Uprising to the top: Developing future leaders
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Uprising to the top: Developing future leaders

Author: Sam Willet | Posted on: 3 February 2017

Ember Television producer Sam Willet interviews a young leader at an Uprising media training session

This week, we had an exciting opportunity to pass on our knowledge to some ambitious young people.

We had been asked to provide a media training for Uprising, a national youth leadership development organisation. They offer a range of leadership and employability programmes for 16-25 year olds in London, Bedford, Luton, Cardiff, Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester, Liverpool, as well as our fair Birmingham. As well as a programme of training sessions provided by professionals from a broad range of industry sectors, participants also work together to design and deliver a social action campaign on any issue they feel strongly about. Uprising programmes are completely free, and are designed to provide opportunities for young people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Alex Dewhirst teaching interview technique

For us, getting involved with Uprising is a no-brainer. Not only are the sessions always a lot of fun, Ember staff get to play a role in the development of young people. Uprising are always great to work with, and Tara Buckley, Birmingham Project Coordinator, made sure everything ran smoothly.

The Uprisers performed admirably during our training exercise, which aimed to teach them best practice for TV and video interviews. In particular, we focused on how to cope with responding to difficult questions in a high pressure situation. As you’d expect, our young leaders did make some mistakes, so I thought I’d include three lessons my group learned from the exercise:

1) Maximise any preparation time

Maybe it was nerves, but when I gave my interviewees 5 minutes of preparation time, there was a certain amount of standing around and giggling. This was an opportunity to get a pen out and make notes on potential responses, which would have given them something to stick to during the interview.

2) Read the questions before the interview if possible

We made this point early in the session, but when we came to the interview, did anyone ask me for the questions? Not one person. Reading the questions is an important pre-interview exercise, as it allows you to formulate clear answers. You may be able to hold these in your head, but you may want to make notes.

In an interview, I would not recommend writing yourself a script. Unless your recall is particularly good, this will lead to a very stilted answer, and it’s likely that the production crew will not allow you to hold onto your notes during filming.

3) Think about your body language

This is really difficult - I for one have an annoying habit of tilting my head to one side when I’m in front of camera. It sounds basic, but just standing up straight and maintaining eye contact with your interviewer makes you look ten times better.

Interviewing at Uprising media training

Also, think about the tone you want to strike. For example, you want to be positive, energised and smiling when you’re talking about your ideas or your business, but when responding to criticism, it’s more important to appear calm, engaged and courteous.

We took this opportunity not only because we believe in the work that Uprising do, but because for us as video producers it’s important for us to be able to communicate, educate and persuade an audience quickly and efficiently, and get feedback on the things that keep learners engaged. We look forward to helping to develop more future leaders in the coming years.

Find out more about Uprising at uprising.org.uk

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Author: Sam Willet

Sam Willet gravatar avitar
Sam is a Producer and Client Manager at Ember Television. He has worked in online media since graduating with an MA in Film and TV from the University of Birmingham, and loves a good human interest story. You can contact him at [email protected] https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=294919697&authType=name&authToken=k-zK&trk=prof-proj-cc-name https://twitter.com/ember_samw
Uprising to the top: Developing future leaders

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