Even Kids Can Speak to Influence

Actress Emma Stone had a goal to move to Hollywood and decided to convince her parents to move there. Listen to her in her own words: "When I was 14 -years-old, I made this PowerPoint presentation, and I invited my parents into my room and gave them popcorn. It was called 'Project Hollywood 2004' and it worked. I moved to L.A. in January of 2004," Stone remembers. While the idea of a child convincing her parents to move to LA, to achieve her dreams through  a PowerPoint presentation is far fetched, it actually worked. At age 15, Emma Stone left her home and  and flew out to L.A. with her mother for pilot season. After being rejected for eight  months, she finally won the role of Laurie Partridge on the VH1 remake of The Partridge Family. It was then that her parents were convinced they made the right decision.

Sounds incredible doesn't it? It goes to show you what a strong intention and a good presentation can accomplish. I think we wait too long to train people in presentation skills. Young people enter the job market not being adequately trained to interview or to present themselves and their ideas in the workplace. Yet, people who can demonstrate good presentation skills will have more job offers, more promotions, and make more money. Public speaking is not a luxury anymore for people who join debate teams or toastmasters. This is a critical skill for success.

In 2004, at the urging of a mother in my community, I started a confidence class for junior high girls. The mother was concerned that her daughter was very nervous when she had to speak in class. After she completed my class, she was able to put the skills to work.

Here's what her mother wrote: "My daughter was chosen to do a reading at a Mass before her entire school. They said she spoke beautifully-she was articulate and took her time. I know she was nervous but before your speech classes she would have bailed out of speaking but because of your speech classes she stepped up to the plate."

Another mother wrote: "My daughter was valedictorian and delivered a spectacular speech to an audience of 700.  So many people asked me where she learned the art of public speaking. I know that her foundation in public speaking can be attributed to you. It is because you taught her the skills and  gave her the confidence that she was able to go on to do great things."

So, influence comes with confidence and learning the skills of public speaking. It's never too early to start. And that's why I'll be starting another class in November for 8th grade girls. If every student learned this skill imagine the influence and impact they could have on the world.