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Alumni Work Experience Week!
This week, we’ve had the pleasure of JPSOC Alumni Chris Payne joining us for work experience. We asked Chris to reflect on his experience of the “Speak Out” Challenge! and here’s what he said:
“My Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge journey began back in January 2020, when my in-school workshop took place. I have always enjoyed public speaking, having taken part in school competitions such as First Give, however the workshop helped me to refine my public speaking, gave me more confidence and taught me the power of personal storytelling in speeches. Following the workshop and school rounds, I progressed to the Sutton Regional Final in March 2020, only a couple of weeks before lockdown. Although daunting at first, performing a comedic speech it was really enjoyable to be able to draw off the sizeable live crowd and was ultimately an incredibly rewarding experience. Although I definitely missed the live crowd in the Grand Final, absent due to the pandemic, it was fantastic to go behind the scenes at a professional studio and I was taught invaluable skills for performing a speech in front of a camera – vital skills in a digital age. This was especially beneficial for me as I would like to go into broadcasting.
Following the conclusion of the Grand Final, I have continued to be involved with the programme. I really benefitted from the Level 2 Public Speaking course offered to all the finalists. This expanded upon the training given in school and Grand Final training; in particular it helped me to talk at length without preparation.
I also really enjoyed the chance to be involved in the following year’s Challenge – judging a Regional Final and being one of the MCs at the Grand Final. Having missed out on the experience of a live Grand Final due to Covid-19, it was fantastic to experience the first Grand Final post-pandemic from a different perspective, as well as interacting with the finalists and giving them advice for their speeches.
This year I have become a Speak Out Challenge Alumni Ambassador. This gives me the chance to air my views on the programme and give my opinions based on my experience, with the aim of making the Challenge even better for future participants who wish to use their voice to talk on a topic they care deeply about. It has also given me access to even more opportunities such as an invaluable interview skills workshop and Work Experience with Speakers Trust, which I am currently completing.
I have enjoyed every minute of my involvement in the Speak Out Challenge. My confidence to speak publicly on a range of topics has significantly improved and the training has really aided me with other aspects of speech-making and delivery, such as writing, gestures and posture, in addition to easy but often forgettable top tips such as to walk on stage with confidence. Further to the challenge itself, the opportunities I have been offered post-Grand Final have been highly useful and enjoyable.”
Chris Payne, Speakers Trust Alumni Ambassador and JPSOC Grand Finalist 2019-20