An #upfront conversation with Ummi Jameel

Ummi first sat #upfront at TEDxDundee last year with Lauren.  This year she sat #upfront again with Emer Coleman at Camp Digital 2017. Here’s what she had to say about her experience the second time around…

I’m a Digital Experience Design postgraduate student by day, and a freelance illustrating graphic designer by night. I wanted to be #upfront again to find out how I’d feel being in the hot seat again after my first #upfront experience last year.

“It was a lot more comfortable the second time, I was able to settle myself down into the space, and relax a bit, and enjoy the speaker along with the audience. I even had time to observe the audience after!”

The audience wasn’t looking directly at me, I think they were looking more at the speaker, so I didn’t feel nervous at all, and they seemed rather interested more than anything else. At the end, a few of them even came up to me to ask about my experience, as though I was just on a television set, and one even applauded me!

I think #upfront makes conference stages more accessible for those who are interested in giving their own talk one day. It also enables the audience to not put so much pressure on the speaker to give a performance, because they’re also in charge of being a good audience, and the speaker has a tiny backup crew on the sidelines just for them too.

It doesn’t cost you anything. The speaker and organisers are super super kind and wouldn’t put you through anything that you wouldn’t want to.

“Above all, it’s literally 20 minutes of your life on stage, in the spotlight without any pressure, or notes, or anything! This is the safest place to be on stage.”

When it comes to my own confidence and public speaking, I’m working on how to freestyle my talks as I go, feeding off the energy of the audiences. I’m also understanding more about stage presence, treating my talks and public speaking like a performance, taking it that one extra level.