What would you do if you were asked to give your first speech at a gala, with the mayor in attendance, to an audience of 150?
Ruqaiyah Angeles stepped up. Her story, and the story of how Mission Bit changed her life lit a fire in her belly and wouldn’t allow for silence. Mission Bit is an organization located in San Francisco that provides free programming classes to kids who wouldn’t otherwise have access. [ www.missionbit.com ] I worked with the executive team and students as a public speaking coach in preparation for the gala. Together, we honed storytelling for the students and the organization. I learned they’d changed the trajectory of many lives, and to date, taught 3,800+ students. At their third annual gala, Ruqaiyah had the confidence of a seasoned speaker; you’d never guess this was her first speech. She stated, “I’m a woman, Muslim, and Filipina, and I know I’m a unicorn. And I want to lead the way for the next generation of tech leaders. I want to ensure that city kids become city workers. As a woman, I bring a different perspective to the table. I hope my presence inspires you to join me.” She had full command of the room. The audience leaned in, wanting to hear her words. Her story catapults the message, makes us think and feel, and reminds us of valuable ideas and concepts. Listeners see fragments of themselves. The gala began with the corporate mission and metrics then brought it to a granular level that made it real, palpable. We want to hear from many Ruqaiyahs. We want to see kids be the first in their families to graduate college and become more than they, or anyone else, ever envisioned. There is power in storytelling.
Most speakers don't need a large formal event to create the "fight or flight" panic that public speaking evokes
An inexperienced speaker, having confidence in front of a large audience, on stage, is nowhere near the “norm.” I work with C-levels who understand the importance of messaging, storytelling, and public speaking. Once their potential is unleashed, their messages are transformative for themselves, and their organizations.
It isn’t just the C-levels who want to improve; it is most workers. According to a Harris poll, 75%, who state speaking is critical in your careers, want to improve. You know it’s fundamental for advancement. It may seem an ominous task, yet it is achievable. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “All great speakers were bad at first.”
Let’s face it; not everyone is a Ruqaiyah. Yet, anyone can become a confident storyteller and communicator elevating yourself and your organization