The Many Roads of America, Part I
It’s dark, we’re hushed behind the massive cinema screen. 19 people are sporadically twitching nervously. I’m shaking like a shitting dog but hiding it well (I think). I’m fourth person up and can hear the crowd cheering the second speaker. That gives me just 3 minutes to wait in the wings, eye up the audience and wait to unleash my adrenaline fuelled monologue…
I’m walking on stage, staring wildly into the lights, off I go: “Hi, I’m Gareth James…”
It’s pretty crazy really, I have experience of speaking to crowds, have done the ‘high stakes’ pitch presentations, even done the best man thing where you’re essentially the standup comic for the night. But this presentation was very different. Why? Well, the sheer craziness of the Elevator Pitch at Reasons to be Creative comes in threes:
Firstly, your presentation is just 3 minutes long. That’s right: 3 minutes. What’s so hard about that? Well there’s a lot you can cram into three minutes but you have to be succinct, to the point and to quote John Davey who’s the brainchild of this - Do not over-run, spoiling it for the person on stage after you, big disrespect if you do that.
Secondly, the auditorium (Brighton Dome) is ram-packed with very, very clever people - about 750 of them in fact. A really switched on audience including a fair amount of this years esteemed speakers. This crowd will know if you’re all BS.
Thirdly, it’s a competition - the best Pitchers get offered a full speaking slot at next years show. Amazing. Despite the bravado of winning not being a big deal you still know that you’re about to be judged. And you just know that the calibre of the other talks will be through-the-roof.
Those three factors, plus the shared experience with a great bunch of other pitchers meant it was by far the best presenting experience i’ve had. Quite simply awesome. We all emerged from it with a 1000-yard-stare like we’d seen battle, man. Camaraderie in spades. New friends were made.
How the organisers of Reasons manage to cram 20 speakers into 60 minutes without glitches is an achievement of huge magnitude, eclipsed in scale only by Brighton’s Hen-do epidemic.
Next year, you should do it. You really should.
Mmmm home made chilli jam.
Lightening storm off Grand Cayman
Ice ice baby
7 mile beach. Paradise!
All meeting rooms need this sign. Fact.
Finally getting some colour on the stairs!