Sh 2012 stage

Wow – what a stage!

I have recently returned from speaking at Spring Harvest – a huge festival for Christians, with teaching, bands, creative arts, sport, youth and kids work and a load of homicidal seagulls in Minehead.

Working with incredible people in such a dynamic environment is just awesome. And leading and teaching on the super-size stage of the big top is a unique experience.

Talking to one person meaningfully is one skill. Communicating with a small group is another. Capturing the attention of 100 or so is a different kettle of fish. But steering a message or a programme for thousands is like learning to communicate all over again.

It is as if the dynamic is slower – like steering a ship instead of a speedboat. The reaction is delayed and it ripples out, which to start with makes you wonder if you are immediately connecting. Your pace has to adjust – but without stalling, or faltering.

To add to the learning curve, your face is being blown up on a massive screen, which means that while your instinct is to massively upscale your body language to fill and own the stage, if you are not careful your facial expressions can just come across as manic!

I feel like every year, I learn a bit more, and as the nerves gradually decrease due to familiarity, so my desire to excel and develop increases.
I loved it all – the conversations, one to one, the small zone I taught in, the creative team I coordinated and the huge crowd I shared time with. Amazing.

It was a wonderful time this year – and I feel privileged to be part of the event.

Over to you:

How do you feel about speaking in front of different size groups?

Do you have mechanisms for coping with your nerves?

SH2011 stage closeup