There are lots of ways that you can help yourself by being well prepared for your roadshow. These are just some of the things you should be thinking about beforehand.
Do you have the details of how to get to the roadshow? Travel details are always a rough approximation so make sure they will work for you – strikes, line closures or a different starting location can always change things so check www.tfl.gov.uk before you travel. If you are missing anything contact Ruth or your team mates for help.
Who are the other mentors? Who is the lead mentor – is it you? Even if you know the other mentors on your team it is helpful to make sure that you are in touch beforehand. It should be the lead mentor’s responsibility to ensure that equipment is collected and everyone knows where to meet but, if you haven’t heard from them, take the initiative and contact them yourself. The lead mentor will receive details of how to access the equipment and will know if anyone in the group is new to roadshows so they are very important!
Do you know this roadshow? Could you do with a refresher? If this isn’t a roadshow you are confident with or you haven’t delivered it in a while remember that you can always view the slides and the notes at…..There will also be laminated notes in your roadshow pack so you can review them with your team on the journey. There will be opportunities to refresh your memories on roadshows throughout the year so take them when you can.
Prepare the night before It may sound obvious but if it’s an early start – make sure your alarm is right! You can also print out the travel and contact details and make sure your roadshows t-shirt is nice and clean!
Once you have met your team, checked and collected the equipment, oyster cards and evaluation forms you are on your way. Allow plenty of time to travel and consider the following when you reach your destination.
Give yourself time to set up The school contact will have been told to expect you 15 minutes before the roadshow starts and to allow you access to the room to set up if possible. Being there early means that you have time to remind yourself of the equipment, divide up tasks and get used to the space.
Be nice to the teacher! Obviously we want to make a good impression but, more than that, the teacher will be the person in charge of managing the behaviour of the class so you want them on your side! Explaining what you are going to do and asking a bit about the class can also help you in tailoring the roadshow and preparing yourself for questions. For example, knowing that half of the group are interested in physiotherapy when you are delivering that roadshow can help!
Think about how you set up. Room layout and visability matter! It saves time to set up any stations for groups to go to at the beginning and to prepare equipment (particularly with prosthetics) but think about where you set these up. You don’t want your audience staring at or playing with these while you introduce yourselves. Also make sure that you can be seen and heard by the group where you are presenting and that it will be easy for you to see and also divide your audience into groups (you may want the teacher to help with this). If you cannot stand and present and move your slides on at the same time you can agree with others in your group to share the responsibilities.
How you choose to start off your roadshow will probably depend on the age and number of pupils in your audience but there are some tips that can help.
Take a deep breath, smile and say hello Your audience probably won’t know what to expect from you so how you come across in your introduction is important.
Know what you are going to say Is one of you introducing everyone? Are you going to introduce yourself or will the teacher introduce you? Don’t lose your thread in the first few seconds and be prepared.
Why are you there? Your audience may or may not be expecting you and, even if they are, they may not know what you will be doing. Explaining to them why you are here will help them engage with the session. For example, if the teacher has told them they are going to learn about being a doctor they may be expecting something other than plaster of paris! It will be harder to hold their attention if they are waiting for or expecting something else.
Who and what are you? Your audience may not know a lot about students or higher education. Saying that you are a 3 rd year biomed may not mean anything to them. Saying ‘I am in my final year of studying biomedical sciences at university’ will mean much more.
What do you expect from them? Because you are not their usual lesson they may be confused about how they (and you) should behave. Help them by setting a few ground rules – e.g. raise hands to answer a question, respect other peoples answers, shout out if you have a question/answer etc. Different rules may be more relevant to different groups e.g. It may not make sense to ask for raised hands in a group of 8! Whatever rules you set, make sure that you stick to them and praise good involvement.
Ok, the next bit is now up to you! Delivering the content of the roadshows can be very personal and depend on your delivery style but everyone can learn from a few basic presentations skills to help them deliver an exciting roadshow.
Practice makes perfect The best way to feel comfortable and confident with the roadshow material is to practice. Come along to the informal practice sessions throughout the year, practice with friends or even by yourself. It’s the best way to learn how you would like to deliver the roadshow and to help remember the material.
Body language Feeling and looking relaxed will help to put you and your audience at ease. You want them to be listening to what you say so try not to fidget with your hands, your hair, a pen – anything! It draws focus from what you are saying. Try to make sure that your body language is open – no crossed arms, hands over your mouth or hiding behind a computer. Having an open relaxed posture will also help you project your voice.
Organisation Make sure that you each know which part of the presentation you are delivering – interrupting each other or saying the same things will confuse your audience.
Voice Try to vary the speed and tone of your voice. Making sure that you swap between mentors when presenting helps add variety which holds the audience attention better.
Remember your audience What age are they? Make sure that your jokes and comments are age appropriate and relevant to them. Don’t present at them either – try to involve them by asking questions or even by asking them to demonstrate something.
Get comfortable with silence When you ask your audience a question don’t be tempted to jump in with the answer immediately. If they recognise that you will answer questions for them they are less likely to make the effort to think it through for themselves. If they really can’t answer try to lead them in the right direction rather than just giving the answer.
Eye contact Look at your audience. You will be able to pick up on cues from them if they are looking fidgety or if it looks like someone knows the answer. They will also be able to read your cues. For example, when you ask a question try looking across the whole group – it shows that you are speaking to and expecting an answer from the whole group.
Keep an eye on the time It is ok to skim over some parts of the roadshow if time is running short but think beforehand about which bits you can reasonably cut down. For example, cutting out talking about entry requirements or doing evaluations is not an option but talking about the benefits of a career yourself rather than waiting for lots of answers from the audience could be.
Have fun! Delivering a roadshow is supposed to be enjoyable and a roadshow will be different depending on the audience and the people presenting it – that’s part of the magic!
For many of the roadshows you may have to show a small group how to do something. This is slightly different to presenting and can have different challenges. Below are a few techniques you can use when teaching to make sure you get your message across.
Set the scene – again The situation has changed so you may need to remind the students of any rules that you feel will be important or new rules. Don’t forget to tell them what you will be doing and the aims of your short session. E.g. We are going to look at a patient case and look at the ways that a Physiotherapist would treat them. This is going to include you getting involved and moving about so make sure that you move safely and you don’t obstruct other students.
Demonstration method If you are teaching your group a skill (BLS, Mixing plaster etc) try to break it into manageable steps. Tell them what you are going to do, do it, then talk them through again (demonstrating as you go if possible) and then get them to have a go
Group involvement If you can, try to use a volunteer from the group (who may or may not actually have volunteered!) to demonstrate something. This way you can explain the stages and show that something is easy for them to do. If you then need to split the group up to practice equipment you can also get your volunteer to use their knowledge to supervise and guide other students practicing.
Praise If someone does something well, tell them! If you need to correct someone’s technique it can also be helpful to tell them something that they are doing well first.
If you aren’t used to working with teenagers or working in schools the idea of leading a group of 32 excitable students can be a bit daunting! Don’t worry- we wouldn’t be doing them if they weren’t enjoyable for participants and for mentors. Being interesting and enjoyable is how we help get our message across. Many teachers have commented on just how well behaved their students are for us! Below are a few techniques to help you to avoid any tricky situations.
You’re not alone There should always be a teacher in the class with you. The behaviour of the group is their responsibility, NOT yours. If the class are behaving inappropriately ask the teacher to step in.
Remember your rules and stick to them Be clear about what your ground rules are and stick to them. It will be easier for a teacher to step in if there are clear lines that a pupil has crossed. If in their excitement they forget the rules, gently remind them.
Don’t shout However frustrating it can be to get a group’s attention, shouting at them will lose you their respect. After all, this is supposed to be fun and they may not understand why you are shouting at them. Other ways to get their attention include raising your hand, standing visibly in silence and making eye contact with the group, asking the teacher to step in, giving a pre-agreed signal like blowing a whistle.
Praise good behaviour This will reinforce your rules and give them encouragement
Model good behaviour Making sure that your conduct is appropriate and within your rules and showing that you are still enjoying yourself gives them more reinforcement.
This can be the most difficult part – you’ve got them all involved in something hands on and now you need to settle them down so you can get a message across. Consider the following points to help you meet the challenge.
Prepare them If you have told them at the beginning that they will need to come back together for a conclusion they should be more ready to hear what you have to say.
Summarise You could ask them if they have enjoyed themselves, if they have learned something new or just summarise what they have learned yourself. Getting them to reflect on what they have just achieved will help close the previous section and open this part.
Don’t rush over it Giving a summary and talking about entry requirements can be done quickly but shouldn’t be rushed – this gives the impression that it is unimportant and they are less likely to retain the information.
Know your stuff If this isn’t your subject you aren’t expected to know everything and you can be honest about that however, make sure you know the basics. Do you know what UKCAT is? Do you know what a BTEC is? If you don’t appear to take knowing this seriously then they won’t either.
Thank your audience Thank them for taking part and say you have enjoyed working with them – it should be true!
Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed a roadshow. But it’s not over yet – you need to think about the following things:
Congratulate yourself and your team Delivering a roadshow can be great fun but it isn’t always easy and it is always an achievement. Congratulating yourself and thinking about what you did well will help you in future too.
Get the equipment back safely Make sure that you pack everything up and check for any breakages or if supplies are low. Make a note and make sure you tell Ruth. Leave a note on the roadshow bag if it isn’t a convenient time to make contact. If you have agreed to return the equipment at a later time make sure that Ruth knows not to book another roadshow using that equipment until it is returned!
Reflect What went well? What could you have done better? If you want feedback from others on your team ask for it. To help you to improve in your roadshow delivery you should fill out a self-evaluation form. This is for your eyes only but will help you to reflect and become a better mentor.
Feedback If you have any comments about the roadshow, your performance or the school then you can contact Ruth or leave a message on the Experiments Roadshows ideas board at... When you did your self-evaluation were there any skills you wanted to work on? Ruth can help set up additional training sessions if there is enough demand so get in touch.
There are lots of available resources set up to help you be the best mentor that you can. Take advantage of as many as you can and if you can think of anything that isn’t already available that would help – suggest it!
Formal training sessions in specific skills such as presenting, voice control etc. Dates advertised on the Experiments Roadshows and Student Ambassadors sites and via email. Sign up through application.
Informal drop-in practice sessions on specific roadshows. Dates advertised on Experiments Roadshow site and via email.
Roadshow slideshows and notes available at …
Training videos available at…
Roadshow and Student Ambassador ideas boards. Share your ideas for improving projects at…
Roadshow consultants can be contacted for advice on delivery and being a mentor. Their contact details are on the website.
Self-reflection forms – available through Ruth, in your handbook or at…
Ruth is available if you want to talk through any queries or access any information. Contact her on [email_address] , 0208 266 6342, 07954 143243 or drop into the student centre to find her.