Tag Archives: presentation skills

Storytelling: getting your voice heard with Power to Change @ Locality 2017

Storytelling: getting your voice heard. John Cooper blogs about the break out training session offered by Power to Change at the Locality Convention 2017

On the 14th November I was invited by community business organisation Power to Change to deliver a break out session at the Locality Convention in Manchester. If you were there, hello! Public speaking   workshop. storytelling workshop  

Big thanks to Claire and the team at Power to Change for inviting me along. It was really quite inspiring to be around so many community leaders, people who ‘get things done’ for the betterment of their local communities.

The session was about providing practical techniques that would get their voices heard at local authority level,  to gain funding for their projects. It was a bit whistle stop as I tried to cram in a lot from what I’ve learned over the years;  being confident and comfortable speaking and sharing to developing empathy in a narrative.  I was  aware these attendees probably had their own story to tell, and indeed they did.  Everyone I spoke to over the afternoon and evening reception had an incredible story to tell. Choices they had made, often selflessly,  to make things better for those around them. Events they had made happen, goals achieved or journeys that had just begun with a sentence along the lines of  “…so I quit my regular job to go do this instead”.

The strength of character in the room was tangible ( I even shared a bit of my own story)  and I was pretty humbled at the end of the session when co-organiser Charlotte showed me the feedback from attendees while I sold some of my books.

Power to Change put on a great evening reception, highlighting the history of community business with a book launch and a play  by the Manchester Shakespeare Company.

Not a bad way to spend my birthday.

Links:

workshops for community businesses. training for community business. 

 

A Life Less Ordinary

Choosing to put comedy, illustration and my other disciplines on one website might sound obvious, but it was actually a really tough decision.

The term ‘jack of all trades’ is a phrase that has bugged me for years.  I know it’s negative connotations and consider myself an optimist, but I’ve always thought I was one. A ‘jack of all trades…and master on none’.   My thinking has been perhaps inherited from the  previous generations. The received wisdom that focusing on one career to become an expert over time was the best way forward, and taking an interest in a few different things diluted time, effort and commitment .

Since going freelance as a designer and pro as a comedian I didn’t want a design client knowing I did comedy in case they thought I didn’t take the work seriously, or a comedy promoter to know that I did graphic design.  I was terrified of not being seen as professional.

Old beliefs are very hard to shake.  I previously had five different websites. One for comedy, one for  design and illustrations, and more recently a podcast and training workshops.  Each of these things had it’s own orbit and audience, with rare overlapping exceptions.

The fear of confusing people with ‘multi disciplines’ and not being able to answer the ‘what do you do’ question’ in less than four sentences was (and still is) a bugbear.  However, I’ve known for years that diversity and adaptability are key to survive, and something just clicked. Listening to technology podcasts, reading Seth Godin books. Learning more about applied improv in my podcast. Finally something clicked and I’ve broken my old programming.

So here are ‘all my eggs –  in one basket’. Better for me, better for  google SEO and as I’m finding, people who come looking for one thing and find another and spend a bit of time on my website looking around. Isn’t the the point of a good website?