Day In A Presenting/Hosting Workshop At The Roundhouse With Lynn Blades

21 Jan

Hey Mouthys,

I literally have just come back from an inspirational day in London with the Nottingham Mouthy Poets sponsoring my travel and the workshop costs at the Roundhouse in Camden.

First of all, I was very excited when I found out that the workshop I was attending was at the Roundhouse in Camden as I had heard a lot of AMAZING things happening in the London poetry scene with poets who first attended a workshop there for a sturdy foundation to later form collectives such as the Roundhouse Poets led by the highly regarded Polarbear, who runs poetry workshops for the youth. Friends have commended his talents of being able to draw out their best poetry by any means necessary.

There is another collective formed called ‘Early Doors’ due to the Roundhouse’s unique ability to bring young, creative people together. It was this collective I first saw when I decided spoken word poetry was the path every part if me wanted to explore. It was my birthday and I had this burning desire to attend a poetry evening with beautiful poetry and red wine (my two favourite passions). So I started searching and found this one event that looked AMAZING! It was called “Come Rhyme with Me” at Cottons Restaurant/Bar in Angel and not only did it fulfil my current wish list, it also threw in tempting rum cocktails and a plate of Caribbean food to get the night swinging in the ‘Rhum Jungle’ Bar. I am Caribbean, so having rum and food in the mix made it an easy sale for me!

I attended with the event with my expectations high yet my experiences of spoken word low. I had been writing in fierce secrecy for years but I was insanely curious about spoken word. But, in all honesty attending “Come Rhyme with Me” made me break free from insecurities that were keeping my poetry in prison. Something was put in me that literally changed, possibly, the course of my life. I was in silence, shocked for the majority of the performances. When my friends asked how I was I enjoying it, I could only give a dumb, silent nod as the words were already taken and put beautifully into stanzas already.

Even how I came to Mouthy stemmed from that night, as I met a spoken word artist from Roundhouse Poets there who kept in contact with me and encouraged me to share my work. He chatted to his friend who currently attends Mouthy Poets in Nottingham to get the details on my behalf and continued to encourage me to attend, even though I was terrified at the time, I did it. I am doing it. And I will do it. So, let’s see what happens from here.

So, back to the workshop……… lynn_000

The workshop facilitator was an AMAZING woman called Lynn Blades. She has interviewed people from Robert De Niro to Meryl Streep to Barbara Streisand. She had worked for CNN, CBS, CNBC, E! Entertainment Television, GMTV, BBC and Granada television. From the first time I saw her, I liked her instantly. She had open body language, a brilliant smile and something she would later tell us was the most significant aspect of making an impression when entering a room, eye contact. Her American accent only added to her friendliness and her likability. She was a powerhouse of information with the sensitivity and wisdom of a mother, maybe like the one you never had.

The first part of the session was getting to know ourselves intimately as one of the first things she taught us is, we have to know ourselves before we can make someone else feel comfortable enough to let us in and allow us to get to know them. She made us tell lies with one truth mixed up in our statements to see if anyone could spot the truthful statement. It was funny as the youngest of the group a 14 year old boy had the keenest instincts concerning the truthful statement. We reasoned that this was most likely due to “lack of contamination” in comparisons to adults who may over-process thoughts and give logical reasoning which may cloud gut instincts.

“Your gut instinct will help us know when someone is telling a lie in an interview situation”, she confidently expressed as if she had caught out many in lies before with her own sharp gut.

Lynn got us to list our strengths and weaknesses in order to fully appreciate who we were and to begin the steps towards having a heighten self-awareness of others. She asked us how our weakness can be turned into strengths. We went on to the power of first impressions. Lynn sure did make an impression on me with statements like:

“93% of a person’s first impressions of you are based on physical appearance.”

“7% of the meaning of a message is actually communicated in words.”

“You only have 1 minute for you to make a good first impression.”

From there she gave us tips on interviewing/hosting skills which included:
▪ Preparation, preparation, preparation whenever you are able to.
▪ Give a firm handshake with eye contact upon greeting
▪ Where appropriate wear professional attire or consciously put across an image of how you want to be perceived
▪ Ask only open ended questions i.e. Questions that cannot be answered by a simple yes or no
▪ Be an active listener so you can react to questions and probe deeper into new information revealed
▪ Stay away from colloquialisms, slang and hmmms
▪ Don’t talk too fast due to nerves, slow down and pronounicate your words
▪ Be aware of your posture and don’t fidget or rock
▪ Visualise and portray confidence (posture can help you feel more confident as well)

We rounded off the day with interviewing each other on camera and free flowing a speech on camera also which made most of us cringe seeing ourselves back on the big screen. But at the same time, made us appreciate the delicacy and accuracy needed to balance the skill of being in the present and actively thinking, whilst relaxing and allowing your yourself to have the freedom of a conversation. A conversation, which I learnt is essentially what an interview is.


One Response to “Day In A Presenting/Hosting Workshop At The Roundhouse With Lynn Blades”

  1. Matt January 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    that sounds amazing, so sorry I couldn’t be there. I remember my first experiences of attending open mic nights and poetry events and thinking, wow that’s awesome. It still happens, it keeps happening!

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