ECPO 2019: Effective presentation skills training Teena Gates


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Hello everybody, how are you? Greetings from Dublin, in Ireland. I’m actually going to use the seat that was very nicely provided for me, and it’s going to be a first, because normally I’d be standing at the podium or I’d be dancing around the stage and I’d be trying to impress the whole room with how able-bodied I am, but in this gathering I’m actually going to confess that I have a bad back and a really sore hip, so on this occasion I’m going to enjoy taking the chair and actually taking the seat. So I’m going to do that, and I think that kind of in itself is a sign of something, and that is that I’ve learned a huge amount just in the room this morning, and I don’t mean particularly about the science, but I’ve learned about language, and I always am aware that language is really very, very important, and let’s see if I say this correctly, I have my entire life been struggling and living with obesity.

That’s the first time I’ve said that, because I would normally say I’ve been obese all my life and I’ve been struggling with being obese all my life. And that difference, that difference in the interpretation has only come home to me today, literally sitting in this room. So I’ve pinned on my ribbon, but I’m also almost overcome with the fact that if I feel this way, and if that’s the language that I have been using and I’m 52 to describe living with obesity, well then what a big job there has to be done, what a big job lies ahead of all of us.

But the thing is it needs to be done, for me to come into this room and have a moment of revelation, that shows what a necessity there is to get the message out there and to start this conversation. So I’m very grateful to be here today, because instead of me training you, you’re training me, so thank you very much for including me Now, this is my book and I’m not selling it, it’s over 10 years old, but I suppose it brought in what I call my golden period, which at the moment still feels like my golden period, and that is five years in my life where I had just literally lost 10 stone in one year. I’d had a medical scare, I needed a gallbladder operation and I was told that I was basically not a candidate for surgery because of my weight.

So that gave me a huge shock and it changed my lifestyle and I went out and I started dieting and I started exercising and I fell in love with nature, which I’ll talk more about as we go along. But I lost 10 stone in one year, I ended up going to Everest base camp, I climbed Kilimanjaro, I went to Elbrus in Russia, I climbed some serious mountains, 10 stone, 140 pounds, thank you for pointing that out for me. So then I wrote a book about it and I came back and I was somewhat of a media celebrity in Ireland because of what I was after doing.

Now Ireland is a small country, it’s not actually that difficult to be a media celebrity, but hence this book. And I wrote it and the subtitle was From 23 Stone to Me and I thought I had job done. So I had five wonderful years doing lots of wonderful things and then life threw me a curveball and I still don’t really know what happened.

I’m still examining myself and my situation to find out how in January of this year I found that I was 26 stone, which was heavier than I’d ever been in my life before. And I’ve lost five stone now because again it was a wake up call for me to go and change my life. But I’m still evaluating and still asking myself the question, how can this happen? I thought I was fixed.

The world very happily told me that I was fixed. I wasn’t fixed. And I’m only this year realising that this is something that I am going to be facing and dealing and coping with for my entire life.

What is the something? Today in this room I’m learning that this is a disease. This is groundbreaking news for me and I’ve been living with this since I was a teenager. I can remember actually before I was a teenager the first time that I was aware of my weight was when I was in boarding school and us girls all changed clothes.

I’m so old the jeans were new and I couldn’t fit into any of my friends’ jeans. And that was the first time that weight was an issue for me. And from then onwards it’s been part of my life every day.

So a little bit about me and a little bit about why she’s up there as the first slide. My life is in radio. Since I was 17 years of age I’ve been a journalist and since I was 17 I’ve been on the radio.

It’s in my DNA, it’s in my blood, it’s my comfort zone. Although I did admit to Christina that I was nervous before being up in front of you. And I’m still nervous after 13 years of presenting.

I’m still nervous every time I take a microphone and go on the radio. I’m still nervous before I go into a room. But Christina said that’s a good thing, because it means I’m focused and I care and I’m interested in doing well.

So the reason why I’m admitting it, and I wouldn’t normally admit it, is that I want anybody in the room who’s worried about giving a presentation or getting up in public and talking, it’s okay to be nervous about it, it’s okay to lack confidence. You’re actually not special by feeling nervous. I think most people who get up feel nervous.

And it does get easier with time, simply because you know you’re not going to pass out, because you didn’t do okay the last time. So you build on that platform and keep moving forward. I’m an author, I’m a broadcast journalist, I do a lot of public speaking.

So as I said, normally I’d be trotting up and down the room or standing behind a podium, although on occasion I have started bringing a box with me, because the last time I was standing in front of her, or one of the last times I was standing on a podium, it came to there. And they videoed the whole session! So I made great eye contact with everybody in the room. So I now bring a box with me.

If I was in Ireland, I would bring a speaker system with me, and the reason why I’m mentioning this is that I want to start talking to you about the things that can go wrong that you can prevent in advance from going wrong. Because I think I’ve done them all! I think I probably have found myself in the most embarrassing situation up in front of the room. And do you know what? You get through it.

You find a way of continuing. Because the most person in the room that knows the message you’re trying to get across is you yourself. So all the aids make it easy, but at the end of the day it’s actually you.

So if everything fails you can still stand there and talk, even if you would never dream of doing that before you walked into the room. So today I’m here to show you effective presentation skills, to empower the audience, to communicate confidently and competently, to communicate with clarity and conviction, to structure presentations for better outcomes, and to engage participation and interaction. So let’s have a little bit of interaction just right now, this minute.

Is there anybody in the room who has not given a presentation of some sort before? Is there anybody in the room who is not nervous about standing up and presenting? So does anybody want to confess like I did to being really nervous about standing up and presenting? Okay! So we have a big club, so already we have a lot in common with each other, and that’s the first step of interacting. It’s about you introducing yourself to your audience, to the people in the room, and it’s also about them introducing themselves to you. Because when we’re interacting, when we’re exchanging information, and of course this is what today is all about, exchanging information, when we do that we get to know each other.

So it’s not just about learning about the content, it’s about learning about the people, and I think that’s important whenever you’re giving any sort of a message, it’s to learn about the people, and I think what we’re all doing and what you’re all doing is wonderful, because you’re putting faces to the science, and I think that’s really important in getting a message across. This was me at 23 stone before I went into my phase of being a 10 stone minus young and running around mountains. This is before I went off and lost my weight, the first time around! This is me with the former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, getting an award for services to media, which as you can imagine was a very proud occasion.

So you’d imagine that the photo was up on the mantelpiece at home? No! Because I’m worried, because in the picture I’ve got a Chanel handbag, I’ve got real curls, I’ve got a silk shirt, I’ve got a handmade suit, and nothing fits, and nothing looks good. I can’t close the jacket properly, the shirt doesn’t go down far enough, the handbag sliding off my shoulder because my shoulders are too curved, and all I could think about on the day meeting the President wasn’t about the fact that I was being congratulated for something that I do well, it was I look a mess, I feel a mess, I climbed up a couple of steps to meet the President, and I was so out of breath I could hardly say good afternoon. So the whole occasion was ruined, not by my size, but my feelings about it.

And when I said earlier that I’d been saying for years that I have struggled with being obese as opposed to struggling with obesity, I am the first person to label myself, because my first port of call is I’m an obese person. In that picture I’m thinking I’m an obese person. I am fat.

That’s the only thing that was in my head. And if we have to change the mindsets of people who are in that situation, again what a big job we had ahead of us to try and make other people understand what sometimes we can’t even understand ourselves, so it’s a big challenge. That’s me when I started doing my climbing, that’s down in Killarney in County Kerry.

And I’ve got a big staring face on me, and the reason why is because there’s a certain gentleman who climbs a lot of mountains called Pat Falvey, and he’s the man with the camera in this frame, and the look on my face when he’s not reacting to the camera is because he’s taken a perfect snap because he knew when I came over that summit, that little mini summit, I was going to see the ridge spread out ahead of me, and that was only about 1% of what the day had in line ahead. So that’s a look of pure horror. I’m going to be talking about this frame in the next session which is about media a lot more than I am now, but just now to suffice just to say that’s me in the red, the one on the bottom there, abseiling off.

It’s like the Irish London Eye, if you like. We had it down in the Docklands for seven years. Huge! It’s very scary, and I did it as a publicity stunt to raise funds to go to Everest Base Camp and to go beyond Everest Base Camp to raise money for HOPE, which is a charity that looks after street children in India and Kolkata.

So I’ll be talking about the promotional prospects of that after lunch. That’s me coming down a violent peak, coming down of 20,305 feet, and I stood on the top of the world in a spot where not many people stand. Not the top of Everest, I’m not saying that, but it was a peak within the Everest range in Nepal, above the Kumbh glacier, 20,305 feet, and me, I, the five-foot-nothing Oak Way girl who couldn’t fit into the skinny jeans in school, which weren’t actually skinny, I managed that, and it was just a hugely empowering moment.

I’m going to play you just a little bit of video. You can actually see little bits of snow falling, and the darkness in the background, that’s the Kumbh glacier. I’m going to share just a couple more minutes of this torture with you.

Because I want to share with you what people of all sizes can do. By the way the head breathing isn’t mine, it’s his! Isn’t that a stunning scene, look at the beautiful mountains in the background. And those are the two Sherpas, I must actually, I’ll share a little story with you about the Sherpa.

Afterwards when I was thinking back on these climbs, and this one in particular, I was wondering why the Sherpa helped other people up the top and over the ridge. More so than that, they literally dragged them up over the edge, down further, where you were coming off of an ice wall. You were coming off an ice wall onto a summit ridge, and the Sherpa pulled the people that were in our group, there was seven out of 14 that made it this far.

They were pulling them up over the, it took ten and a half hours to get to that point by the way, ten and a half hours of climbing from three o’clock in the darkness of the morning. But the Sherpa were pulling them up, and they didn’t pull me. Days later when we were all sitting down in Kathmandu, discussing what had gone on and how amazing it was, and I said to the said Pat, who happened to be our team leader, I said, why did the Sherpa not pull me up over the edge? I was a bit offended over it to be quite honest with you.

And he said, that was actually, he said, that was a compliment. I said, what do you mean that was a compliment? And he said, they were respecting the warrior within, so they weren’t helping you because they were saying you don’t need it. I get choked up even now thinking about that.

Mind you at the time I would have preferred if they had pulled me up, but now I don’t. So I went back to Ireland and the weight loss and the experience of doing all that climbing and the adventure, it gave me access to the airways and I wrote my book on the back of it. The guy that’s given me a hug down there, that’s Ryan Tomerdy, a couple of us would know him.

He’s the big star back at home. The Late Late Show, which is his show, and that’s me on the top right hand side there, that would be the biggest show in Ireland and the biggest. Once you’re there, you’ve sold the book.

And it was a best seller three days after coming off the show, so it wasn’t really my writing skills, it was more my ability on the Late Late Show. But that all fell into place and this is part of the I am cured phase as I say. Weighty problems, well then I had five years where I really felt powerful.

I was working out in the gym four or five times a week, I was climbing everything that would move in front of me and everything that didn’t. That sounded really bad and I’m very sorry, but good luck with translating that one. I started kayaking and I learned that regardless of my weight, I thought if I got into a kayak I would sink and I didn’t try it until I actually came down to a better weight, I thought, for that.

But then as soon as I became part of the kayaking community I got my Level 2 certificate, went off and went to Africa and kayaked in the Nile and having loads of excitement in kayaks. And then I learned I could have jumped into a Canadian regardless of what my size was, a Canadian canoe, you know the big collared So I’m doing that now, I’m actually doing that at the moment and it’s keeping me in connection with the water and the wild and it’s keeping my muscles moving as well. But the bike picture, that’s in around 2015, it’s about five years after my initial weight loss and I that year did 15 triathlons in one year and put on three stone.

So what’s going on there folks? And that’s when I first I suppose started questioning myself, what am I doing wrong? How can I be so active and still be putting on three stone? And some of the answers I think are in this room. The other photograph is me in January, five stone heavier than I am now and that’s my dog who’s called Google Dog because she puts search and find. And that’s my 94 year old dad who I’ll be telling you a story about after lunch because he was part of a campaign that I did very recently.

But dad, and when we’re talking about genetics, dad eats about four times more than I do even though he’s 94 and he’s like that. I once said to my GP who was elderly and later retired and probably not a bad thing but I once said to him how come dad can eat all this food and I don’t and he keeps his weight so much easier than I do and my GP looked at me and he never laughed, I never saw him smiling my entire life and then he started to grin and he says oh look. So thanks for the point of calling the community and the first place medical care, I think there’s a job or work to be done there too.

So how to present, I’m not moving off script, it’s just that I want to tell a story with you to show you how I believe you can do so in a relaxed environment. So I think you need to prepare well, I think you need to have your story well organised beforehand and know what you want to talk about. You need to check your aids and that means everything from your laptop to having your power plugged in to figuring out what you’re going to do with your sound to your clicker, making sure that there’s a battery in it, all sorts of things that can trip you up.

Halfway through your presentation and your slides stop moving and it’s possibly because you simply not replaced the battery in your clicker. Now of course you just go to your laptop, it’s not a big deal folks, you just keep rolling and moving on. In one of the slides coming up I think I referred to something along the lines of projectors don’t like laptops and laptops don’t like projectors, because they all have personalities and I think they’re all designed to try and make your life difficult.

So my response to that is to get into the room early and do a rehearsal where you can and expect a problem, because there will be a technical problem, but sometimes you have wonderful geniuses like Andrew sitting in a room and that really makes things easier. Sometimes you don’t and you have to do it yourself and sometimes you might be in a situation where, well it didn’t weigh like today, but there’s several speakers lined up and you don’t get an opportunity to use your own laptop, that’s very common. Sometimes you have to send your presentation by email the day before or a week before and you may feel that you need to update stuff and you can’t see it, you work around that.

Sometimes it’s just not possible to get access to do a rehearsal with your laptop. So if you can talk to the organiser beforehand and check that out, see if there’s an opportunity to get in the day before perhaps and do a rehearsal with their set up, if it’s that big an event. But rehearsal time is good.

So checking in, talk a little bit more about that as we go through, but engaging as well, engaging with the audience. If you don’t engage you just might as well not be there, because it has to be a one-two, it’s an exchange in a way without sounding too mystic, it’s an exchange of power, because I up here am feeding from your energy in the room and if you’re listening to what I’m saying that gives me confidence, it makes me more effective because I’m actually reacting to you because you’re reacting to me. So engaging is anything you can do to try and keep people tuned in to you.

In radio we talk about trying to attract listeners and we do all sorts of promotions over the course of a week or a month or a year, and it’s no different to being up in front of a room, you try and do promotions or try and do certain things to get people involved, we’ll talk a little bit more about that. So no, your market, your audience. I have learned quite a bit about you, but my goodness not in the way really that I expected, because I’m learning about me, I’ve learned more about me this morning than I have done about you, but learning about who you’ve got in the room and what they’re expecting and what they’re needing is important, preparing your content, knowing your content, and when I say knowing, not by rota, you don’t have to learn off what you need to give in your speech, you need to know the story, and if you know the story, well then all you need is bullet points to prompt you, because you already have a story to tell, and every time you stand in front of an audience, the story is what’s important, you need a beginning, you need a middle and you need a cracking end, so that’s really important.

The tools of the slides, photos, charts, anything that you can think of to help in the course of giving a presentation. Troubleshooting the tools in advance, as I’ve just said. Be prepared to fly solo, what I mean by that is if all fails, if your laptop dies, I actually was at a really important gig in Dublin where people were paying 500 euro per ticket to go in, and there was something like 17 speakers crammed into one day and they were flying this bang, bang, bang, and this really good speaker came into the room and he had a really small Sony Vios back in the day, it was really high tech, it was a beautiful piece of kit, it was a fabulous bit of equipment and he had a really flashy display on him, his computer died, his laptop died, I shouldn’t be smiling, it was a really horrible thing to happen to him.

But the reason why I could be malicious about it was he sailed so well above it, he came in and he just entertained people and talked on top of his head for I think it was about 15 minute presentation. And even without the bells and whistles, the man was fantastic and he didn’t get thrown by it, he rocked and rolled with it and he engaged the audience and he made them like him. So instead of crucifying him they helped to lift him up and it was a success.

So that’s what I mean by be prepared to fly solo, it’ll happen once in a lifetime or maybe never at all, but just be ready to do it. The key is to believe in your own message, to have passion. Once you believe in what it is that you want to say, everything else really follows from there and the nerves die away because you start talking to an audience that has now become a room full of friends.

What’s the brief of that room? Is it a technical brief, are they looking for it like earlier we were looking for the science? Thank you very much. You’ve made science very palatable to me and I am no scientist, but I found loads in your presentation that was absolutely fascinating. So is it a technical brief, is it a professional room, is it a room full of amateurs? This all changes the way that you present and your style.

When you come into the room and you’ve had your brief and you’ve prepared for it, you may still need to adjust it because the organisers may have some idea in mind, but you might find out that the people who turn up on the day are looking for something else. And you play to the room, because if people are bored, nobody gains. So you may need to tweak a little bit as you go.

You may need to shorten your script, you may need to lengthen your script, these are things that happen in the course of a presentation. They might be running late, they might be running early. I remember walking into a room once to do a ten minute piece and I was asked if I could expand it to 40 minutes because somebody hit the bell to turn it off.

So that was fun. I talked about my favourite subject, me, but anyhow. With that, pretty pictures.

I love pretty pictures, but I don’t really mean pretty pictures. I mean when you’re putting your slides together, and I’m a big believer in lots of slides, but put in lots of things that show people where you’re going and get a bit of humour going. The puppy got a laugh, and a laugh is not a bad thing.

I have said that, it prevents boredom, but it also keeps you conscious of time, because when you see those images you know where you are in your speech, so you have an idea of how you’re going time wise, and you take a sneaky, surreptitious look at your watch and say oh it’s really past 11, I need to live it up a bit. So packing in emotion, packing in personal experience, summarising your story into bullet points. Popping in a video is great, not just for the room, but also for nervous presenters, because if you’re afraid that you need a bit of space to catch up with yourself, well if you throw in a couple of seconds worth of video it can give you a breathing space.

For that reason I’ve thrown in a video. Learn the tech with whatever system you use, and by that I mean I’m using PowerPoint, I think you were using PowerPoint earlier? It doesn’t matter, there’s lots of systems out there, but just know the system that you’re using, because it has loads of things built in that will help you. Like in PowerPoint you can put in notes and you can have another screen that will actually be showing you prompts and telling you things as you’re showing your main display to your audience.

So there’s loads of things in there that can help you. PowerPoint will also, they have a tool called Poll Everywhere, which I’m going to try, and I popped that in there just as a new tool. So we’ll see how that goes.

I skipped over the summarise there, but I always believe that it’s very important at the end to summarise so that we know where we’ve been, where we’ve gone to, and where we’ve gone to. Yeah, troubleshooting. I’ve got a giggle, I didn’t expect to go, but thank you, I’m very pleased about that.

Sorry we just can’t trust you with what they’re saying to each other. And in that I mean, when you come into that room, I mentioned about briefing the organisers and about what you need, but there’s always, you can’t talk about or you can’t clarify on the phone whether your computer is going to load the projector or whether your sound system is going to match. Now in Ireland, if I’m going to play a video, I normally bring a speaker with me.

A great big box speaker is a back up, because one of the most difficult things, and Adam you might agree with me, you’ll remember him again because you’re an expert, maybe you’ll think, oh she’s talking rubbish, but… You’re an expert. I have found that the most difficult thing when playing out a presentation is to get the sound right. And it doesn’t matter whether I’m working with a tiny little organisation in the back room of the pub, or if I’m in a massive stadium at home, or on a big stage with a massive built in speaker sound system, it always manages to be the most problematic area, because so many people don’t understand that you can’t just plug the laptop into the projector and go.

You need a separate system for sound. So it’s one thing you knowing it, but it’s another thing on the phone telling the organiser and they say oh no it’s okay we’ve sound covered, but you turn up in the day and nine times out of ten actually they don’t. On this occasion Andrew did have the sound covered, however my computer decided not to like your sound system, so now that’s why we’re using the back up mic.

We’re going old school, and there’s great ways of getting around problems, it’s about identifying it beforehand, and having in this case about ten minutes to come in and see what’s working on the system and what’s not working on the system. The one thing I didn’t check is the poll, but we’ll come to that. Bring your laptop, back up your presentation, most people won’t even let you use your own laptop, you need to use, say you’re onto a hard drive or a flash gig or something like that.

The reason why I’m using my own laptop is because of the poll that I’ve mentioned. The laptop you’re using needs to have been downloaded the app and stuff, so for convenience sake that’s why I was sticking with this one. Remind the sound team about the new playouts, remind them to run through your slides, yeah check sound and acoustics.

Now I’ve thrown this in here, this is travel department, it was a promotion that was done nearly ten years ago, but I’ve put that in simply because it amuses me. The girl on the left here is a weather forecaster, a famous one back in 1992, and there’s me, there is a wine connoisseur and wine writer, food critic, and at the very end there is a lady who’s a gardener and is a gardening blogger for want of a better term. So we were all hired as people who worked with the travel department and we went on cultural visits, well on holidays with people and we were the expert on the trip.

So I was the hiker, I was the one who was going on the mountain trips and stuff. And my aid on that occasion was the pair of hiking boots, and the reason why they’re up there on the balcony is I didn’t realise that they were going to get us to lean over a balcony for that press photo, and my dress is rather revealing. So they’re strategically placed, so when you talk about aids, there are all sorts of aids.

Engaging, we mentioned it already, introduce yourself properly, read the room, listen to their energy, warm yourself up before you warm the room. I suppose to explain what I mean by that is I feel nervous before I ever get up, so I tend to spend a little few minutes beforehand just calming down and just reassuring myself that nothing is going to go wrong. After 30 years of being on radio and television, I’m still taking a few minutes to reassure myself that nothing will go wrong.

Then when you start to speak, you find your voice and everything, you just relax and the adrenaline kicks in and you become comfortable. Everybody hates role play, maybe not everybody hates role play, but in my experience not very many people like it. Can we have a show of hands, who likes role play? Oh really? Oh, okay.

I thought some people might. But then I was right, everybody hates role play. I know I hate being in a room and asked to do it, but then it’s a very useful tool as well, so we’ll talk a little bit more about that as well.

The interactions with a show of hands, the reason why I’m doing that and the reason why I’m mentioning it so much is it’s one of the least aggressive ways of starting people to move and to interact. Unlike role play, it doesn’t put a big spotlight on somebody. It can be very intimidating if you’re in a room and you’re asked to comment and you don’t feel like doing so.

That can be a good thing, it can shock people into participating. I’ve been at a session a couple of years ago and the presenter and the speaker asked everybody and I’m not going to ask you to do it, but they asked everybody to stand up where they were and to start jumping and to keep jumping for 30 seconds. I know the first thing was I’d be out of breath before 10 seconds, I’d absolutely hate to do something like that, but it certainly woke up the room, so it is a technique and it’s something that you consider.

You can consider all kinds of things outside the box, you can think of all different ways of getting people involved. You don’t have to know everything, even though you’re sitting up here as an expert in something, nobody knows. When I’m interviewing a politician about finance for instance, I would expect that I’m reasonably well briefed on finance, but I don’t know everything about finance and I wouldn’t expect myself to know everything about finance.

Putting yourself under pressure to be, what if I can’t answer the question? What if somebody asks me a question and I don’t know the answer? That’s okay. You don’t actually have to know the answer, you can open it to the room, it’s another way perhaps of engaging the room, passing it back over to the audience and say well what does everybody think about that, let’s have a conversation about that. And it’s okay to say I don’t know the answer to that, but I know how to find out the answer to that.

There’s loads of different ways, you’re not going to be taken out and asked to leave and put your microphone on the desk and leave the room if you don’t know the answer. Well in most forums anyway. Hashtags.

I had people first as a hashtag, but we have our own hashtag here in the room today, there we go. ECPO19. So take a moment just now and just tweet something, tweet something about today, just literally take a moment.

And if you can use the one that we’re using as well, that way we can all see it. So if you’re tweeting or Instagram. Brilliant.

And not only are you engaging with me in actually doing that, and I’ll just talk back to this for a few moments so that you can do something without me distracting you from doing it, but also it means that we can all connect after this session and we can connect after today because we can follow that hashtag, that Vicky’s after pointing out there, we can follow that hashtag when we go home, we can follow it in 24 hours when we’re fresh and we might actually decide to retweet that with an extra comment. So again it’s extending this session today, it’s extending this meeting out into the future, not just for everybody else, which of course is very important for everybody else to see those hashtags, but it’s bringing together a community of us in social media and perhaps a week from today I might go back and have a look at the hashtags and the people who are tweeting in the room today and I might see something interesting that somebody posted and I might retweet it and I might decide to connect with them and say do you know what, I have an answer to what you were asking there or maybe you have an answer for a question that I have and it’s a relationship being formed right there and then. And that’s how hashtags work.

And I know you’re going to be doing social media this weekend, so that’s one part of why we all worry about Twitter and why we worry about hashtags and I often talk about Twitter being a bit like a river, you see a river flowing in front of you and it’s a big vast body of water and you throw a twig into it and it’s gone. Not very environmentally friendly perhaps, but it’s gone. But if you throw several twigs into the water and if you throw a little bit of moss in and a leaf in, I’m trying to be green, you then have a little bundle of fabric, a bundle of content that’s flowing down the river and it’s easier to see, the twig has gone in an instant, but the little bundle of information you can see as it flows right down the river.

And that to me is a really cool way of explaining and a clear way of explaining what hashtags and Twitter are about. There’s so much information out about the river and streaming information, but hashtags make you stand out and make your message more visible. Brilliant! This is the poll that I was talking about earlier.

If anybody has access to the internet there in front of them at the moment, will the laptops work for any… No, I actually want to take it. Alright, brilliant. If you put in capital P O L L capital E V at the top address and forward slash Tina Gates 135, you can answer the question that pops up.

D V dot C O M This is polled everywhere and this is one of a whole range of different tools that are out there. There we go, somebody’s answering. It’s just like magic.

We got this? Yeah, we’re all coming in now. We have a clear winner so far. Somebody changed their mind.

This is a really cool little bit of kit and that’s the reason why, I mean you’ve already, I mean you’ve got the and I was really disappointed because I thought it was going to be whoa, wait and see what I can do but you already have But it’s nice that you can actually use it inside your presentation with PowerPoint and it’s quite easy to do. You just go on Industry and there’s loads of other ones as well. There’s lots of paid tricks and tools that you can use as part of your presentation but again it helps that interaction and you could even run a couple of these polls if you had a very long day and you could get people to give you feedback on how the speech is going or whether people are getting enough content or whether they want to do role play or whether there’s too much role play.

You could actually find out in a rather cool way, in a high tech way, find out, put that finger on the pulse of the room. I’d probably prefer to ask but this is new so I’m going to follow it. So poll everywhere.

So add a line to poll, that’s one way to interact. Raise your hand questions, we’ve done that. The joke thing, actually, I wonder would the information still be on there? Yeah it is.

That’s actually interesting in itself because if you go and Google how to make a good presentation one of the first things that it will say to you is to tell a joke. I am the worst person to tell a joke in the entire world. I couldn’t even do it at a Christmas party.

I just, I think it’s a confidence thing, you’re either a joketer or a… Ken, you told a joke. Didn’t you tell a joke? When? This morning. It just comes out naturally.

I’m from Liverpool. Well I’m not good at telling jokes but I am good at telling funny stories. To me it’s not as contrived and it’s kind of an accidental humour, an accidental comedy.

So that’s my chosen style. But yeah I’d be in the 11% who are actually afraid to use humour. I think humour is very important and I’d use it in the slides but I don’t, I suppose it’s a personal confidence thing to stand up and be funny.

I’m not confident enough to think that I would be but anyhow. It’s what works for you and what works for the room. So Twitter, has anybody seen the tweet wall or back in the day it used to be called tweet wall and now it’s called ever wall.

So it’s like you have the big screens up on either side of the room and everything that’s tweeted with the hashtag that they’re using on the day comes up on the screen. So it’s actually fascinating to see it in motion. And it’s wonderful in a really big environment where you have lots of bloggers in the room and they’re so good at turning around a picture or a small piece of video and you can see your own speech going up on the wall beside you as it’s going out.

So it’s really cool. And again it drives momentum and you can of course trend. I mean if we all worked hard enough we could actually make us trend today but perhaps there are more important things.

Maybe when you’re doing your social media, oh no pressure, but when you’re doing your social media you really need to have a go at that to at least see the movement on Twitter. Sharing slides, I had a conversation with somebody, I can’t remember who, maybe it was with Mikel I think about this earlier. I’m not a sharing slides person but there’s nothing wrong with sharing slides.

The reason why I’m not a sharing slides person is because I’m not presenting science. I’m presenting just me, my stories, my information and I think if I haven’t given you something by the time we leave the room, I’m not going to in a slide, if I send you my presentation afterwards it ain’t going to work. So it’s me and what I bring to the room.

So anybody wants my slides, absolutely, but I can’t see any particular value in it. But again, it depends on what your content is. Anybody wants to snap a photo onto the slides, that’s absolutely fine and that’s kind of a trendy thing to do at the moment, people take their smart phones out to snaps.

Create opportunities for the audience to speak, I think that’s a very good thing to do. Sometimes it can put the onus on people speaking when they don’t feel comfortable to do. So again leave the room and see what the brief is and see how you feel about that.

Invite questions and use breakout groups that come after that. Now things go wrong and I think I actually referred to earlier about you need to find a way about seeing what could go wrong and dealing with it at the time. And remember when I said about if you build in slides that give you a hint about your timing, that’s a big obvious slide that makes me go to my watch and I should have been 11.40 and it’s 11.38, so I know I’m not too bad in terms of where I’m going in terms of timing, but that’s me showing you my secrets so that it gives you an idea about when you put your own presentations together.

So I could actually talk about anything for two minutes here and know that I’m back on track on time, but I won’t do that to you. Recovery mode for when things go wrong. Keep calm and be casual because if you’re worried the room will be too.

There’s nothing worse than seeing somebody getting flustered up on the stage because it makes you feel uncomfortable. You know that anxious feeling because you want them to fix it because it’s just uncomfortable, make it stop. So you need to be calm and I actually used to talk to my journalism students about when they’d be reading the news and we’d be doing live bulletins and maybe a tape wouldn’t play or maybe a politician would walk out because they got cross or something like that.

Or maybe back in the days when we were reading paper scripts, one of your colleagues might have set them on fire, which actually happened to me. Do you remember the time when the lights went out in Anfield? Yeah, well one of my sports readers was in a studio with three of us and we were reading off scripts at the time, not a computer, so we were in studio lights reading scripts and he was reading the sport about the lights going out and the lights failure in Anfield and the morning news actor thought it was really funny to go around behind him and turn off the lights so he couldn’t read the rest of his sport. So all kinds of bold things happen at the Landon Radio, but I used to say to the students that you need to be like a swan, so you’re calm and serene on the top, but you’re paddling like this below.

So maintain your calmness. Some of the things that could go wrong, video won’t play if it’s not being carried along with the main file. Now anybody who has had that happen to them will never make the same mistake again, but it’s actually really common and what I mean by that is that if you record a piece of video and you have it embedded into your PowerPoint, when you’re pulling over your PowerPoint presentation to somebody else’s laptop or into your flash drive, you also need to pull the video separately so it’s in the same folder as your PowerPoint presentation.

Now not only does that catch out lots of people, but it also catches out lots of professionals because you’ll have a conversation and say there’s video in it, you need to pull the original file along with the presentation file and they’ll look at you and say yep, you have no problem, and you know there’s going to be a problem. So try and check that in advance if you’re bringing video, making sure that it’s crossed over. The audio won’t play unless you have the audio out connection to the speakers.

We do have that today, but it didn’t light my laptop which is why we had to back up with a mic. Projectors won’t work if the room is too bright, that might sound really basic, but these are things that you need to think because organisers sometimes don’t think about it. Organisers put on an event and they ask the speaker and you say to them can I bring a presentation and they say yeah, you need to check with them, do you have a projector, do I need to bring my own projector, if I’m using a projector can we darken the room.

Those things are things that you can practically think of in advance and you need to check. Every time you arrange to go somewhere you need to check. Projectors, I mentioned this, don’t like laptops and vice versa.

There’s no right or no reason sometimes, it may not even be, it is a compatibility issue, but it may be one you can’t predict. If you don’t kill your WiFi, your Windows might suddenly decide to update in the middle of your presentation. You can actually tell Windows not to update for eight days.

Thank you very much, I didn’t know that. That’s something else that I’ve learned today. Depending on your Windows version.

And that’s very, very important because the other thing I was going to say that if you do kill your video, your online, or your WiFi, your online videos that you might have inserted won’t work, so that’s category two. So that is actually a really useful tool that I’ve taken away with me. Brilliant, thank you.

This is one of those ones that went wrong. Okay, so we have the podium thing going on here, it’s not as bad as the previous one, but I’m certainly slightly decapitated, but something else went wrong. So this was, and I’ll be talking a little bit about this after lunch, this was a presentation that I made to government, to the Irish government, and it was about a campaign that involved my father and also lots of, well, 7,000 people in Ireland suffering from dementia without state support.

So this was a pre-budget submission that I was making and it was very important and there were a couple of other speakers, there were only three speakers, but again, there was a big team on, there was a full sound crew, there was a full technical crew, I had to send my presentation in advance, it was uploaded onto their laptop and everything was sorted. The previous speaker spoke, I was introduced, I walk up to somebody else’s laptop and… Good afternoon, I’m Tina Gates. I normally say that on the radio but I’ve been saying it for the last 30 years.

So I’m going to be telling other people’s stories today and telling my own and to also my dad’s. Now this is weird because this is the last slide, so I’m going to have to figure a way to get some magic here, but I will. I’m sorry, Tina.

No, yeah. Hopefully it’s well. Yeah.

Open the corner if you go from the beginning over. Oh, from the beginning, yeah. Thank you very much.

I’m really a wonderful assistant. Okay, so Bring Them Home was a campaign that I started by accident just a couple of weeks ago and my life has changed dramatically. Okay, so how did I do? Good.

Was it okay? You tweet what happened, like, you know, I walked up and the very end slide was there and they already have it in motion, like, you know, it’s already keyed in and I’m there and I’m trying to figure out how do I go back and escape out of the screen mode and the movie mode so that I can go in and change my slides around. So I had to figure out somebody else’s laptop so that I could change my presentation and my slides for this very, very important occasion where I really needed the slides because it was important information I was trying to get across. So all I could do, and that was recently, so all I could do was just literally figure it out and not look as if I was panicking.

So did I look panicked? No. It was okay. I think it was okay.

I would have preferred if it didn’t happen, but in fact it was probably a nightmare scenario. I couldn’t believe that I’d walked out, because I’d got a big round of applause and all the rest of them, here were all these politicians that I’d worked with as a journalist and I was changing skins that day because I was in a room with politicians who I normally interview and this was the culture turned game keeper that was the other way around. They were sitting in the audience and I was actually presenting to them, so I was quite nervous about it and for that to happen was, well, I recovered and I went on and that’s what you need to do.

So coming back to what we started with, effective presentation skills, empower the audience to communicate confidently and competently, communicate with clarity and conviction, structure presentations for better outcomes, engage participation and interaction, which I think is maybe almost one of the more important parts of that brief. At this point I need to know from you, can I help you in any way? Do you have any questions for me? For me personally, I’m from a housing estate in the middle of Derby where I live and I go to events and I address surgeons, MBT leaders and I feel at times just so out of my depth that I’m standing in front of a room of suits, ties and it’s not my usual company and I feel like I’m, I wouldn’t say inferior but I’m not, when it starts getting technical about surgeries and obesity I don’t understand a lot of it, so I feel as though I’m swamped. How would you deal with that? I felt the exact same way today.

I absolutely felt the same way. When I started to see the presentation on the science, I said oh I’m in the wrong place here, what am I going to add to this? And when that happens you have to remind yourself it’s not their story that you’re here to tell, it’s your story. And what you’re bringing to the room is as if not more important than the content that’s there previously.

So it’s about your story and the only person in the world who can tell it is you. So you are the expert, but you need to remind yourself, you need to remind yourself, because I had to remind myself, because I had to stand over there and say well I’m not here to talk about the science of what we’re doing today and I’m not here to talk about being an expert in, even though I absolutely have spent my entire life with the condition of obesity or with the disease of obesity, but I’m not an expert in it, and I had to remind myself that my brief was to introduce people to be more confident in what they can do in terms of presentation, and that’s visually my brief. I’m here because I’ve messed up so many times behind a microphone, and that’s my strength because I want to share with you that that’s not a problem that will be a barrier to you giving an effective communication message, it’s about you telling the story.

Yeah, like Paul there, I’d be very passionate, yeah thanks. Yeah, just for me, I’d be very, if I’m telling a story I’d be very passionate and very emotional probably about it, and sometimes it’s hard because if you become like a politician and you’re very structured to what the system would want you to be, you lose yourself, so it’s very hard to be honest, to be yourself, because that’s what you’re invited into an organisation, but then to be kind of directed away from that, it’s hard for me because I battle with me being honest with myself and sometimes I can be too honest or too straight, but that’s just me, and I don’t want to diversify from that because I’m not a politician and I’m not a director and I’m not somebody, I’m not a robot, I don’t want to be, so for me I would walk away quicker, so it’s hard for me, I battle with that a lot, and I’m in a room full of people here, science isn’t my thing, me and Paul have spoken about this, there’s questions that I would have, and sometimes I was going to ask questions earlier, but I didn’t, because what have you looked upon as being foolish, inferior, not coming across right, so that’s the honest thing for me that I battle with, so that’s just how I fit in. And when, so that I understand what you need from me in terms of advice, are you worried about that when you’re giving a presentation that you become emotional and go off track or… Yes, how can you get the balance? Yes, well you’ve answered your own question, because it’s about getting a balance, you embrace that passion because that’s the most important thing of what you can do up here, what you’re talking about is, that’s a gift, that passion and that experience, you can’t buy that, you can go and Google in the morning how to present a series of frames and slides, but you can’t Google how to be passionate about something, so that passion is something, don’t diss it, that’s an amazing resource, you need to tap into it, but as you rightly said you need to tame it as well, and the point is that you need the room to understand you, to engage with you and not to be uncomfortable, and that’s where you get the balance.

It’s okay to become emotional, actually on that presentation, the one that started off that went wrong, towards the end of it I’m talking about my father to a room of politicians asking for support for 7,000 people, and I nearly cried, and I literally at that point then I had to take a deep breath and I just had to remind myself I’ve got to get control here, because I was literally about, I was at that stage, and I literally had to say hang on folks, get the bit over and come here, and I had to take a deep breath, and that’s okay, but you need to take that deep breath, because you need to continue your story. So that’s all you do, you just say to yourself okay, I’m emotional here, that’s not a bad thing, but I need, it’s more important to tell my story, so I need to get a grip. So that’s the only thing you need to do is just talk to yourself and say okay, rein it in.

I think Paul, you brought up something very, very important there, that we really wanted to make sure was part of this training, was the fact that there are people of various different levels, there’s people here that have been in the patient council for years, and have done this for years and years, and believe me when some of us started off, and I’m sure Carlos wouldn’t tell you, when he started off, he didn’t have the experience he has now, but the whole plan for today is to make sure that we don’t want anybody to feel foolish asking any question, because we want to make sure that you feel comfortable enough to ask whatever it is that you could ask, because we have so much experience in this room, that use it to the best you can, and even if you don’t feel comfortable asking a question directly, you can send it on to ourselves and we’ll give it to the speaker so that you actually get the right feedback. So I think you brought up something really important there, but as well there’s an excellent session that’s happening in the afternoon with Anna on the storytelling, and that is really powerful, that is a huge part of every presentation you will give, and as Tina said, there’s something actually, and when you touched on it and then you went away from it, about taking a deep breath when you’re presenting, because when you’re speaking in your own mind, your talks go much faster than how you come across to people who are listening. So that one second that you feel is so long when you’re taking that deep breath, that’s just like that for a person.

Just to add that improving presentation skills or storytelling skills or engagement skills, it’s a journey, you don’t change from one day to another, so you don’t have to ask yourself too much, but you have to learn and improve and you will see that you will learn and improve, and it’s a journey, and that’s been a journey for everyone, it was a journey for me when I started, when it was the first presentation that I gave in my life that was a nightmare, because I was learning and doing and executing at the same time, and you will always have this part of learning, because the audience is different, people are different, the environment is different, and she showed before that although she is a well-experienced professional, there are some situations that are totally new to you, so don’t ask yourself too much, it’s a journey, and the only thing that maybe can help is the preparation, I will go through it with some tips and some support that you can have so that you can prepare yourself too much so that you can reduce the uncertainty, because you are prepared so you can focus on something else, but it’s a journey, it’s a journey for everyone, I think that also for the best speaker in the world, it’s been a journey, you know. So I will try to translate, so the fond is the background, the form, the attitude to go beyond, and to have more skills, and really to learn to speak in public, this is very Yeah, the basics. I’m still not quite sure, are you asking for more of the basics, or are you saying that we have coherence of basics? She was saying that we need to watch the students.

Oh, right, yes, yes, yes, absolutely. You need to be back to French. Three experiences, and there is, she’s learning that, and experiences since 20 years now.

So it’s the experience that you have, it’s not just saying it’s over, it’s the experience that you have, which will help the skills. And every time you stand in front of a room, you get a little bit more confident for the next time because you know you have lived, you’ve survived the experience. So we’ll take one more and Ellie has her hand up.

I think I showed Carlos as well, we’ll give it to him and then Ellie. Okay, going back to your presentation at the beginning, you showed a picture of you with the President of Ireland. And you mentioned your clothes, that you don’t have this on your mantelpiece because you feel that your clothes don’t fit well.

Well first, I didn’t notice it until you mentioned it. And second my question, how important do you think that clothes are when presenting something? Oh that’s a very good question. First of all, you’re right that I should really appreciate that picture and I really should have it on the wall.

And even though I’m pointing it out as being that I’ve taken the wrong thing from that picture, I still don’t have it on the wall. I still, I need to work an overlap on myself to know that it wasn’t about the suit, it was about this amazing privilege that I’ve been given by the President. But when you say about, the point about being dressed well, I actually have a note this afternoon on the media course.

I was recently on breakfast television and I kept the slides for this afternoon but it’s a bit like this photo. I was sitting on the couch and I’m actually wearing the same dress that I’m wearing now and to me it wasn’t a good look. I could see my belly, I could see my chest, I could see all the things that the dress were unflattering about.

But I was talking at the time about a campaign that went on to be hugely successful and there was an enormous response to that television snippet of me being on the telly talking about something important. Which meant that so many people listened to what I said. And the only thing that I was concerned about was what I was wearing.

So my internal mind says what you’re wearing is very important. But actually the evidence is that it’s what you’re saying that’s the important thing. So I think if you’re dressed for the occasion, whether you feel that it’s a casual event or a formal address, as long as you’re dressed for the occasion it shouldn’t matter.

You shouldn’t look like a movie star to make a good message. And every time that I’ve spoken about important things people have heard the message. And they’ve heard the message despite what way I’ve looked or what I’ve been wearing on the day.

So that would be my answer. I think to that point as well, just to come back to how comfortable you feel. Because as you said in the other picture, because I know if I wear something that’s really tight, I’m conscious if they put me seated on a chair I’m not going to feel comfortable.

So my focus then shifts from what I’m going to talk about. So it really is how comfortable you feel as well. That’s a very good point, yeah.

So I would never present in a pair of high heels. Unless they are comfortable. Hi, I just wanted to reply really shortly to Paul’s question.

Because I recently did a presentation in Italy about my personal story. And I was really, I really thought about it, like how would I be able to tell my story without getting emotional. Because in our stories, we all know we have a lot of traumas and things and we have a lot of emotions, of course.

But what I think that is the one good thing to do before you go and tell your story. Is just to feel your emotions by yourself and also by sharing it to others, maybe small groups. And just own your story.

Because it’s your story and your emotions. And if you can feel them and just like in your heart and say okay, I have these things in my life. And I have all kinds of things that make me sad or make me angry and depressed and whatever.

Whatever emotions we are feeling. And if you can just like approve it and have this feeling in your heart that that is okay. Then you are, I think, ready to just go up and tell everyone how you are feeling.

And it is really sad that in our society, men are not supposed to have feelings. So I am going to say this. It takes balls to have feelings and admit it.

So just do it. So we’ll quickly just go to Carlos. Carlos, you are the one which is here to speak.

Thank you. Thank you. I think there are two different conditions when people try to make a presentation.

Normally people say that I can’t talk in public. This is not correct. If you see, there are people who talk for people with the same problems without problem.

But if they talk for doctors, for engineers, for ministers, for politics, everything shatters. It’s a problem. They are guys like this.

We need to be well prepared to what we want to tell them. And I train this in Portugal because I have people inside the association who have the ability to talk. Not to talk with the other patients that we have, but to talk for politicians.

And we need to train this. We need to help these people. Because those guys are guys like us.

And in some cases we pay his salary. So for politics and for ministers. So I need to talk to him and I need to tell him what I want.

And this is fundamental. We need to be clear and well prepared to tell him what we need for the country, for our patients, for our organisation. This is very important.

And we need to train this. Because people have not experience in this area. And this is the most important area in each national association.

Yes, you’re absolutely right. And it can be really daunting when you’re walking into a room of professionals. And when you’re walking into a room full of politicians.

And when you’re walking into a room full of doctors. But you quite rightly say they are all men and women. We all communicate in the same way.

And the fact that we are coming with a new language to them is actually, it can be a revelation. I mean if you go to a politician who has been used to talking to their own teams and their own staffs and a bunch of professionals around them. And they’ve been versed about the problems of the country.

And when you have an individual who actually has experience first hand of that problem. Who goes and talks to a minister, a politician, a TD. And says this is my experience.

You are giving them something which they can’t get from anywhere else. Your unique experience is hugely valuable to them. They wouldn’t be there in the room if they didn’t want to learn something from you.

So you’ve got to put a value on your message. And you’ve got to understand that that message that you’re imparting and the information that you’re imparting is hugely valuable. And your language is hugely valuable.

And it’s new and fresh to them. So you’re waking them up. You’re breaking up their world to new possibilities.

And you’re giving them new eyes. So your role is hugely important. And you don’t need to be daunted by their professionalism or their relaxation with understanding screens and talking to people and being in public all the time.

Don’t be daunted by that. Because you’re bringing something new to the table. So just embrace it and be very fully aware of your value.

Thank you Tina. Thank you very much. That was amazing.

And I think just that Jarge’s point is owning your story will bring that impact to those people that we’re talking about by owning your story. So I think it’s quite powerful. We’re going to break for lunch.

We will be taking a group picture outside at 1.50. Matt will be out at the main entrance at 1.50 and we will be back in here at 2. So if everybody had lunch, it’s served outside. Feel free, enjoy the air. And we’ll see you outside at the main doors at 1.50. We’ll take a picture outside.

And then a lighter session with Tina. And I’m glad to say we will be continuing with Tina into the afternoon before Anna takes the stage and we go into storytelling. So we’re going to kick off with media.

Ready? Okay. Thank you very much. Welcome back everybody.

So I’m going to talk to you with my journalist hat on and talk to you about media and how to deal with media and what they’re looking for. And anything basically that you feel you would like to know, ask or want to know about media. It’s a field that I’ve been in since I was 17 years of age.

And I think, I was about to say there’s anything you can ask me and I don’t know everything. That’s probably a silly and ridiculous thing to say. But I have been in most situations.

I’ve been a news editor. I’ve been a journalist starting out. I’ve been a reporter.

I’ve been on TV. I’ve been on radio. So I’ve been around a bit.

So I’ll hopefully help you as much as I can with demystifying the world of media. And I think probably one of the most important things is it always comes back to story, isn’t it? We’re going to be doing stories later today. But they’re looking for a story.

And it comes down to it again and again. They’re looking for a story. Now, it may not necessarily be your story that they’re looking for.

So you need to make your story strong enough to get out there and to grip attention and to make them tell it in the way that you want it to be told. And that’s why we’re all here in the room today. So what am I to back up or what am I to, I suppose, underline? I think it’s really important for me to introduce my credentials so that you know where I’m coming from.

I’m currently a radio and TV presenter across most of Irish media. I think that’s fair to say, both on TV and in radio. And previously I would have worked with ORTI, which is the state radio as well, the state service.

So that means that between the two patches of my life experience, I’ve been on every single radio station in the country, which is fairly amazing. It is a small country, I would say that. I’m a holder of two PPI Radio News Awards.

And that’s both for preparing content and also building teams that have gone out and put together whole bulletins. I was head of news at the 98th FM in Dublin for 15 years, something that will never occur at the 98th FM in Dublin. It’s what we call a hot hits radio station.

They’re a hot hits format. They do two minute news on the top of the hour. And one of our two minute bulletins wiped the floor in terms of competition.

One year against the state broadcaster and one competition where they had a ten minute bulletin up against our two minute. So we showed that commercial music radio can tell a story in two minutes as well as a heavily financed national station can tell in ten. So it doesn’t matter how much time you have on the airways.

If you use it well, you will make an impact. I was a media lecturer at the Valley Folk College of Further Education in Dublin for three years. I was teaching media communication skills.

And I always think if you survive teaching college students, you’re pretty much prepared for most things that the world will throw at you. And I enjoyed every second of that. I’m currently almost accidentally an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland.

And that is because of a story which I’ve previously alluded to today, which is about my own struggle to get support in caring for my 94 year old father. That will come into today’s session because I used the media to tell that story. And I think it’s a useful tool for me to show you ways that I have told my story personally in the media, because it brings two worlds together.

It brings my skill and experience and my natural understanding of the world of media. And it also brings my new understanding in the role of an advocate. So I was in two places basically at the one time, which was extraordinary and very powerful, I have to say.

And also we all know now about the book, which I’m really not flogging. I’m not selling a book today, but I will mention it again here. And again, the story of the book makes some interesting storytelling in terms of how I shared and how I sold the book.

And some of the things that I learned along the way. And some of the things that I did wrong in terms of trying to get my story about the book out. So that’s me back in my studio days, leading teams.

I had a team of 40. I mentioned before it was a hot hits radio station. Before I took over as head of news, news wasn’t actually such a big thing on the station.

But over the next 15 years we made it absolutely an integral part of broadcasting. And our listeners tuned in to us as much for the news as they did for the DJs and the music. It became that important.

And that’s backed up with the research that we collated over the years that we were there. And it was about bringing people and spotting people who had the talent for telling a story. And that’s what made us different.

I told the story well. She’s back! I learned something today. I am going home.

And I was told, well I simply basically told them when I got home I have to associate something positive with this image. Because in the previous session we did I was telling you all about how I look at this photo that’s still not on the wall. And all I see is the fact that I wasn’t pleased with the way that I looked on the wall.

And Susie said you need to take something positive from that image. You need to think of something that the President said to you. And she actually said to me, I listened to you for years on the radio.

So that’s going to be my new image or my new thought when I look at this picture. So I’m going to go home from today. And I’m going to put that on the wall.

But I might leave that to my parents. So that’s an action statement. That thing’s getting framed and it’s going up on the wall when I go home.

So thank you for that. And I’ve been on the Midday Show on TV3 as a panelist for years. I think the big lesson going on a panel discussion program like TV3, the big lesson for me, and again this comes back to knowing what media wants.

I came from a world which was strictly news, where you strip away personality, where it’s simply factual. Where you don’t use any leeway in the telling of the story. And it’s not your story.

It’s somebody else’s story. And you’re clinically providing information and facts. And the first time that I became a panelist on the television show Midday, I was really, really worried beforehand.

Because I thought, they want to know about me. But how do you talk about my opinions about things? It’s a completely different format. And that really shook me.

I’ve been years and years and years on air. But the idea of me actually giving myself a voice on the radio, that was an alarming thing. And we talked earlier about what do you say with the voices in your head saying, well I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time, did the wrong thing.

You need to have a conversation with yourself that puts the demons away. And the conversation I had to myself was, well I’m just going to tell the truth. And anything that they ask me, I’m just going to tell the truth.

And then I don’t have to worry about what I said in the last interview, or what did I say, or what opinion I had two weeks ago or a month ago. I’m just going to tell the truth. And that has been my, I suppose, the flashlight for me in terms of the opposite of hard news.

When I’m sitting on a desk, or sitting on a bench, or sitting in the studio, or sitting in a chair, and they’re asking me about my opinions, I just state the truth. Sometimes in the business environment dealing with the media, that’s a bit difficult. Because there’s stuff that you’re not supposed to tell.

So you just have to find the middle ground and never tell a lie. I would never be dishonest. But sometimes you have to hold some information back, because there’s a bigger picture.

And you may not be willing or able to reveal the full picture at that particular point. But I would, and I’d stand on my laurels on this, I would never lie to the media. And I would never be dishonest.

The Elaine Show and Virgin Media were the same thing, just different styles and different times. But the same idea, the same principle. I stood me through for about, I think, probably ten years doing those panels.

And the formula has changed. And the backdrops and the names and programmes, the time that it gets sent out on television, and the owners have changed. But the formula of relaxing, being yourself, allowing people to know who you are and telling the truth, that has worked for me on this platform.

I also had my own television series, which was called Get Off The Couch. It’s a town of TV, so I did a six-parter. And that was really interesting, because I learned about going around the country and recording stuff on the fly.

Going out with a full team and recording, and then seeing the whole thing edited back in the studio. And then you’re doing voiceover work and going into post-production for a period of time. So, again, another element of media.

And that was documentary. It was about how you go out into the hills, or you go out to get active and get physical for the first time. And how you bring people into that environment.

And we basically took a team of, I think it was about ten people, who had zero ability or zero experience of getting active and being out there. And I think there’s a simile here. Because we followed them for six weeks, and I dragged them across mountains and along rivers and onto bikes and doing all sorts of things that they’d never imagined doing.

And the changes were extraordinary. And I’m not just talking in terms of physical health. But people changed lifestyles.

People changed jobs. One unemployed gentleman who was on the show with us decided to train as a nurse. And is now in nursing.

I mean, it felt extraordinary. It wasn’t a television program. It was being out in the hills.

It was being out in nature and being physical. And, you know, it’s a great thing when you make your body climb a hill. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow you move.

But when you get to the top of a hill, you know that you’ve done something. And you know your body has allowed you to do something. And you feel incredibly grateful to the bones and muscles and every part of you that got you to the top of that hill.

And the harder the hill, the better the feeling when you get to the top of it. So I really do think that it’s life affirming to get out and to do things out in nature. And just to breathe the fresh air.

Even when we left today to go outside for the photo and we took a deep breath as we walked out the door. And that’s just, that’s living. You know, that’s life.

And the more that we can connect with living and life, I think, strengthens all of us, mentally, individually, in every which way. And, again, it helps us to tell a message and to tell a story. So, media skills.

How the media works, I’m promising to tell you about that. And how to get the maximum impact from any coverage. Deliver your message and exactly your message.

And that’s very important. Generate media interest and excitement. And be prepared for the best and the worst.

We’ll talk a little bit about the worst as well. That’s me giggling away in the station. I always think that it’s a good idea to smile on the radio.

Even if you can’t be seen. It just warms your voice and it warms your delivery and it gives you a positive vibe from across the airwaves. So, when we talk about how media works, you have so many different types of media.

And when you’re going forward to get your story across, you need to know what it is that you’re actually approaching and what they’re looking from you. So, it could be radio, it could be TV, newspapers, magazines, chat, current affairs, news. They’re all different animals.

They’re all looking for a story. But the way they tell the story is different in every case. And your story will be more successful if you research a little bit in advance.

And I mean listen. Or watch. Or read.

So that you know their style. And you need to speak to them in their style. You use their language to tell your story.

Not theirs, yours. They will try and perhaps deflect you. Because something might happen in the news and they might want to go off on a tangent.

You might be there specifically to tell them how you’ve achieved something or how you want to achieve something. Or how you want to change the language perhaps around obesity. And they may try to get you to talk about a diet club or a company.

They will possibly have an agenda that’s different to yours. And you need to be able to see that coming. Identify where it’s coming from.

And not get hostile or anything. Be really relaxed and friendly and nice. And deflect away.

And be like a politician. Come back out with your message. So the answer to any question that they may give to you is your message.

And that’s the secret. That is the secret. If you take that away from this room today, you will be taking away a lot.

Because even knowing that, you find yourself walking away after an interview and saying, Oh, I didn’t say… So don’t have that feeling of walking away from an interview. Oh, I forgot to say, I didn’t say, I didn’t get time to say. Don’t wait for an invitation.

You need to crack on with your message. And then you can have a chat with them afterwards. So get your message out there first.

Now, the timings, they matter. So you could be on, let’s say, a breakfast radio show, and you’d have a whole hour coming in and out between ad breaks, chatting. And that’s really relaxed.

And that’s an opportunity to give more about your personality. Again, it depends on the style of the radio station. It might be a friendly, chatty one hour.

Or it could be full-on documentary style. Hard news, political type interview. And again, once you know what you’re in for, that’s not daunting.

But it’s knowing it in advance. You don’t want to go in in a fluffy mode, and then find that you’re actually expected to deliver a hard interview with facts and figures and stats. You know in advance simply by listening.

So you just know the beast. And I don’t mean beast in a negative way, but you know the vehicle. And then you prepare yourself for that accordingly.

It could be a 20-minute interview, which might be cut and cut into different pieces that will go out later, or it might be live. That makes a difference. It could be 20 seconds.

We’ve all heard about sound bite. Sound bite can be anything from 3 seconds to 25 seconds. Most sound bites are 25 seconds max.

And anything under that is welcome. So if you can make a point in 10 seconds, you’re going to be your local radio’s friend. They love people like you.

There’s a couple of PR spokespeople back at home that work for some major companies and some state companies, and some are better than others, but there’s a couple of them that are just pure kings. You can ring them at any time of the day or night on anything from crisis management to just plugging the weekend or just filling a gap. And you can ask them a question, and they’ll answer you five or six different ways in 20 seconds.

Just one after another after another. They must have sat in a darkened room perfecting the act, because I couldn’t do that. But you need to know that that makes you very attractive.

If that’s what you’re able to deliver, and if that’s what somebody’s looking for, that makes you very, very attractive. When I say be aware of current affairs and be aware of the story, I don’t mean be wary. I mean be aware.

So I’m here in Barcelona. There were protests. If I went on a radio station tomorrow morning, I would expect, or today, I would be, at least I would expect myself to have an idea of what was going on in Barcelona.

In case they asked me a question, I’d just look silly if I didn’t know. So just be aware of what’s happening in the news. We all know Brexit has been introduced into every single conversation on media.

The last couple of years, yeah, exactly. So just be aware that that kind of stuff can affect you, and that somebody can pitch a question at you that you didn’t see coming. What’s my story got to do with Brexit? But just, as I said, don’t be wary, but just be aware of the sort of things that are happening in or around you in your life and in the world in the news.

The style I’ve mentioned. Everything from, you know, you see a broadsheet newspaper. It’s got a very stained, if you like, style, corporate type of style, and then you see the red tops, which are more conversational and sensationless.

Conservative was the word that was looking for that escaped me. So different styles matter. If you’re writing a piece for a newspaper, if you’re making a press release, think about where you’re sending it.

Most of us are used to press releases all being written in the same way and all being sent out on the same day. If you have the time and you have the resources, it’s not a bad idea to actually just slightly draft them in a different way. If you were sending something to a broadsheet or a documentary-style programme, be it radio or television, it might be worth changing it slightly to make a more corporate approach to even more corporate heading.

Whereas if you’re going to a youth station or a hockey station or a tabloid newspaper, you can set it up. You can basically heat that up and give it a catchier, more daring headline. So that’s worth it.

Because on the other side of your press release is a journalist trying to make a decision on what six news stories to write in the space of an hour out of maybe 300 press releases. And that’s the reality in a busy newsroom if you’re going for a news headline. That’s the reality.

300 press releases coming in from all directions. One hour, six stories to write. What do I pick? What can I write? What can I interview? I need to do an interview on those stories.

That’s the speed of turnaround. And you sometimes hear about speed versus quality. Well, that’s the world we’re living in today.

If you’re going for a hot hits, if you’re going for a tabloid, if you’re going to go online, if you’re looking for your message to be disseminated in social media, it needs to be fast and it needs to be short and it needs to be succinct and it needs to be interesting and it needs to be entertaining. The book is there for a reason. And that’s because I mentioned that I would talk about things that I did wrong when I was trying to deliver exactly your message.

I went and I did interviews up and down the country trying to promote the book. I frequently forgot to mention things like the name of the book, where to go to buy the book, when it was on sale. I was so interested in telling everybody about the weight loss in the mountains and kayaking and all that stuff.

I forgot it was actually my job on that particular occasion was to sell the darn thing. And I learned so many lessons along the way about my real message getting lost in the enthusiasm of my interview. So make sure you know what your message is before you go out there, folks.

My message should have been selling the book and I was selling mountains. They did really well that year. You won’t be invited to make your point frequently.

They’re not going to say, well actually they will sometimes say they’re very nice, what is the name of your book? But generally speaking, the last thing they want to talk about is the name of your book, because that’s boring and it’s commercial and they won’t want to go there if they want to talk about the experience. So they won’t always invite you to talk about what you want to talk about. You will be invited to make their point.

They’re bringing you on with a particular, they’re not just sort of saying, oh we have ten minutes to spare, we’ll bring Vicky on. They’re thinking, we have ten minutes of hugely valuable air time, what will we do with it? Or hugely valuable space in the newspaper, what will we do with it? So they already know, their producers, their directors or the journalist who’s dealing with you, they know the message that they want to put across. Now if you come back with a message and it’s different to theirs, that’s okay.

So long as it’s a good story. But they’re going to angle you in a certain direction to what they have already basically organised in their own minds. If you want to go in a different direction, you’ve got to take control.

And you have the control. It’s their radio station, it’s their television station, it’s their newspaper, but in a live situation, particularly in radio and TV, they can’t put words in your mouth. You are in control.

So just remember that. Be engaging, be entertaining, and as I said, smile, because it really does show on the radio. I mentioned the Late Late Show, which is our big show in Ireland.

We all learned about sex on the Late Late Show. It’s been running for about 30 years. It’s even older than I am.

So getting on the Late Late Show meant that you were going to sell your book. And I learned lots of lessons on this show. It was my first time to be the subject of an interview on television.

I’d been in the other role. But I was… Actually, oh my goodness, I have to show this. The hair was red from everything that went wrong.

But I was standing backstage, ready to come out onto the Late Late Show. I was about ten stone. I was probably under ten stone at the time.

I reckoned I was ravishing. I had to design her dress and the whole works and make up, hair and everything had been done professionally. I was standing, waiting for the set to open.

They have steps down. It’s like your typical chat show. You have steps down to the seating area.

You’ve got the host on one side. The music goes. It’s a live show.

They start playing one of the mountain-y type songs. I think, yay, this is great. The producer, the stage director, says to me, go.

And I went, no, I don’t want to. I’m wearing my really expensive high heels that weren’t comfortable. I’m standing at the side of the stage saying, I don’t want to go.

One thing in my mind, I’m thinking, I’m going to fall down the steps because there’s no banister. There’s no banister and I’m in really, really high shoes. I’m thinking, I can’t, I can’t.

I walked all across ice fields and glaciers in crampons and I didn’t fall. And I’m going to fall off my flippin’ three-inch high beans on the late, late show in front of the entire of Ireland. So anyhow, at that point, the stage manager pushed me firmly in the small in the back and I galloped down the steps.

So I landed in the chair safely without falling and the interview began. And right over me was the host starting speaking to the autocue, which was over there. And so there was one camera on me.

There was one camera on him. And in television land, you’ve got a whole battery of cameras taking different angles. So I wasn’t actually lined up to speak to him as I’m speaking across to you and have eye contact with you there.

It was set up the other way so that he was looking at the autocue of the camera over there and I was looking at the autocamera, well, not the autocamera, the camera in this direction. And I’m there, have you ever spoken to somebody and you’re only getting the rear? It’s really uncomfortable. And it totally, you know, it threw me.

I wasn’t making mistakes or anything but I was feeling really uncomfortable. And I wanted to talk about, well, obviously the book, but I obviously, I wanted to talk about the weight loss and I wanted to talk about the mountains and I wanted to talk about getting physical and what that had meant to me and what that had meant to my life. And Ryan’s a really, really thin man.

It has been commented on in the past. And all he wanted to ask me about was how did I put on weight. And when I say that he was thin, I’m not thin Shane, but he was fascinated to know how I put on weight.

Because he’s written articles about the fact that he’s trying to put on weight. And all he wanted to talk to me about for 20 minutes on that program was, yeah, but how did you put the weight on? And all I wanted to talk about was how I took it off. So something happened.

All of a sudden I said something and I heard laughter. And I suddenly realized, there’s an audience. And do you remember when I was saying earlier about that energy that you get from a room? As soon as I saw the audience and I suddenly, you know, the nerves died down and I can’t, I said, hang on a minute.

There’s people listening to me and laughing. I have friends here. So it’s not just your man’s ear.

I actually have an audience to talk to. And I started then telling them my story. And he was almost secondary to the interview.

And the whole tone of the program and that little segment became mine and not his. And I’m not saying that, you know, him versus me, it wasn’t that. But when I went out there, it was his message.

And when I left, it was my message. And that’s what’s so important for you to know, that it doesn’t matter how big the star that’s interviewing you or the environment that you’re in, you can make that space your own just by remembering that it’s your story. Now, what I did forget to do was mention the book.

And they didn’t want a graphic saying the name of the book. And he didn’t mention the name of the book. So on social media for days afterwards, people were asking, what’s the book she wrote? What’s the book she wrote? So I learned, and that’s why I keep saying to you, remember the name of the book.

It’s important. No, no, no, no. You’ve got a lot of publicity for the book.

I did. That way. On social media.

You’re probably right, actually. You’ve probably rebounded around all the questioning and the answers. So I did set out.

So this was Breakfast TV a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve actually spoken to a couple of people here. I really hate that photo.

I’ll hold that thought for a moment. What happened here was the lady on the right, she owns a company called Mobility Genie. And it’s a brilliant idea.

When my dad started losing some of his ability, I didn’t notice. And I didn’t know that I needed an occupational therapist to come in and assess the house until he started to fall. And even then, until the occupational therapist came into the house, I didn’t know the sort of things that we needed to keep him safe.

And that might seem like, how could you not know? But when you’re living with somebody in an environment every day, you don’t sometimes see what’s in front of your eyes. So an extra banister on the stairs, for instance, makes a lot of difference for Dad. A roll bar to stop him rolling out of bed stops him rolling out of bed.

It’s a real pity I hadn’t thought of that before he rolled out of bed. But this lady has come up with this company, which it’s a bit like combining a chemist’s shop, an occupational therapist, and an online digital. So you basically sort of say, I need help in the bathroom.

And it comes up with all sorts of suggestions of what things might be useful for you. And then you can, of course, buy them through her. So I’m not on commission for her.

I’m just explaining why she’s in the shop. We were brought on. I was asked if I would come in and talk about my father and making the house more accessible for him.

And I was asked by her PR company to do it. I wasn’t being paid, although if I was a blogger and if I had asked for pay, that’s the kind of thing that happens in the world today. You could get a fee.

But I was going in just simply because I thought it was a nice company and I thought it was a good idea. And I think it would have been useful for me back when I was at that stage. So I came along on those terms.

And I was her sidekick, basically, because she had not done much media. And the PR company thought, because I was newsworthy, that it would give it more of a hook. So they offered the two of us on the show.

So she and I are sitting in the Williams waiting to go on. It’s live breakfast TV. Don’t know.

It’s probably the same across Europe. Breakfast TV is a big thing. So it’s a big, highly turnover during the day at home.

So we’re getting ready to go on. And the next minute, you see the graphics going across, because you’re looking at the feeds on the side of the stage before you go out. And the graphics are going across.

And the presenter starts saying, and Tia Gates is going to be here to discuss her campaign to secure extra support for people suffering from dementia across the country. And I looked at her and I thought, and I said to her, I said, I didn’t know I was here to talk about that. And she said, oh, I didn’t know we were here to talk about that either.

I said, well, we can talk about that. So we went out onto the bench. Now, what had happened, and this is what I say about be aware of news and be aware of what you want to say when you’re on screen.

What had happened was that morning, a release had hit the front page of the Irish Times, which is one of our big broadsheets at home. And the story was about carers and the caring crisis and the lack of availability of home care. And the director had said, hey, you’re a woman that’s even talking about the disability projects.

She’s got a campaign about carers. So I went on, and all they wanted to talk about was my campaign. I was not displeased to talk about my campaign.

However, the mobility genie story got hardly mentioned. Now, I did throw to it a couple of times in good faith. But that story never took fire.

And if we needed to pull that story out, we would have had to push it. We would have had to say, the reason why that it’s so important to have carers is that we have an aging population. And that’s why this company produces these products and why it’s so useful.

And you could swing it around. So you bring it back to the topic that you want to lead with. On this occasion, I was torn, shall we say, because I had a campaign that was very close to my heart.

And ethically, I wasn’t being paid to talk about the other company anyhow. So I talked about both. And I was happy to do that.

But it’s just to show you, in recent weeks, this is after happening. So it’s how mobile the media can be when you’re in it. So you can go in to talk about something.

And a headline can change. And the interview questions can be completely different. So just to be aware of that.

Don’t panic if it happens. It’s just they’re responding to the story that’s breaking. So if you either go with it, or if you want to go in a different direction, you take control.

What I learned, don’t wear that dress again. I didn’t learn it very well, did I? So I’m back in the same dress. I hated the way that I looked on screen.

But as we talked in the earlier session, this is the one that I was talking about that I felt the dress showed all the wrong things. And yet, the campaign that I was driving at the time was just totally energised by that interview. So people didn’t care what I was wearing, but they cared what I was talking about.

And Bring Them Home was the campaign that I’m talking about. And I’m only talking about it to you because it really displays the media principles and the media skills that I had, now working for me personally. So it’s a good opportunity for me to explain to you what I did.

My dad, 94, last year driving his own car. He was, you know, he’s a great man, very energetic, physically very strong. But he had a fall in April of this year.

And he suffered a serious brain injury. And he was prescribed with, or not prescribed, but his diagnosis, he was diagnosed with accelerated vascular dementia. So, show of hands, who knows about dementia in the room? Okay, about 50-50, maybe a little less.

I knew nothing about dementia apart from having written stories about it and read things in the newspapers and stuff, but I never lived with it before. So dementia, to me, I suppose, if I can explain it now, is dad loves to barbecue. And he and I have done quite a few barbecues in the summer this year.

And he’s loved every minute of it. And he’ll be having a great conversation with you about politics and he’ll be talking about Brexit. And then he’ll reach out to touch the coals on the barbecue to see if they’re hot enough.

So little links are gone. He’ll make a cup of tea or a cup of coffee. He’ll do it perfectly, a thousand times, and then all of a sudden he’ll take the lid off the kettle and put his hand in to see if the water’s hot enough.

He’ll dress himself, but all of a sudden he’ll lose track of what he was doing and he won’t pull his trousers up and he’ll trip over his legs as he’s moving forward. So he’s now at falls risk and he needs 24-7 care. And without telling you a really long story, my dilemma began because he spent two months in hospital over his injuries being healed.

And then he was ready to come home. But the Irish system that we have, they were unwilling to release him to come home to me because they said it was unrealistic that I couldn’t provide 24-7 care because I’m single and I work. And that I needed a home care package.

Now I gave up my job and went to do a three-day week, but that still wasn’t enough. I needed what is the maximum package in Ireland, which is 21 hours, three hours a day. And the alternative to me getting that was to put him in a home.

And the home pressure from the professional medical sphere in Ireland was for me to send him to a home. That was their solution. They felt it was the best solution.

They felt any other deviation from that was irresponsible. And the problem with care packages, they approved it, but they said they didn’t have the funding to give it. Now I’ve been a journalist writing all about health stories, about carers, about… I knew that this was a problem, but all of a sudden I’m in the middle of it, and I was amazed that they couldn’t even tell me when that was going to happen.

So I campaigned to get more care hours, to get Dad home, and I launched the campaign with a letter on social media which went viral. I then started doing interviews on the back of that. I then tweeted and tagged all of the media coverage that I was after getting.

So pictures of Dad and statements about Dad and interviews that I’d done. I tagged all the politicians involved on that. And I got… The Irish Times wrote an article, which is the key paper.

And in four days, we got our care package. Now my moral dilemma was, do I leave it at that? Be good to the girl, stop talking and go home. And I couldn’t.

So I decided my hashtag had been bring him home, so I now changed it to bring them home. So I went out and started campaigning. And that little picture went viral as well.

So that’s Daddy, because they’ve lost his false teeth, but I’m bringing him home. And the dog’s in the background. That’s Google Dog again.

She’s become a caring dog for Daddy. And I brought him home. So I’m moving to press releasing.

And it would be sort of an updated carrier pigeon, except it’s a flip phone, so you’d have to excuse the flip phone. But along with the social media, along with talking on your own interviews, in getting your message out, press releases, I think we’re probably all fairly good at writing one, but there’s some key pointers. You have contacts, you offer a spokespeople, you need to be available.

You can have links to audio. It needs to be short, sharp, direct. You need a snappy headline.

Research results are very good, and particularly good, perhaps, for our conversations. Polls are very good. You don’t have uncontactable contacts.

Remember I said about the journalists, with the six stories in the one hour, what they don’t need is ringing up and getting an answer that nobody’s available today, and you’ve just asked for publicity in the first place. The second annoying one, and we get it from corporates quite a lot, is, I’ll see if he’s available, or if he wants to do something on that. You asked me to do the story.

Those are the most annoying things and most annoying problems with press releases. And journalists in newsrooms in every country in the world scream when it happens. PDFs are very popular, and fewer companies will spend a fortune preparing them for you, and journalists won’t open them.

Large files or WAVs, again, if they jam up your emails back in the newsroom, they’re going to be very popular, and lengthy documents the same way. You need to press release on one page if you can, supplementary pages afterwards if you have to, but one page with contacts on the front, snappy headline, and as I said, you can change it slightly, the message, if it’s going for a racy or a conservative approach. Questions? Just at this point.

I wrote more, but are there any questions just now? Yes? I don’t have a question, but just one thing to add to what you said about the press releases. This is my experience in Poland. Okay, thank you.

That it’s great to add some pictures to the press release, because when you send the press release to some online media, especially online media, but also to traditional press, they always want to put some picture. So it’s a great idea to send the picture as well, some picture referring to the content. It doesn’t have to be a picture, for example, of you from the campaign.

It just can be something connected. Absolutely. Thank you.

And thank you for saying it, because that’s my radio background, but you’re absolutely right. Yeah, you mentioned it. I really appreciate it.

And good picture sells. When I freelanced, the picture sometimes sold before the words ever landed. Yes? And then about pictures, don’t forget EASO has a picture database with pictures that are free of use.

That’s very good. And those are all good, nice pictures, no headless fatties. And if you don’t send the pictures, they get a picture, and it might be very bad pictures.

So please send them a good picture, and please, you can also add the link to the database. It’s better to send your own picture, yeah? Yeah, send your own picture by preference, add a nice picture from the database otherwise, and then send them the link to the picture so that they can search for other pictures, so that whenever they have another article about obesity, they know where they can get nice pictures. And it goes into their archive as well, because what they’re saying, and you are changing the world with that.

And I didn’t know that you had that database, but I must actually access that myself. Dove are doing that with female images as well, to change stereotypes. That’s really important.

It’s worth noting that ECPO are going to be putting their own pictures together for… Say it in the microphone, then it will be on the video. Okay. It’s worth noting that ECPO are also going to be creating their own database of images, and we’re going to contribute, hopefully, all of this together to add to that.

That’s a fantastic resource. That’s really important. That is life-changing, that is.

That’s world-changing. It really is. It’s so important.

And even with the dad and me campaigning and advocating this year, when you in the media look for a picture of an old person, it’s usually a wrinkled hand. And we need to put faces on numbers, and I think that’s really, really important. So that’s a huge resource.

I have a question regarding your message, of getting your message across no matter what. I believe that would work in a live situation, but we have had several occasions where media asked us for doing a feature, a magazine, whatever, and there it just stopped the discussion. They asked us, they want to do something regarding ethnicity.

We told them, yeah, that’s great. We have a patient organization. We do advocacy and all that stuff.

And they came back to us with, we would rather like to show you one cooking or one buying food or some personal story. So it just ended there. Have you any recommendations how to make our type of stories more appealing to the media? Perhaps poll researchers, perhaps results.

You need to give them a better story than the one that they were planning. And that goes back to what I was saying, that they have in their minds an image of what they’re going to do in that element, whether it’s the newspaper, whether it’s TV, whether it’s radio. They have an idea.

They have a storyline already in their mind. So if you want to shift the basis, then you have to make your story more exciting than what they have in their mind. And you don’t want to go down their line.

You don’t want to be shimmied sideways in any shape, fashion, or form into the stereotype that they have in their mind. So I would suggest things that are sexy and news, are poll results, research, stats. There’s so much new information in this room here today that I heard from the science presentation this morning.

I mean, that was blowing my mind. I could write half a dozen stories just literally from this morning’s presentation. So you have the power to give them a better story than they already have.

And that’s what I would suggest that you do. Strong, hard news lines. It’s interesting, it’s relevant, and obesity is costing governments and costing countries huge amounts of money.

So show them that there is new information pertinent to that situation, and that’s a hard news line. So that would be my suggestion. Okay, can I ask you one more question from Anne-Sophie? All right, I think we’re ready.

So I’ll start in French, and then we’ll translate. In my experience in France, I don’t accept all the demands of journalists, because I refuse to put obesity and obesity patients on trial. Not all around the world, the journalists, but… I’m trying to translate what she just said.

As with her experience in France, she’s not accepting any… Propositions from journalists. All the propositions from the journalists who saw that she can avoid to fall in the media, you know, in the… So she can avoid by this decision that the image of obesity is negative. I don’t know if you understand what I mean.

That everybody’s coming back with a negative perception. The journalist is… Exactly. So the journalists themselves are negatively perceiving of… That is the struggle that’s in the room.

That’s not just your struggle. That’s… Like when I spoke today about the fact that I have lived with obesity since I was 17, and despite that, I don’t know the language to discuss my own disease. And if I don’t have the words, it follows that journalists don’t have the words either.

And that’s our challenge, to show them the story in our words and to put our faces onto the figures and onto the stats. So it is a challenge. But that’s what we’re dealing with.

And that’s what this room can change. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to happen in one press release.

But we need to work to tell our story, to change perceptions. The images, the bag that you were talking about, the images, that’s part of changing perceptions. And it’s something that will come from us, from this room, and it will happen.

But we’re dealing against the negative stereotype and that’s the reality. So we need to work in that environment and tell our story positively. If I can give a suggestion, on top of what you said… Just to give a suggestion, on what you said, don’t wait for the journalists to call you.

But be proactive. And tell the stories to them. There are different opportunities that you can have.

For example, take the opportunity of celebrating something and invite them to learn more about the association, the disease. Create the context, create the situation to invite them and educate them. Because sometimes we take for granted that they know.

They don’t know. So it’s also up to us to tell them and educate them. Because otherwise, if we wait, there are so many information news that are attractive that can be on top of their minds.

So maybe being proactive can help. And it’s something that you can build step by step. But take the opportunities that you have and always invite them when you have something to tell.

Maybe sometimes you get one, two, next time you will get other people. But continuous education and take them on board. Also using the story that you have.

Journalists in your own field, you can build relationships with. And also bloggers in social media, you can build relationships with. And you’re getting ahead of the curve.

You’re getting ahead of the story. So you’re not dealing with a stranger. Because we all live in environments where if we’re working with the press, we get to know them.

And you do build relationships. And it makes your story easier to tell if you build relationships in advance. To say what Anna said, it’s who you are that will make you be listened to and respected.

So I repeat what I said earlier. You need the background and the form. And without saying, she’s obese, it’s not rare, we’re going to go beyond, out of the question.

We must be respected. And third. She’s reacting to what she said before in the sense that we are willing to be ourself and to represent ourself.

And to go out and to refuse that. I think that is what I want to say. It’s when somebody’s reacting and telling, yeah, anyway, obesity is not really, yeah, this is not taken very serious.

That we really have the right position to say, no, we respect ourself to show how we are, who we are, sorry. And to take this position really clearly. Yeah.

To have the presence about it. I don’t think that you, if I understand you right, I don’t think that, I wouldn’t suggest you refuse to do an interview. That’s not what we’re here for.

It’s to learn to engage with the media. You take the opportunity, but you don’t do it on their terms. If somebody wants you, take for instance when I lost my weight, loads of magazines wanted to take photographs in me with large clothes on and stuff.

And that’s just not something that I was comfortable with doing because it really annoyed me. It felt wrong. And I thought, oh my gosh, and I said, no, I’m not going to do that, but here’s a better idea.

And so I accepted the interviewer, I accepted the opportunity, but I accepted it on my terms with a better idea. I think that’s, does that answer what you were saying? Sorry. I think what I’m sufficiently want to tell is we know our media.

And we know that for some newspaper, I don’t talk. Because those guys hear what I say and write other things. Or some televisions who don’t make direct programs and cut a lot of things and only put things outside the context.

We know in our countries, those guys of media, and for one television in Portugal, and for two newspapers, I don’t talk. It’s a good decision because they don’t have good work. It’s not to do about the pieces.

It’s to do about the way that they work. Yeah, I can understand where you’re coming from. I suppose in terms of social media as well, you get a lot of hate speak, which I would always say to people if they’re dealing with that, don’t rush in.

Don’t jump onto the end of commentary like that. But issue a separate press release through your own media, through your own Facebook. I’d also say that don’t rely on news or media only as the place where you use your message and where you broadcast your message.

In today’s world, we have power of dissemination and we have power of broadcast that goes beyond the traditional. We are all publishers. We are all broadcasters.

So you can get your message across in other ways if you find that the territory, as you say, is so hostile that you need to hang back from it. But I would never say stop talking. Find a way of talking and find a way of getting your message out.

Be it if you have to go sideways and if you have to pick and choose your publications. Be it if you want to put your press release out on your own forums and your own press and your own websites and your own Facebook pages. That is a way of communicating.

But don’t stop talking because the conversation is hugely, hugely important. I just wanted to add two things to this conversation. Regarding to this refusing attitude, I work with children with obesity in Portugal and some of journalists really tell us that want difficult cases.

Children that… The bad journalists really say children that are suffering from bullying. Right now, in their schools, they want these kinds of messages. And we don’t give them these stories.

We tell them, I can give you a children or not a little children, but someone that suffered from bullying and it’s a good example that… Recovery. Recovery, yeah. Because this is inspirational for other kids and it’s not putting that children in a constrangeous situation.

That’s brilliant. Yes, that’s brilliant. And another example that I wanted to share was regarding to this slide.

Okay. Colorful and different. We organized a kids’ marathon.

Okay. And in the three first years, we really didn’t get to all the media attention. Okay.

And in the fourth edition, we got an idea and we stick to this idea. We will invite Garfield. Yes.

Okay. To be part of this marathon. And we signed… It was free, the participation of the mascot because it was for this cause and they partnered with us.

And we had a huge cover because it’s these kind of stories that journalists want. The big, fat cat that just wants lasagna and keep in the couch and everything. And we were giving them a story.

He wants to be part of the change. He wants to inspire kids to get out of the couch and, well, get physical activity and everything. And it was huge.

It was really huge. And it was funny. And it was family-friendly.

It was a way to do this. And we got 400 news in three months. That’s brilliant.

That’s brilliant. That’s great. Yes, I have more questions.

But first, in Sweden, we always, when we do the interview, we always say to the journalists, we have to read and accept everything before you can. If they don’t want to do that, no, sorry, we don’t take the interview. Because it’s important for us to… It’s always to be the right message from us as organizations out.

It just was one thing. But the other thing, we have a problem in Sweden. Not a problem, sorry.

But we have a group of people who are moving to visit me and a lot of other people who say to the journalists, I am obese. I am fat. I am proud of being big.

And then we go to the journalists and say, stop, you cannot say obese. You cannot say big, fat people. And they come to us and say, but this group, who is living with a larger body, say they want us to say, no, right, fat, obese.

So what shall… Yeah, it takes time. It takes time. When I started as a student, as a journalist a thousand years ago, we talked about in headlines about committing suicide.

Because in Ireland, I don’t know about the rest of Europe, but in Ireland, suicide was actually on the statute books as a crime. And the language committed suicide was the culture. Nowadays you would never use that language, because it’s deemed offensive and it’s deemed as if somebody has committed a crime.

And now you would… There’s a whole industry standard about how you would deal in terms with somebody taking their own life, and we can’t say that anymore. But the language has changed and there’s a whole industry standard that goes with it. And nobody would ever think of talking about suicide in those terms anyway now, in this day and age.

But that has taken a generation. That has taken ten years. And it will take time to change perception about the language that we use.

And I keep coming back to me in this room. I walk in here this morning and I suddenly realise that it’s very important how I refer to my own struggle with weight. And if it’s so fresh for me in that immediate situation as a journalist who’s writing stories about it, well then that’s the size of the problem.

It will take time. But in your immediate… I want to come back to two things that you’ve said. When you talk to the journalist, they have a choice whether to use your language or somebody else’s.

I think on the balance of probabilities on that particular occasion, it’s up to how well you influence the journalist as opposed to how well the other person influences the journalist as to what they will ultimately write. It’s time that we’ll change the language. Not any one conversation with a journalist, but several conversations.

And conversations with everyone. It will take time. And the other thing that I would say is any company or any organisation can have a policy where they won’t let something go to print until they have writing approval.

And there are very, very many reasons for doing that. However, just be aware that you are really limiting your exposure by doing that. Because at least two thirds of journalists would just go away and pick a different story or pick somebody else.

So it’s not right or wrong, but just be aware that there are reasons for doing it, but again there are reasons why you’re limiting what you would say. I was just thinking, if we say that this language is right, people first, and we say, I don’t know what’s right or wrong, I don’t even know, but if we say to the people who’s living with a lot of other who wants to own the language, I am fat. And it’s be proud of being fat, please.

You understand? That’s not wrong. No, but we go out and say we should talk about people who’s living with obesity. And people say, but I’m proud to be fat.

I’m proud to be. They’re allowed to say that, and you’re allowed to say what you believe. And you can’t, and shouldn’t I think, control or want to control what somebody else might be able to want to say.

So you say your message, and they say theirs. And time will decide. Can I just make a point on that very quickly? So since we started the People First campaign, we’ve had a lot of these questions, because obviously there is the fat movement that are quite happy to be fat, and we call fat, and completely disagree with the word obese, or obesity, they can’t even pronounce it.

They just do not allow the word to come out of their mouth. So there are some people that quite literally are like that, however the majority of people actually do not like the word obese. So we don’t disagree with them, but for the majority of people who live with a disease of obesity, that’s where the People First campaign has been born into.

So it’s a thing of, if that is what you would like to talk about, why don’t you speak that way? We’ll be respectful of other people. And I think that’s where respect comes, is a huge part of it as well. We have to be respectful to other people if they have different opinions on it as well.

Because we’ve had a lot of that with the People First campaign since the start. Do we have other questions before we change session, because we’re about to change session? No, we’re good. We’re good? Happy? Tina, thank you so much.

Thank you very, very much. I think that was just absolutely excellent. And again, thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you.