By Aaron Reisberger, winner of oslo soup at Skippergata 22
So you made it. You have the opportunity to pitch your idea to a group of awesome people who are gathered on a Sunday afternoon to hear your idea. Congratulations. Time to deliver the goods. How do you do it? There is no definite answer to that question… but this is how I approached it…
BELIEVE in yourself and your idea. This is the most important quality you can possess. You gotta believe in your idea, nothing else matters unless this box is checked off first. Your idea doesn’t have to solve a problem or change the world or be the very first of its kind but it must speak to you and what you care about. Your idea needs… To be heard. And if your idea needs to be heard and if you have the courage to stand up and share that idea… I GUARANTEE that there is someone in your audience that you are going to connect with. Someone who will pick up the message you are sending and run with it. And don’t worry, they aren’t going to run away from you, they are going to run with you. You are not alone. You and your idea are worth sharing.
RELATE to your audience. Have a story. Tell the story. A story about how and when and where and why your idea found you or how you found it. Because stories relate to people. Everyday occurrences relate to people. LIFE relates to people. And this is your opportunity to share your life story with people. Not your whole life story but the story of your idea. Think about your audience and what they have in common. They all live in the general Oslo area, they all have family, they are all interested in hearing new and fresh ideas, they are all supportive of you and your idea BEFORE you have even opened your mouth to speak. They all have experienced loss and love. And if someone hasn’t experienced loss and love go find that person and be nice to them. Your audience understands and is familiar with climate change, healthy choices, globalization, social change. They understand stages of life and the ebb and flow of the ocean and of life. They all have family and friends and they all know of old people and young people and pets and the joy of travel and holidays. Tell a story that relates to your idea and fill that story with people and places and the minutiae of everyday life because the audience will relate to people, places, and the little things of daily life. But they are also there to see you…
PERFORM. When your idea becomes so important to you that you will suffer public speaking for it, you owe it to yourself to make your time onstage the best it can be. It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of people, hats off to you, but remember, it is not about you. At all. Don’t think about what it’s going to be like up there in front of all those people. Your idea is what they are interested in. Most of the audience has experienced public speaking. It’s not easy. They know that, you know that. They are here for you to support you and give you the open forum that your idea deserves. What is it about then? It’s about your idea, your message. You, dear presenter, are the conduit for your message. Whether you have seen it at the movies or experienced it in real life, I want you to close your eyes and picture a church in the deep south of the USA. There is a white church on a country road, bathed in sunshine, steeple stretching into the sky. The crowd is filing in the doors, people dressed in their Sunday best, greeting one another, shaking hands, exchanging hugs, children running around legs. The crowd takes their seats in the pews, the hymn has been sung and the preacher begins and he delivers the day’s message. And he channels that higher power and the message moves through him to the audience. Nothing about the performance is about him or his theatrics but his performance has everything to do with the message of that particular day. Future presenters take note, the more you can summon the essence of what your idea is and that you are merely on stage to deliver that message, the better your time onstage will be for you and for your audience. Forget about yourself and how you feel and what people are thinking about you and focus all of your attention on why your idea matters and how to deliver.
It was a beautiful and sun filled afternoon when I stepped out of the train station in Oslo. I walked past the tiger statue on the plaza and wandered past a beach volleyball tournament with hundreds of spectators. I was an hour away from pitching my idea at Oslo Soup August 2017. I thought about Norway, sunny Sundays, and the many holidays that people were sure to be taking, and I asked myself, “How many people could possibly be at this event on a day like today?” I entered the Oslo Soup event space and the hive of activity was real. This was more than I had anticipated. The volunteers, the core group of women founders of Oslo Soup, the chairs and tables and mics and media. My stomach did a flip, and then another. I wondered if I was going to crash and burn. I thought all the bad thoughts one can think. And then I took a breath, quieted my mind and I thought of what my project means to me, how it could resonate with most of the people in attendance, and that I was as prepared as I was going to be. I turned my thoughts from the size of the crowd being one of intimidation to a thought of how lucky I was to get my idea out into the world and into so many minds who had given up the sun and part of their Sunday and a beach volleyball tournament to hear my idea. And if I did it, believe me, you can too.
Find the essence of why your idea/message matters to you. Focus your idea/ message into a personal story and tell that story onstage. And forget about yourself and what you are feeling. Channel that higher power. That higher power is your idea/message.
Go get ’em tiger.
Aaron Reisenberg, November 2017