Coming up this week is the Celebration Event, the culmination of YE Shropshire’s Company Programme for 2015-2016.
Clear & Present Danger
Before the students, teachers and volunteers can celebrate though, the presentations had to take place. Two days of practicing and performing to their peers, teachers, advisors and judges really shows the students what the pressure of public speaking is about.
There was little time for most of the companies to prepare for the presentation owing to the Easter holiday being just before the two days. Some students did lots of work in their own time, collaborating with other members of the company and others did not.
It’s asking a lot of these young adults to put together a company, trade at trade fairs. write a business report and present it to many people in a formal setting. Many of the students taking part shone, most in fact. A few that didn’t shine still had the guts to get up and present for four minutes in front of over 100 other students, I certainly wouldn’t have had the guts to do that at their age.
Many of the presentations fitted the bill and covered most of the judging criteria. Some were very business like, even if they had the opportunity to have a little fun and include some humour. One of the presentations for a Candle company mentioned Four Candles in reference to the late, great Ronnie Corbett and got a giggle but other than that I can barely remember another line that made me titter.
In the past I’ve seen strange dancing, people dressed up as Foxes, Mobile Phones, Crayons and even getting wheeled in, inside a wheelie bin. These attempts to catch the eye and the mind of the Judges and competitors do work and it would be great to see some innovation on this front for the next year.
After a practice in the morning, a group of volunteers and their teacher offer feedback, constructive criticism and even pointing out missing or superfluous apostrophes. Many of the companies make notes and improve their fayre for when they return for the presentation proper. Some do not, either because they’ve forgotten their laptop or don’t have an editable copy with them.
There were more presentations using Prezi this year than previously and it was good to see it being utilised. I’m sure that it can be used more effectively though and some teams used it in a very linear fashion so may as well have used powerpoint. I was pleased however that my pet peeve was not in vogue this year. Animating text onto the screen, either a typewriter putting each character in a huge paragraph or a sentence speeding in to a skidding noise. Thankfully, these students have far more taste than in years gone by.
The judging was carried out by a voluntary panel of business leaders from the county, and our gratitude for their services is huge. They all agreed that it was difficult to use the criteria and some of the companies presenting were very close to each other.
Now for this Thursday coming up, three of the top teams from the presentations at Harper Adams University will be asked to step up in front of the guests at the Celebration Event at the Park Inn, Telford. The three companies will have a four minute slot to present to the audience of around 300 before being judged by the same people. The audience will use the electronic voting system from my workplace in a “Millionaire” Ask The Audience style exercise. This always has a good response and is well received by all.
The only thing now is to prepare for the 25+ awards that are up for grabs and get the slides ready to go, to be read by the comperes for the evening. More on this event after it’s happened!!