After wrapping our Assembly Required conference series last year, we continued to hear from attendees long after the curtains closed. Many of you took big steps in your lives to open businesses, make a career leap, or advance within your own organizations. To keep the momentum going, we debuted Some Assembly Required: the little sibling to the larger conference. This laid-back version of the event takes on a small-group format of about 50 attendees who enjoy personalized networking, facilitated discussions, and entertaining guest-speakers. Everyone walks away with pragmatic takeaways on how to tackle common difficulties experienced by young professionals.
If you missed the first event in September, or if you did make it and want to relive the conversations you had that evening, here’s a snapshot for you:
Rather than doing traditional networking over a cocktail hour, we prompted attendees to discuss potentially uncomfortable topics, eased only by the free beer from Tin Roof Brewing Co. and tasty subs from Jimmy John’s. Our dimly-lit warehouse office setting set a casual, tone that primed the audience for unique conversation topics that often go unspoken.
Our very own Justin Hutchinson hosted the event, opening with personal stories that broke the ice and kicked off the networking rounds.
We kicked off the night with two discussion prompts:
1: Tell your neighbor one thing that’s going great in your life right now and one thing that isn’t.
2: Which of the following will we look back on and consider most barbaric?
- full contact sports
- labeling based on gender
- governing with a two-party system
- factory-style education
- how we impact the environment
These topics intentionally sparked an emotional reaction in participants, forcing people to engage in difficult conversation and skip the small-talk.
The team at Leather Apron Theatre Co. did an improv bit immediately following our networking rounds. LATco. Is an improv comedy collective created by TC Matherne. They focus on one mission: to bring the funny to Baton Rouge. They got the crowd laughing by improvising on common, and not-so-common, workplace situations. Immediately following their bit, Betty Murica gave an in-depth presentation on how improv comedy could help us all become better presenters.
She left us with these key takeaways:
- Keep it authentic. Don’t try to mimic someone else or present on a topic you’re not familiar with. Audiences can sense authenticity, so present your true self and talk about something you’re passionate about.
- Remember… you don’t matter. Even the best presenters get anxious about public speaking, but the secret is this: people aren’t thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are.
- Own your stumbles. It’s okay to mess up. Rather than internalizing it and projecting awkward tension for the rest of the presentation, acknowledge the slip-up and disarm it. You can use humor or humility to say “oops, I didn’t mean to say that” and move on unscathed. After all, you’re human!
- Know your audience. Seriously, know who you’re presenting to. Knowing who’s in the crowd will inform the manner in which you present. Not all crowds are created equal.
- Be confident. Stand tall, speak assuredly, avoid “umms.” Project passion and energy by presenting as though you believe in what you’re saying (because you should!).
With Some Assembly Required, we hope to provide the personal growth, intimate networking, and pragmatic takeaways of the full conference event in an intimate and approachable setting.
For many professionals, public speaking ranks as their greatest fear. Naturally, we geared our first installment for conquering this all-too-common phobia. For those who attended, thank you!
Want to attend our next installment? Follow us on social to get tickets to our next Assembly: How To Craft Incredible Customer Experiences, taking place this November. Tickets will be available soon at our website.