I went along to AQR’s Swagger session in June with an open mind, and I came away with a mind that had been both broadened and enlightened, along with plenty of tips and ideas.
I knew to expect that the day would offer me insight into how to write even better pitches, and how to deliver even better presentations, but it was great to learn this in such an interactive and dynamic way, from such an interesting and atypical line-up of session leaders, whose different approaches were very inspiring.
We were taught some different ways to control our breathing with Charlotte Austin-Talbot, and how by varying the pace of delivery we can stimulate audience engagement. We had a taste of pitching a film idea to real-life representatives of the film industry – Jonathan Wakeham and Sarah Brocklehurst. And with Martin Gent, we were encouraged to dig deep and think creatively.
There was a really good sense of camaraderie amongst us participants – all in the same boat as we sailed in and out of our comfort zones. I wouldn’t go as far as to liken it to being thrust together in a reality TV show, but, what could at times have been a bit nerve-wracking, such as presenting to each other and being critiqued in mid-flow, simply wasn’t so daunting, and proved to be very insightful.
But for me, a personal highlight has to be the burlesque tutorial by Delores Deluxe – and yes, you did read that right – which I found fun and empowering. I can’t say I had ever imagined I would try burlesque as even a hobby, and yet, now I’m already thinking about how I can adapt (subtle) elements of it into my next presentation!
By Sharron Green