We're changing confidence in three ways
// Delivering authentic confidence training and consultancy
“I left having had a physical transformation; I was really fidgety and nervous on arrival and you quickly calmed my nerves. I loved the whole format. I’ll never forget it.” – Laura Boardman, Founder of Outdraw
// Creating opportunities and skills for women and marginalised groups
“In less than two hours Lauren literally transformed our teams from nervous, anxious speakers into confident pitchers! upfront was by far the best workshop of our entire accelerator programme and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve signed up for their next workshop myself!” – Priya Ghai, Programme Manager at Fearless Futures Gender Accelerator
// Providing a new and easy way for new voices to experience the stage and confidence for the first time
“Being upfront was a powerful, emotional experience. Having no pressure to speak allowed me to really feel the anxiety and nervousness that I suppress when I speak. It was a chance to just “be” in a foreign, uncomfortable place without any pressure to perform or impress.” – Katie Crepeau, Business Strategy & Communications for Creative Professionals Consultant
The upfront approach
How it works
Sharing your power and your stage
The upfront couch bridges the gap between audience and speaker. It sits onstage, facing the audience and is a place for aspiring public speakers to experience the feeling of being onstage without the pressure of performance.
Those who sit upfront don’t say any more than any other audience member would, therefore it won’t affect the content or the timing of the talk being delivered in any way. Anyone who sits upfront will be supported by the upfront team on their public speaking journey. By sitting on the upfront couch you are 30% more likely to speak at an event yourself one day.
The upfront approach
The couch is only a small part of what we do. People who sit on our couches around the world follow up by attending our workshops or inviting us to come and work with their teams. They then go on to give talks themselves where they share their stage and their power and so it continues. We are here to change confidence.
upfront is a global movement dedicated to changing confidence
The end of all male panels
We won’t stop until there is an upfront couch, championing diversity on every conference stage in the world. With our current trajectory, by 2018 over 500 people, all with their own public speaking ambitions, will have sat upfront. We want to give as many people the opportunity to sit upfront as possible, having already sent the upfront couch around the UK and beyond to over a dozen conferences this year, and with many more conferences signed up in the future, we are building an incredibly diverse community of aspiring speakers and conference organisers.
The upfront platform
upfront aims to provide you with knowledge, inspiration and a sense of community so you can find your kindest, most fearless self. We are prototyping a series of events, online and physical spaces to understand what you need this to be.
For many of us, the prospect of giving a speech in front of a group of total strangers is the stuff of nightmares. For those of us who attend or speak at conferences; how often do we see the same speakers present the same content over and over? How often do we watch a panel of white, middle class men debating issues that affect us all? How often do we flick through a conference programme to find that every speaker is a white dude? How often are you the only person of your race in the audience? Too often.
There are no excuses. upfront demands that in this crisis of equality, stages and conferences around the world be more diverse and accessible. It all starts with you. Perhaps you want to step outside your comfort zone, perhaps you are working on your confidence or maybe you get cold sweats at the thought of presenting but feel like you have something to share. Regardless, this is your chance to practice being on stage.
By being upfront you are joining a network of people all over the world finding the confidence to tell their story. upfront lets you learn from the best from a ringside seat. You will see the speaker prepare, deliver, celebrate, and everything in between. You will greet the audience from a safe, comfortable space where you will can learn new things. By being #upfront you are galvanising others to be brave too.
Being an upfront speaker
Speakers, by sharing your power and your stage you make a strong statement in support of diversity. Our evidence shows your talk itself will be more memorable and that levels of engagement for all participants will increase as a result of your creating a community onstage with you.
Hosting an upfront conference
Conference organisers, the upfront approach improves the dynamic of your event. It bridges the gap between the audience and the speaker. Our evidence shows being upfront increases the number of tickets you sell, the levels of audience engagement, the likelihood of audiences members attending and recommending your conference to others next year.
The #upfront network
Lauren Currie is the founder and director of upfront. She created upfront in response to her own personal experience of often being the only female speaker at conferences. This year Lauren was awarded an OBE for her services to design and diversity.
She is an award-winning designer and entrepreneur with a track record of building solutions that tackle problems that matter. She is the co-founder of Snook, Scotland’s first service design for social change agency. This year ELLE featured Lauren as one of 30 women under 30 changing the world and last year Management Today featured her as one of the top 30 business women under 30 in the UK. She is based in London and is Head of Design at Good Lab.
Suha is the Director of Little Fish Theatre who work in partnership with local communities to deliver a wide range of ground-breaking programmes.
Suha brings expertise on how to utilise body, breath and voice to everyone upfront works with. She teaches people how to be more confident in professional environments.
A comedy writer and performer, Neusha recently appeared as the lead in black comedy Trying at the New Diorama. She co-wrote, produced and performed in the comedy short film Bali which was nominated for ‘Best Comedy’ at the London Short Film Festival 2016.
Neusha brings expertise on how to utilise body, breath and voice to everyone upfront works with.
Lisa is the CEO and Founder of Doberman and is a critical friend to upfront.
Alice is our upfront Associate and a big believer in giving people the chance to have their story heard. She helps manage upfront events and communications. She currently works as a User Experience Researcher at Good Innovation.
Bethan is a lead facilitator upfront. She is the co-founder of WeAreEurope and Shevotes, two networks that have inspired participation in politics amongst youth, women and invisible communities across Europe. Bethan is CEO of Collectively and is currently on a residency at Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed.
Natalie is a theatre maker based in the East of England. She is currently studying an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has worked variously as a director, writer, producer and facilitator with the New Wolsey Theatre, Eastern Angles, Mercury Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and more. Natalie trained as an actor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.