A Return to Public Speaking…

It’s been a while since I’ve flexed my public speaking muscles, as it were. Granted, I delivered a talk to members of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Youth Advisory Board last month, but today saw me deliver a talk to a different audience at NDCS’ Right for the Future conference.

Liam delivering a talk about transitions at the Right for the Future conference in London. Photo: Rosie Eggleston.

With the audience being made up of mainly healthcare and educational professionals, the event brought people together to discuss and share ideas around deaf young people and their transitions through education. I was asked to help deliver a technology workshop, introduce the charity’s CEO (no pressure!) and sit on a panel, as well as give a short five-minute talk about my school experience.

I won’t explore my talk in too much detail, but I thought I’d explore some points raised further. In particular, it’s essential that information about a deaf young person is shared within schools as soon as possible when it comes to transitions, as nothing is worse than the young individual having to repeat their support needs when they start at a new school.

This is similar to support workers sharing documentation to make it easier for a deaf young person to apply for support in their next educational establishment. All of this should be done with enthusiasm and politeness, as any frustration with having to deal with a deaf person’s support requests will only diminish that person’s confidence.

On the topic of confidence, it’s important that both teachers and fellow classmates are deaf aware, as one is essential for the person’s education – the other for their social skills.

I’d encourage you all to have a read of the #RightForTheFuture hashtag on Twitter, which includes a lot of good points raised during the conference. Thanks to NDCS for inviting me down, I had a fantastic day.

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In Development…

This week has been one of progression. It started earlier this week with me making a return to public speaking. The last time I had to give a presentation to someone, it was in May last year, when I went to Leeds to give a presentation about myself and my time as a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Youth Advisory Board. Although reading a book by TED’s Chris Anderson provided me with some reassurance, I was still fairly new to the experience.

The presentation still went really well and it was great talking to the young people there, but I had certainly improved when I gave a talk to Central Bedfordshire Council’s Youth Voice on Tuesday this week.

It was a talk on social media, fake news and campaigning, and I was quite flattered that I was asked to chat about the subject (after all, I hardly see myself as an expert on these). Despite that, as I worked my way through the presentation slides, I could sense my own confidence and was able to talk at great length about the three issues. I suppose on this occasion, I was able to chat more about Twitter than I was about myself – but I think that came down to preparing the presentation in advance.

Overall, it was a great experience, the conference itself was great fun, and I even walked away with a greater idea about what my dissertation for next year, too.

It was also on that day that I was offered the role of Editor at the University of Lincoln’s student newspaper, The Linc. After spending the past year as News Editor at the paper, it’s an honour to take the next step up and accept the offer. I look forward to working with a great team next year.

Speaking of third year, it’s as my second year comes to a close that once again, I reflect on what my university experience so far has given me. Already, I have done amazing things with the community radio station in Lincoln and the student newspaper. I’ve applied the skills I’ve learned (such as shorthand, learning about politics and making FOI requests) outside of university and they have given me new opportunities as well.

As my final year approaches, there’s no doubt at all that it was the right decision, but I continue to be amazed at just how quickly time flies.