Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present my dissertation research at Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) conference at Bournemouth University. Even though it was an amazing experience, I was terrified most of the time. What if I forget my lines? What if people don’t like my research? So many “What if” questions were in my head.
Students had the chance to present any research they have done while studying at BU, but I decided to submit my dissertation research. On the day I applied to the conference, I had only an abstract and a faint idea of what I was going to do in the following months. It was a work in-progress and it still is. I presented initial findings, because I have done only two interviews. However, I got really helpful feedback and tips, which I can use for my dissertation now.
This conference also helped me to overcome my fear of presenting my own work. I usually don’t have stage fright, but showing an unfinished research was making me nervous. But it was a great presentation (once it was over and I was able to breathe again). I realised that this conference is not a competition, but a chance for students to put themselves out in front of an audience. And I’m very glad I did. Also, it’s a preparation for my dissertation conference in May, which is a part of my mark.
I would strongly recommend to students to showcase their work in front of an audience if possible. Doing presentations helps you to overcome your fear of public speaking and improves your communication skills. Also, it’s a very effective way of getting feedback on your work.
Next stop: BCUR
When I applied to SURE conference, I also submitted my topic to the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) that will take place in April in Wales. There will be over 500 students from all over the UK, presenting their studies. Now, that might give me a stage fright. Hopefully, I will have more findings to present on that conference, which is my last chance of getting feedback before submitting my dissertation in May. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Stepping out of your comfort zone is not easy. Networking, public speaking, presenting; these are all normal fears that shouldn’t prevent you from developing your skills. Everyone can overcome those fears, even if you start with baby steps. Connect with people on social media and start a conversation. Go to industry events and meet new people. Share your work with other people and spark a discussion. Step out of your comfort zone and let the magic happen.
When you don’t have the opportunity to go to Cannes Lions festival and have a cocktail on a yacht in South of France, the amazing Glug people give you CANNT Festival in your city (or nearest city). So last night I attended the event in Brighton.
As I walked into the venue, I got a Hawaiian garland and I instantly loved the event. Hawaiian theme party is my kind of party! There was plenty of time for notworking (something like networking, but funnier as Glug people explain it) before the speakers.
Not surprisingly the topic of the evening was Awards. Are they good or bad? Do they bring you more work or not?
First in the spotlight were Juliet Tzabar and Dominic Minns from Plug-In Media. It’s one of the most awarded agencies in Brighton with 4 BAFTAs, so I was all ears when they started their presentation.
Dominic started with a quote “Award doesn’t change the quality of a book!”, but it contributes to your portfolio he added. It sets your reputation as an expert in your field and confirms the excellence of your work. Juliet explained the internal benefits of winning an award. It motivates the team and makes them feel great about the project. And awards make your mum proud (best feeling in the world). 😊
Matt Baxter from Baxter and Bailey shared a notion from Gladwell that if you do one thing for ten thousand hours, you become an expert. It seems about right. However, he began his presentation with three cons about awards: ridiculously expensive, exclusive and nepotistic. Apparently, it costs almost £900 for one entry at the D&AD awards and to be honest, you like the awards only if you win. So are they really worth it? Yes, because the best thing is that they give you confidence. Awards not only inspire confidence in you, but also in your clients and help them to reach a wider audience with their work.
But what do creative awards such as Cannes Lions mean for the PR industry? PR agencies are failing at the PR Lions as mentioned by Danny Rogers, editor of PRWeek. Several of the Lions were won by ad agencies and only few PR agencies were given a credit. The big campaigns were earned media-led, so it makes you wonder what’s the point of PR if big advertising agencies can produce them. Fortunately, Cannes Lions is not the only place where PR agencies can prove their excellent work. Creativity in PR matters and it should be celebrated (even if it’s not at the French Riviera)!
Why is dyslexia perceived as a disadvantage?
How do we help people who are living with depression?
Can we save our planet through renewable energy?
Why does the media push only negative stories?
These were just some of the questions posed at TEDxBrighton last Friday. We were privileged to attend this event and hear thoughts from some inspiring speakers, all offering perspectives on how we can improve the world we live in.
Creativity was the theme threaded through the sessions. Whether the challenge is in education, disabilities, mental health, globalisation, or LGBT, creativity can offer a solution.
Christian de Boisredon, founder of Sparknews, talked about how the media shows only negative stories. We hear all about environmental disasters and crimes, but we rarely read a story about a scientific breakthrough or sports achievement. What would happen if the news sources promoted more positive stories? Would it change the mood of the public? Would it inspire more people to be good and pursue their dreams?
For Tom Ravenscroft, the founder of Enabling Enterprise, and Kate Griggs, founder of Xtraordinary People the issue is in education. They argued that the focus teachers put on analytical and problem-solving skills diminishes children’s imagination and creativity. Therefore, both founded organisations that cherish creativity in children.
It was a day full of inspiration from people who are making impactful change around the world. They challenged our knowledge of the borders dividing up our planet, but they also influenced us to find our utopia. And as Vanessa Barret said, “Life is a journey. Fill it with creativity and allow yourself to be happy.”
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