There is often a preconception that once we become adults we should have everything “held down” and mastered, however this may not always be the case. Even as adults, it is important to have a supportive environment where we can struggle, learn, and grow with our peers.
I had the opportunity to participate in the last two sessions of the adult speakers Confident Communications mini-course, and I wanted to share my experience with you all. Right off the bat, the environment was extremely supportive and welcoming. I joined during the second half of the mini course and I felt very welcomed. I am also typically very shy and nervous when it comes to performing experimental activities within groups, but everyone offered a lot of support and guidance throughout the process. The structure of the sessions made it really easy to absorb and apply the information being taught. We would ease into class by socializing until everyone arrived, and we then would move into “lecture” where our guest speaker would teach us about their specialization. After thorough and informative slideshows we would go into breakout rooms to practice what we have learned through engaging activities. We would then recap at the end of our classes to discuss our findings, insights, and epiphanies to seal in our newly built skills.
For starters, I’ve always been really interested in comedy and executing it in a proper manner, so the “Connect Through Comedy” session was really helpful for me as I am embarking my 2020 summer stand up phase. Here, we learned about the importance of knowing how to use comedy in our everyday and professional lives to maximize our storytelling skills through the CROW method (an acronym for Character, Relationship, Objective, and Where/Why). We learned about the importance of delivery and the importance of the arcs of our stories. We then had a fun activity called “speaking of..” in which we were put into break out rooms, given a topic, and told to share a story while others had to spontenaeously step in with the phrase “speaking of” to tell their own stories. Once we regrouped, it was funny to see how all groups started off with one topic but then ended off at a completely random topic. This was definitely the highlight of my day, it was so funny and there were so many creative juices flowing! This information didn’t exist within a comedic vacuum, rather our lesson plan really incorporated the importance of storytelling and how comedy greatly relies on this aspect in order to be effective. I walked away with a new understanding that it is better to specify, highlight relatable factors of a story, connect to your audience, bring the emotional point home in a lighter way, and have a good order / sequence when delivering your story in order to make it comedic.
In the second session, “Leaving a Lasting Impression” we joined Cristy Kountz in learning how to summon our confidence through embracing our superpowers, modeling connections, and repurposing our silences. We had homework from our prior session that we dove into at the start of class as we split into breakout rooms. Here we were prompted to share a problem we wanted to resolve or a conversation we want to have with someone using the crow method (from our last class). During this time, I noticed that we built a very supportive environment where everyone was very respectful and vulnerable with one another. We then came back as a class to dive into the development of strong listening skills and the importance of using empathy during our public speaking interactions. In the end, we gathered all we learned and revisited our monologues to see how we could develop effective methods and deliveries to leave an impression on others in hopes to express our needs and resolve our problems. This session definitely helped me be more at ease and prepared for the next time I have to have a serious conversation with someone.
Something I really enjoyed from both sessions is the constant reassurance that you were doing great. Before they even get into providing constructive feedback the instructors and participants make sure to highlight what you are doing well. This is really helpful, we are so quick to focus on the negative / bad things but by highlighting our strengths first we are given a sense of encouragement that can help us view what we need to improve in a hopeful light. (This method can be seen throughout all of The Practice Space programs as well!) Overall, It was a helpful program where adults could attend during the evening after a long day of work and responsibilities. If you are an adult and want to practice your public speaking skills, this is the course for you! Navigate to our websites “services” ribbon and click on our summer camps to learn about how you can enroll in this program. In the meantime, remember to keep calm and adult on!