• jahintanvir

That time I got asked 258 questions for a Q&A

Out of all the speeches and panels that I had the honour of being part of in 2021, one event stood out to me more than anything. One event that I think of to this very day.

It was the talk I gave at the Asia Education Foundation which is a part of the University of Melbourne here in Australia (I note the location, as my blog demographics have shown there are quite a number of international readers - G'day!).

What made this experience so special was that the audience, hundreds of school students across Melbourne, only had time for a 10 minute Q&A session after my 20 minute talk. You would expect that would merit 4-5 concise answers. Well, that's what I expected at least.

For this talk, I received 115 questions - 258 questions in total without duplicates (Excel sheet pictured at the end).

I was blown away.

Was I that interesting?

After the talk, I remember going for a walk in my neighbourhood and just reflecting on it.

No music. No podcasts. Just my thoughts and feeling an internal sense of gratitude from the experience.

There was a lesson that I learned from this experience, and I'd like to share this with any aspiring speakers, educators, or communicators that may be reading this.

The 3 lessons that I learned was that:

❤️ When you’re speaking to young people, be vulnerable. Share your lived experience like it’s an open book. The youth want to resonate with your struggles and end up trusting you more when you are open about it. Lived experience is empowering for individuals of all ages, particularly for the younger generation. Don't be shy!

🔥 How you say it is more important than what you say. We all have stories, but not all of us are storytellers. The more captivating and raw you share your experiences, the more people will be curious to learn more. Be enthusiastic and own your craft. Young people want to see the passion exuding from your eyes, hand gestures and tone of voice. That's what excites them, and will excite you as well.

✔️ End the talk on a positive note. Struggle is universal, we have all felt them. But what we have all felt more, and need more of, is hope. Even if it was a small victory, end your story/talk with a motivational nugget and that will linger into them thinking more deeply about themselves. The second email below displays that.

Thank you, Chris Higgins and Asia Foundation for the experience that I still think about to this very day.

As always, there's ambition in my coffee - I hope it's in yours too!

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