In 2004, I started a Confidence Class for middle school girls in my community at the request of a mother. Her daughter would get nervous when she stood in class to speak. This year I offered another class . We meet for 8 weeks to learn confident public speaking. Last week we met for public speaking Confidence class number five. It was so much fun. For the first time I decided to bring in an image consultant, Beryl Wing, who is President of The Image Authority. Beryl taught the students about grooming and dressing for the audience. Dressing for the audience was not something they ever considered. Ms. Wing chose a couple of volunteers to do a color analysis. She took her color samples and draped them around their necks to determine their most flattering color palette. One girl was a winter and the other was a spring. The contrast was dramatic and they all had a good eye. The students realized that it's not about which color you like but which color likes you.
During the last half of the class we discussed impromptu speaking. First, they learned a template to organize their thoughts. Then, they each wrote an opinion question on an index card. After reading the question, they chose someone to answer with their opinion using the organizational structure. It was amazing to see the transformation. The structure for impromptu speaking enabled them to speak with confidence and clarity. One parent wanted to use the template for herself.
Public speaking is taught too late, if at all. It impacts one's image and can facilitate or block career mobility. Presentations are not just about the words. The visual appearance, vocal quality, and verbal content must be aligned. Confidence results from a good self image and from developing skills. Good public speaking skills are paving the way to a confident self image for these girls. Check out Gravitas for Girls.