Anjali just signed up for The Speaker’s Society. She gets an email welcoming her to the group. Inside the email has a link to the Zoom Classroom and the date and times for classes.
Anjali can choose which class time works best for her. She usually does the evening class but she has a presentation to give this afternoon so she decides to take the morning class and get warmed up before her big meeting.
Once logged in Anjali is greeted by the facilitator, Anthony. She’s dressed professionally because she’s heading to the office, but the room is full of all types of people in different attire depending on their professions and lifestyle.
- The session starts with the facilitator, Anthony going over the rules:
- Use appropriate language
- Be respectful to yourself and others
- If at any time you feel uncomfortable and need to stop you may do so, no reasons needed
- Sit quietly and applaud loudly. We are applauding attempts not victories
- Have fun!
Next Anthony does some vocal, breathing, and confidence warm ups to get Anjali and the group in the right mindset.
After warm ups Anthony informs the group they will move to two person activities. The class is then broken up into pairs. Anjali is moved to a breakout room with her partner Lorianne, an engineer from upstate New York. The two practice conversation drills. Lorianne is very comfortable in conversation, but this is where Anjali struggles. Lorianne is supportive and the two have a good time getting through the challenging exercise of repeating the last thing said and adding to it. Anjali loves this exercise because she uses it on her co-workers and they never notice, they just think she’s a great listener. She wasn’t always, but she’s seeing herself get better at it.
The room closes and everyone comes back to the main classroom. Anthony invites each member to come up and play a speech game. This is an impromptu speech with a fun challenge. He calls on Anjali. Her face suddenly appears front and center on the Zoom call. She can feel her heart pounding in her chest. Anthony’s voice comes through her earbuds. “It’s okay you got this. Tell us about something you love, but from the point of view of someone who hates it.”
Anjali shares her love, well now, hatred of ice cream sundaes. She laments over the toppings and warns the audience of the dangers of metal spoons. It’s emotionally charged, dynamic and pretty funny.
Positive notes and challenges
Anjali is met with applause and a note from Anthony, “You had lots of energy and I could really see your emotions come out. I want to give you the challenge of yelling everything in your next speech. I really want to get you comfortable being too loud”. This feels doable and clear for Anjali. She likes this kind of feedback because it tells her what she can do to get better instead of being told to not do this or not do that. She never quite figured out how to NOT do something.
Anjali watched as another member, Russ, came up to give a speech. Russ was very new and his speech was just an impromptu speech with side coaching. Side coaching is when the facilitator gives feedback during the speech. Russ began to speak, “Hi, um, my name is Russ, um, I live in Denver with my roommate, um Mikey.” Anthony starts to side coach. “Take a deep breath, relax and take a breath between your sentences. You’re doing great”. Anthony is encouraging as he gives Russ a doable note. Russ takes a deep breath. “I have a job interview tomorrow (breathes) . I’m excited to get my own place soon.”
Russ finishes his speech and at the end of the class Anthony invites everyone to share something positive they liked about someone else’s speech. “I loved that part about the spoons Anjali!”, says Lorianne. Anjali like’s this part a lot because it feels supportive and caring.
Everyone says goodbye and Anjali closes her laptop. She heads off to her meeting feeling more confident and excited to present to her group.