An #upfront conversation with Joanna Axinte

Joanna Axinte is Partnership Support Officer at University College Birmingham. We met at TedX Brum where Joanna was #upfront with Lauren. Here’s what she has to say about her experience…

I’m a driven and ambitious individual always looking to improve my skills and knowledge. I’ve got more than seven years experience in events management and I’m also passionate about alternative methods of education and love to travel. I believe that a person learns from experiences rather than the classroom, hence the reason why I wanted to be part of the #upfront movement. I’m keen to share my learnings from being #upfront and I want to work hard to help more stages around the world become more diverse and accessible.

It was a pleasure working with Lauren and I learnt a lot from experience. I now know that it’s not just about the moment when you are on-stage but also what happens before, during and after the speech.

“It was great to have the opportunity to be in the shoes of the speaker without the pressure of actually delivering the speech. ”

This gave me the opportunity to reflect on all the steps that you have to take to deliver an amazing speech: putting together a speech that delivers a clear and authentic message, the mental rehearsal, the moment of silence combined with the anticipation before coming on stage and the moment when you have to deliver the speech.

My big three takeaways are:
•    not to let the fear of what other people think stop you from doing something
•    to be authentic and real
•    to be YOU

I noticed that the audience is there to hear your message, to be inspired to take action and learn new ideas that they could implement in their personal or professional life. The audience is there to listen to you and not to judge you.

I believe that if more people have the opportunity to be #upfront, they will see that public speaking is a skill that can be mastered by doing it and getting over that initial fear. This will open the stage for more people to share their stories and experiences.

I think that confidence comes from believing in yourself and your message. Every person has their own unique experiences and therefore they are able to share their unique point of view without being afraid that they will be judged. This is one of the most common reasons people have imposter syndrome. Everyone has something to share, everyone has learnt something that could help others and if more people are #upfront these stories will be heard. If you want to build your confidence then you have to do the things that scare you, this is the only way you will learn.

“Being on the other side of the stage has helped me understand that public speaking is simply a set skills that you can master”

Every time you will learn something new and incorporate this into your new talk. My next goal is to deliver my own speech at a conference or event.

I made new friends the day I was #upfront and this was something I hadn’t expected!