Bettakultcha For Sail


The next event is due to set sail on January 24th and will be departing from The Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds at 7.30 pm.
There will be a crew of new presenters along with a couple of old sea dogs and the showboating will all be videoed again using several cameras.
Get your boarding passes (I mean tickets, don’t take this metaphor too literally) here and I look forward to welcoming you on board on January 24th!

It’s not about the money


Money is a medium of exchange but the map is not the territory.

Let me explain.

The other night we had a Bettakultcha event in the Basement of City Screen in York. It was to be our seventh event in York and Richard and myself were worried about the turnout: a week before the event we had just enough presenters to put on a show if Richard and me were in the line-up too. And no-one had bought any tickets yet.


BettaKultcha Base Camp – Free!

Base camp

Have you always wanted to present at Bettakultcha but felt you didn’t have enough confidence?

Or are you a regular presenter who wants to improve your skills?

Here at Bettakultcha we’re passionate about helping people to realise their potential so we’ve organised a feedback group to give presenters a chance to trial their talks before they go on the big stage.

Anyone wanting to run an idea past a group of seasoned BK goers can do so in a supportive atmosphere. You don’t need a fully formed presentation or all twenty slides – the idea behind the group is to encourage good presentations in whatever way we can. You can also come purely as an observer to pick up whatever tips you find useful.

We might have regular talks from experienced people giving hints and tips about all aspects of speaking (yeah, in the BK tradition we’re going to make this up as we go along).

The first meeting will be on Monday 15th December at Steelcase Solutions, 14 King Street (ground floor), Leeds LS1 2HL commencing at 6.30pm.

This initial meeting is free and we’re going to limit the numbers to twenty. If the demand is high enough we will organise subsequent meetings and adjust the structure to meet the needs of the attendees.

If you want to attend can you please fill in the form

In case we get inundated we might have to limit the number of check-out sessions.

What is a ‘sales pitch’?

Just like Fight Club, Bettakultcha has a number one rule: NO SALES PITCHES. As regulars to Bettakultcha know, everyone who attends an event fiercely observes the rule. We don’t vet any of the presentations beforehand so we rely absolutely on the common sense and integrity of the presenters. And as our presenters are audience members too, they are equally keen to keep the event as entertaining and informative as possible.

This strategy has worked well and no one has ever turned up trying to blatantly sell a product or service.

So far, so good.

Then, at one event a couple of years ago, someone ‘pitched’ a charity event that was to take place in Leeds. It was all for a good cause and no one made any money out of it etcetera but the feeling in the audience was that it was a ‘pitch’ in intent.

This had disturbing ramifications for the ‘no sales pitches’ rule. If charitable events were exempt, where would it end up – presentation after presentation for non-profit, good causes? Um, borrrring …

Then, at the recent Importance of Failure event (hey, this is so apposite!) Mark Shayler did a presentation about an organisation he’s involved with, The Do Lectures.

I knew of Do Lecturers from long before our event was planned and had enjoyed some of their videoed talks so when I eventually met Mark I invited him to speak and I was delighted when he accepted. I wasn’t sure what he was going to talk about as each presenter had an open brief about failure. Unfortunately, Mark wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience an actual Bettakultcha event before he spoke at one. I suspect this fact is critical in explaining what subsequently transpired.

Basically Mark describes a successful not-for-profit event (the Do lectures) that is then deliberately broken to produce something more interesting. In order to make this apparent reckless behaviour more dramatic, Mark emphasises the previous success of Do. I think it was this aspect that some people found to be a pitch especially as Mark is involved with the organisation.

Personally, I have no doubt that Mark told his story with genuine integrity and honesty (he’s heavily involved with Good for Nothing too) and I’m grateful that he took the time and trouble to present at Bettakultcha. However, my beliefs are irrelevant when it comes to an audience interpreting a message. What a speaker attempts to communicate needs to be measured against what the audience understands from the presentation. As several people mentioned to me afterwards that they thought Mark’s presentation came close to being a pitch I have to conclude that a misinterpretation had taken place somewhere in the communication – for whatever reason.

The question that this raises is ‘what is a sales pitch’? Perhaps Bettakultcha should just shorten the rule to ‘no pitches’? But would that resolve the issue? Should it be a rule that people can only present once they had attended an event so they can get a feel for the audience expectation?

As ever, this incident reminds us that the golden mantra of ‘it’s not about me, it’s about the audience’ should be repeated by all presenters before putting any kind of speech together.

I invite honest and respectful comments from our audience so that we can try to clarify the issue. Thanks.

Finding Bettakultcha Presenters

Poster graphicAt every event we try to impress on the audience that none of us would be here if it wasnt for the presenters they make the show the special occasion that it is.

This message must be failing to get through because recently we had to cancel a couple of gigs due to lack of presenters. Admittedly, there were other circumstances that exacerbated the situation (NB to self; dont organise events for August) but even with regular events in places weve visited before we sometimes have to ask particular people to fill presenter slots.

There must be a huge pool of interesting people who have fascinating stories to tell in every town and city so I can only imagine that our message of user-generated content at Bettakultcha events isnt getting through.

If it helps, look at it this way: your Bettakultcha presentation can be a gateway to other worlds since doing her Bettakultcha debut, Lydia Slack is now carving out a career in public speaking as well as doing stand-up on the comedy circuit. Kate Booth and Alison Pilling are both developing their stand-up comedy routines after going down so well at various Bettakultcha events. Practical experience from the Random Slide Challenge helped one quick thinking lady to clinch a job interview when the interviewers sprang a surprise improvised task on her. I myself was inspired to make an award-winning film that originated from a Bettakultcha presentation it really is that empowering. Has anyone else got a story they can share about a Bettakultcha presentation idea taking them to places that they never imagined?


In an effort to see if we can avoid future panics about presenter shortages weve decided to change the way in which events are organised. Instead of announcing a date and venue for a Bettakultcha event and then waiting for presenters to volunteer themselves, were going to list the towns and cities where we intend to hold an event and invite potential presenters to put their names down for any of those places before a date is announced.

Once a place has ten potential presenters on their list we will organise a date that will be in a few weeks time after the tenth person has added their name.

Of course, we realise that presenters wont know if they will be available for the date that we eventually announce but were guessing that the majority will be and so we should have a good handful of presenters confirmed from the off and people can still volunteer as we approach the date.

So, people can take an active role in the instigation of an event. Instead of asking us when the next Huddersfield event is for example, they can look at the Huddersfield list of potential presenters and if it shows nine presenters, they can add their own name and trigger the organisation of the event. More power to you people. Start thinking about your presentation now.

If you want to present add your name in the comments section putting the place name first, eg; YORK: Jane Bloggs.

Current towns are: YORK, HEBDEN BRIDGE & HUDDERSFIELD (we dont seem to have a problem with LEEDS which is why we announce a date first).

Pin It on Pinterest