Lessons From Last Weekend

 So last weekend I was had the opportunity to support an interesting event bringing international students together to solve global problems within 48hrs.

It was the first shot I got to support an even of such capacity, so I took it up and gave my best at it. I took away a lot of key experiences and lessons from it by talking to the participating students and speakers who I had a chat with.

Lesson 1: You don't have to know people completely before you can work comfortably with them. 

I saw this play out all through the event, there were 8 teams, and I had the opportunity to talk to all the team members at different points. For some teams initially, they struggled to agree on one idea, but they settled their differences pretty quickly and were able to quickly put up a good final presentation.

You just need to be able to listen to others and criticize them wisely while making your point. Then they will listen to you and feel like you know and respect them.

You don't need years to do this, you just need to be sensitive and emotionally intelligent to know when to compromise and when to maintain your position.

Lesson 2: Know how to pick the right people or join the right team. 

The winning teams at the event did not just randomly wait to be put into teams, they formed their teams by taking the initiative to talk to other students who were "strangers" and listen to the ideas that they have. 

There is always an opportunity when you are meeting anyone for the first time to build a rapport with them. Most people miss out on this opportunity by not taking initiative. You need to learn take the initiative by talking to people and getting to know them. You do this by asking reasonable questions nicely and people will talk to you when they perceive you are a nice person.

The best teams chose their team members via making those important first interactions and the team dynamic in the winning teams were excellent.

Lesson 3:

You need women on your team. This cannot be overemphasized. The winning teams had a great balance of men and women. It was almost equal. There's something about women and the perspective they bring to decision making. 

Historically women were not given the chance, but all of that is changing and women are constantly proving that when given a chance they can even perform much more excellently than even some men. 

When building teams, ensure women are onboard and well represented. Their perspectives are critical. 

Lesson 4: 

Don't get bugged down with the technical details. Most people don't care about how stuff works, so spending time explaining it to a general audience may be counter productive. 

Some teams spent too much time explaining the technical side of their solutions. But most people don't just get it. In presentations focus on connecting with the hearts and minds of your audience. Yes, you should have a solid prototype, but the prototype is not what will sell your idea.

How you connect to your audience by pulling the strings of their emotions, getting then to laugh, and getting them excited about your solution is key to success in your pitching. 

Lesson 5:

This is the most important lesson for me. I asked one of the speakers Peter, "How do you speak so well?" "I want to be able to speak like that, from the heart." 

He told me something I will never forget. He said, "First you need to believe in something so strongly deep within your core." And he later said "The motivate of what you're doing has to come from a place of giving out." 

He explained that most people are motivated by the need to be the best and appear better than others. But everything that starts with such motivation is bound to fail. He said about turning on the spotlight of others rather than ourselves when speaking. 

And he said it also comes with practice. He had over 30 yrs speaking experience.

So there you go on my lessons during my first mentoring experience at an international level. 

I hope your motive to do anything comes from a place of giving out and not showing how excellent you are or wanting to be the best..the world doesn't care about that. And won't pay to hear that either. 

Keep giving out value to others and keep winning!


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