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Charlie Groome: Three Cheers for the Young Britons' Foundation Television Techniques Workshop

Ybf_18dsAs an aspiring voice in the world of politics I was keen to get the chance to learn some of the tricks of the trade and so was pleased to hear I'd got a place on the Young Britons' Foundation's first Television Techniques Training Workshop of the year. Arriving promptly at 18 Doughty Street for 9am, I was immediately whisked away for a baptism of fire in 'Vox Pops'.

I'd experienced this once before in my life, aged 16, having come back from drinks with some school friends in central Manchester when a Sky News television crew stopped me in my tracks to ask what my views on underage drinking were. As you might imagine, I floundered and at 9am, without any form of caffeination whatsoever, I once again stumbled. Alas, after a friendly coffee break that gave us the chance to meet each other, six in total, we were engaged in a series of insightful lectures into precisely what makes good television presentation and why it is necessary at all.

Aided with a selection of classic video clips Shane Greer, the Executive Director of the Young Britons' Foundation, took us through some case book examples of how bad presentation had destroyed campaigns over the years and, indeed how some campaigns had been won on almost presentation alone. Young Britons' Foundation Chief Executive Donal Blaney then got down to the detail, the aforementioned tricks of the trade, starting with some statistics that shocked most of us. What we say is only 7% of presentation? Not to worry, we were soon well versed in how to say it and how to manoeuvre ourselves through interviews, open discussions, television debates and vox pops.

After a buffet lunch we spent the afternoon practicing our newly acquired knowledge in front of the cameras. This proved to be a surprisingly productive process as we each watched ourselves visibly improve as we tried incorporating different tips into our performances each time we went before the camera. In the end it was decided Councillor Nick Cuff would go live on that evenings 'Up Front' on 18 Doughty St. The last presentation of the day was then given by Conservative Home's very own Tim Montgomerie, introducing us to the concept of Citizen Journalism and encouraging us to get into filming and editing our own pieces.

The day ended in 'Ciao Bella' – an excellent little Italian restaurant round the corner where we all ate and drank merrily and reflected upon our experiences. I heartily recommend this workshop to anybody interested in grooming themselves to take on Paxman over the course of their political career!


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