Injecting Advice

Talking Matters

Written by Nigel Brunsdon on . Posted in .

Last week I was invited to speak at the National Service User Involvement Conference in Birmingham. The conference was attended by between 500 and 600 people and I was talking about naloxone. You might not think it, but presentations like this are stressful and remembering why is important.

Although originally I was asked to run a small workshop, this was changed a week before to 15 minutes on the main stage and on the day this was reduced further to 10 minutes. But that’s fine – I’m a fast talker.

Pressure

I’d spent a few days working out how to open the talk, I was using a presentation similar to one I’d given previously but with enough changes to mean that I was delivering something ‘new’. I didn’t write down the exact wording of my opening but it was similar to this:

I’ve been asked to talk about naloxone, I’m not sure why they chose me, possibly because of the film I made with my daughter. But I’m feeling the pressure. You see it’s like this, quite a few of you already think that naloxone is a good idea, some of you though don’t know exactly what it is, and there will even be a few of you who think giving people naloxone is a bad idea.

So I have 10 minutes and if I do this right more of you will think naloxone is something to fight for… and that means more people will live. If I get this wrong though and I don’t manage to convince you, then more people are going to die. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a bald fat guys head, but here goes.

Nothing new

So, I was under pressure, but it’s nothing new. Every time one of us passes on a piece of harm reduction information or advice, every time we speak at a conference, on a training day or even just have 2 minutes with someone in a needle programme we should remember this pressure. What we say and the way we say it matters.

That 2 minutes in the needle programme might just change someone’s life, you might convince someone that change is possible, or give them the knowledge to help a friend who is overdosing.

So take some time to make sure you know what you should say and get good at saying it.

Writer: Nigel Brunsdon

Nigel Brunsdon is the owner of Injecting Advice. He’s been working in harm reduction since the 1990’s, previously a frontline needle programme worker he now splits his time between photography and developing online resources for drugs workers and users.

Nigel Brunsdon

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