A little aside from another presentation I helped to do today. I take the view that to grab the attention of an otherwise distracted audience is to tell them something real, something from the heart and something they will take notice of.
The group was a small one composed of people doing a sports degree. As you might expect on occasions, the attention span isn’t brilliant. That’s the beauty of each of these presentations, you don’t know what your audience will be like. You can’t expect them to be interested or attentive every time.
So I started talking about an episode of my life which I’m not proud of. When I started speaking, two of the group were messing about. All of a sudden, one of the pair said to his mate “Stop messing about and listen, this is serious”.
The story was when I was feeling extremely low a few years back and I went to the doctor with a very frank admission. I basically wanted to overdose on tablets. The doctor’s reply was typically forthright “Do you want to die? Because that’s what will happen if you overdose on tablets. They will do you enormous harm….”
Poignant and hard hitting. The joshing from the group members stopped and all eyes and ears were on me. “Brilliant!” I thought. They are now paying attention.
The group of students were fine. I’ve seen and dealt with a lot worse, and in any case, their tutor was firm and resolute with them. The group did an activity we asked of them and they did it with interest, knowledge and enthusiasm. They were happy and the tutor was so pleased with our efforts that he wants us to come back and do another presentation to another group he teaches. Fantastic. My colleague was superb, and she contributed hugely to a very enjoyable experience.
This whole week has been part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Businesses, schools and colleges have been putting on efforts to make people aware that we should be talking about mental health and helping to ensure that it isn’t bad or shameful to share our problems. Always make that first step. You could be saving your own or someone else’s life.
A tiring week, but a hugely enjoyable one and I’m buzzing to do more. I really enjoy what I do and putting my story out there. Realism, that’s what people want.