I recently took a Present Yourself! workshop with The Growth Company in Manchester, helping a group of their members build confidence through comedy.
Late last year I took part in their ‘Spark 2 Scale’ programme – to help grow my own business, and it’s been a real boost for my networking and marketing. So it only made sense then for me to then approach them at the end and offer the service they’d helped me develop in return.
The idea for ‘Present Yourself!’ was born out of the stand up comedy class I had been teaching, and has slowly ‘iterated’ from there over the last 2 years. Slowly adding in ‘bits’ from other disciples such as personal development, solo improvisation and side coaching, and clarifying what it is – and what it isn’t. It’s great finally see growth myself, the help running the event the feedback on the day was incredibly rewarding.
Feedback from the event:
“I came away with more confidence, and an understanding that I can talk about topics that I’m passionate about in a way to engage the audience without losing them … probably one of the most rewarding growth hub events and totally valuable use of my time.”
“Brilliant – straight away comfortably out of my comfort zone!”
“Really enjoyable. Got a lot from it. Hope to implement in my workplace.”
“It will push tour boundaries, but well worth it.”
“Amazing use of 3 hours to develop confidence & presentation skills.”
Back in October I joined a programme called ‘Spark 2 Scale’. A series of workshops run by The Business Growth Hub designed to boost businesses and help me grow the success of my own training sessions.
I’m at the halfway point and already seeing benefits. From practical networking to personal effectiveness and growth hacking. Here are a handful of thoughts on what I’ve taken so it so far.
A timely kick in the pants.
Naturally, being self employed means I have to be proactive, and speculative. With all the goodwill in the world, bad habits can creep into work patterns over time, my work patterns. The very nature of opting to go on a course to grow my business, creating a new ‘business model canvas’ is healthy. Being asked questions that poke at the corners of where I want to go with my niche ‘ stand up comedy techniques for presenting and public speaking‘ training is a very welcome and invited kick in the pants.
Delivering training on presenting and public speaking skills using techniques from my experience in stand up comedy, is a bit niche and a bit of a mouthful to explain concisely. I’ve always found networking a challenge not because of a lack of confidence, actually the opposite. I’m happy to talk and listen, but always found follow ups quite low. Learning that potential clients are more likely to look online for the kind of training I provide took the impetus off attending live events where I wasn’t speaking.
The advantage of the focused nature of the Spark 2 Scale programme is, I find, that I’m in the room with other business minds eager to grow. That common goal really helps. Like me they’re looking to pick up skills, and of course the best business offers are made when you’re not looking for them.
The anticipation of having a growth strategist look over my new business plan with a fine tooth comb and a big red pen was a bit daunting. Despite recent successes, it was outside of my comfort zone, and some of my hidden worries (impostor syndrome or feeling like an amateur) were threatening t show themselves.
Wonderful then to sit down and have all that negative thinking evaporate as my adviser shared my enthusiasm for what I was doing and it’s growth potential. Helping open doors, look at big goals and point out flaws in a way that was practical and constructive.
Prep for the next step.
I’ve three new projects lined up, and as I’m writing this blog. Both leads came from the preparation I put in before starting the programme. I don’t want it to sound like bragging. ( I’m currently reading the book ‘How to toot your own horn without blowing it’ – Peggy Klaus). However once I’d signed up to the course I wanted to have clarity about my outcomes. Updating the website, re-writing marketing content and polishing my elevator pitch, the little jobs that get pushed back received the extra attention they deserved and got results.
Supportive and sharing.
I’m aware through the many books I’ve read that business is people. Whatever the size. I’m influenced by my environment and the people I choose to work with. I shouldn’t have been surprised when the second masterclass was on personal effectiveness. Clapping my hands under the table when the handouts touched on the ‘the map is not the territory’ one of my favourite phrases about planning and adapting to change.
Spark 2 Scale has provided an inspiring environment for my business goals and I’m glad to be part of it.
John Cooper, Comedian & Improviser. Public speaking workshops and training for UK businesses. Dealing with public speaking nerves and providing confident focus through unique and entertaining workshops