The other week, I was working as a languages ambassador at a uni open day. Prospective students were coming to look around to decide whether they wanted to study in Newcastle.
There was a part of the afternoon where we had to stand up and speak in a Q&A between parents and students. There’s not many things more awkward than standing in a straight line in front of a group onlookers. It’s not so bad when it’s just a lecturer, but the dynamics of the room are important in a group.
The difficult thing was that the rest of the group were very eager to speak. Everyone wants to be heard and get their point across, but in a stress-inducing situation like this, it can be confusing for listeners. I looked out at the audience because I wasn’t able to get a word in and saw them looking distracted and confused.
There’s a time to speak and a time to listen. I don’t think this is necessarily about not being confident. I believe we know what we want to say, but it’s how we say it that’s important.
We all have something to say. But in the fight to be noticed and heard, we can end up only stealing attention.
Will there be an opportunity to speak or to listen to those around you today?