On Tuesday we held our most recent Focus call on ‘Hosting Fantastic Community events’. We were pleased to have as our special guest speaker Ellis Brooks, a seasoned community organiser who has previously worked with RESULTS, Amnesty and Oxfam. Ellis spoke to us about how to plan and organise community events. We also had RESULTS’ Executive Director, Aaron Oxley who shared some practical skills on public speaking. You can listen to the recording of the call here.
The call was vital preparation for our January 2011 action, which is going to be to hold a screening of the Global Poverty Project’s 1.4 Billion Reasons DVD in your local community. 1.4 Billion Reasons is an interactive presentation designed to reach, engage and activate audiences on the issue of extreme poverty. Based on leading research, the presentation clearly articulates the facts of extreme poverty and demonstrates that by making simple changes everyone can be a part of the solution. It’s therefore an absolutely ideal base to help enthuse new people about becoming a part of RESULTS and taking political action to fight extreme poverty. If you weren’t able to join us on Tuesday do listen to the recording in preparation for January’s action!
Ellis gave some excellent practical advice on planning and organising a community event which will be useful for carrying out the action we will be taking in January 2011. The areas covered in that section of the call explored:
- How to plan an event
- How to successfully raise an audience
- Who to invite to your event
- Choosing a date & time
- Ideal Venues for Community events
- How to Promote your community event
Ellis discussed the best ways to reach an engaged audience in your local community, how to enthuse them, and other people locally, about the event and how to generate substantial media interest.
Aaron then shared some practical steps on how to be transformed into a better speaker. These tips will help you develop a clear and confident communication style to really engage your audience. The general tips shared by Aaron included:
- Knowing your material. Specifically the material on the 1.4 billion Reasons DVD, and to practise what you will be saying out loud
- Know your audience: greeting people individually to welcome them as they come to the meeting is a good way to start. This will help you to relax when it comes to speaking to them.
- Know the room where the meeting will be held. You’ll fell more comfortable andthis will come across in your speech.
- Relax by taking a deep breath and doing anything else which helps to make you feel less anxious or nervous
- Visualise yourself giving the talk. Think positively.
- Remember: Never begin or end anything you say with an apologyr eg. Apologising for being nervous
- Focus on what you are trying to get across and why you are saying what you have to say. Embrace the message you are delivering.
- Make it personal. You can do this by starting with thanking the attendees not only for attending but linking their presence with contributing to the overall aims of the meeting.
A lively discussion followed the presentations and there was a consensus that the ideal way to end the community event should end with a specific ask of the audience. They should be given the opportunity at the meeting to make a pledge to action and some creative examples were shared on how to do this.