Hard Knocks and Soft Skills
There is an old Japanese proverb that says - Fall down seven times, get up eight. This is something that we have been instilling in 25 young unemployed men in Tottenham for another series of the hit Sky show School of Hard Knocks.
For the past seven weeks I have been filming another series of the hit show. Each year I work with Will Greenwood, Scott Quinnell and Chris Chudleigh (pictured) to turn a group of young men from disparate backgrounds into a rugby team in order to help them learn life skills such as self-belief, discipline, confidence and teamwork – skills that will ultimately help them land a job.
We are starting the final week of filming and this is where we really see if all our work with the group has paid off. There are two major events that will bring the series to a conclusion, the final one being a no-holds-barred rugby match where they will have to show their mettle against very experienced (and even ex-professional players). This is a wonderful climax to the show and we learn a lot about their characters in the face of a hard challenge. However, the other main event holds even more significance for me as it is where we hold a jobs fair where they all get a chance to put all the lessons they have learnt into practice in front of a varied number of companies who have real jobs on offer. As The Pitch Doctor who has dealt with the motivational psychology of the group throughout the series I feel really committed to these young men and want them to be able to pull together all their learning over the past weeks so that they can really change their lives for the better and get a job
Once again it has been a very interesting journey with the highs and lows of the process. There were times when there were tantrums and motivation issues and I think that, at certain times, all of us despaired that certain people wouldn’t give everything to the team or give themselves the best chance to change their future.
Some of these young men have had very, difficult pasts with dangerous and emotionally draining events but I have consistently reminded them that the good thing about the past is that it is over and we have focused on what is possible in the future.
Obviously, as The Pitch Doctor, I am very used to seeing how people react before they have to go into pitches, presentations or job interviews so just before they go into the Job Fair, I will be priming them to react in the right way so that they can control their nerves and let their true talents shine through.
In my motivational pep talk before they start the interviews I will make sure that they all realise that they now have all the resources they need to impress the recruiters and they just need to make sure that they put over the right impression.
Three of the things that I will remind them are useful to everyone who plans on doing any kind of pitch, presentation or job interview:
1.You never get a second chance to make a first impression. People can make up their minds about whether they like someone within the first 2-3 seconds so it is important to create the impression you want immediately.
2.Your physiology leads your psychology. If you want to feel confident hold yourself like a confident person. Shoulders back - chin up.
3.Smile. The old saying of ‘smile and the whole world smiles with you’ is true. As human beings, we mirror other people and if someone smiles at us, we are innately compelled to smile back. If you get someone smiling you are well on your way to getting great rapport.
Good luck, guys. We all really believe in you and are backing you all the way.