Roy is a MA Political Economy student at King’s College London and was a finalist at Policy Idol 2015. Roy’s pitch was titled ‘The Universal Basic Income: revitalising the welfare state’. In this blog post, Roy tells us about his experience taking part in the competition and explains why people should apply for Policy Idol 2016. You can read the details of Roy’s pitch here.
Ask my friends and they would tell you how I’m always pestering them with my ideas and opinions. Whether it was about characters in the sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother’ or the social security system in Great Britain, I always seem to have something to say about it. So when I saw that the Policy Institute at King’s was running a competition where you could talk about an idea for prizes, I thought why not? If anything it would give my friends a break…
For me, finding an interesting topic wasn’t the hardest part. The concept of ‘basic income’, which was the basis of my pitch, is currently widely discussed in my home country (the Netherlands) so I was aware of the pros and the cons of the idea. This is important, as the judges that you pitch your idea to are very good at finding a flaw in your idea and challenging you to think about how you would overcome it. This makes the judges insightful, meticulous and hard to fool. So, I would say that knowing the cons of your idea is even more important than knowing the pros, especially when you’re pitching an idea that challenges the status quo.
The thing I found the hardest about the competition is the time limit. Three minutes is not a great deal of time to pitch your potentially ‘world changing’ idea. You will no doubt be passionate about your idea, so will want to extensively explain and defend it. However, there’s no time for that. You need to deliver the core message with an overview of the reasons why it’s a workable idea. You want to captivate the audience so diving into a lot of detail can distract from the issue you are trying to solve. If you hold the detail back you’ll be able to use it to answer the questions from the judges.
Policy Idol taught me that convincing people of your ideas takes more than an entertaining speech and a deep understanding of the subject. You have to be able to frame your idea in a way that speaks to people’s ideals and principles.
Whether you are vocally ambitious or a shy policy genius, Policy Idol is the perfect competition to challenge yourself against giants from the worlds of politics, academia and industry. If you make it to the final you get great training from the Policy Institute to improve your pitch and public speaking skills. The skills and experiences I gained from taking part are something that I feel have no doubt improved my professional and personal prospects.