Faith is ...'
graffiti board. There were some really
great comments.

As always there was also our regular offering
of inspirational bookmarks.
Thanks Adenike, for all your help 😀
Here are the answers to our quiz,
for those who desperately
wanted to know.

Whilst I was doing that, Frank, Lynda and Victor were super busy in Pilkington, because it also happened to be Green Week and the Bargain Corner was meeting a LOT of needs.  Well over £100 was raised, which will go towards subsidising some of our upcoming social events.

Monday, 7 November 2022

Fireworks, Food & Fun

Sadly, the November 5th Fireworks display was cancelled last minute due to high winds on the Great Lines 😟 

However, 18 of us still gathered in the St Mark's Hall for hot soup and an evening of games.