Friday, October 12, 2007

Say What?

Do you enjoy public speaking? Do you shy away from it like the plague? Are you like me and thrive on speaking to an audience and engaging others in a cause? I love public speaking. I enjoy sharing about Heroes for Children, the story of Allie and Taylor, and the works we are doing.

This morning, I got to attend a make up session for the Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program at the Center for Nonprofit Management to complete my certificate. This morning's topic? You guessed it--communicating effectively. Public speaking was one component of this mornings three hour session, as well as effectively communicating your mission throughout all you do. Presented by Jan Langbein, the Executive Director of the Genesis Women's Shelter, the session focused on finding our voice for the greater good we serve. I was rivoted.

Now, battered women is not my cause, but after today, I feel compelled to get involved. That is how effective at communicating her message Ms. Langbein is. Did you know that a woman is battered every 12 seconds? After hearing her emphasize this point more than once, I not only know this, but I will remember this statistic for some time. Every 12 seconds a woman is battered. Her message so inspired me this morning. Do I utilize every opportunity to share the mission of Heroes for Children? Do I leave someone impassioned to make a difference for a family affected by childhood cancer? Can I communicate the history, mission, and vision of Heroes for Children in a clear and concise manner? I believe I do as best as I can, but I know that I need to continue to refine this skill.

My favorite exercise of the day was discussing how our words can be interpreted based on our intonation, body language, and the perception of others. 8% of what we communicate is actually what we say. The other 92% is how we say it. Our exercise took this sentence


Now try it--say this sentence with the emphasis on I. I didn't say you stole that purse. Someone said you stole it, but not me.

Try with the emphasis on you--I didn't say YOU stole that purse. Oh, I said someone stole it, but I didn't say it was you.

For kicks, let's try it with it on that--I didn't say you stole THAT purse. You definitely stole something.

Same words, different delivery. Changes it entirely. Seriously, can I tell you this was the highlight of my week? I was so engaged in this activity! Loved it!

I left this session ready for my next speech and opportunity to share Heroes for Children with the same passion, precision, and dedication of Jan Langbein. What an amazing woman. Thank you, Ms. Langbein for filling my cup this morning. Thank you for your dedication to bring safety and sheltered to battered women in Dallas, and for your relentless advocacy of your cause. You're an inspiration in the nonprofit community.


Anonymous said...

As your fellow former teacher, you knows I love me an audience! I think most people who were good teachers and/or loved teaching really enjoy that element - a captive audience! :) I had the opportunity to do a few public speeches back in the day about Friends of Allie for LLS, and I loved it. It also helps for grad school presentations and class - I have to really monitor myself that I don't speak TOO much.

It's so good to hear you all fired up again. :) I think you do a FANTASTIC job promoting HFC, but I'm sure additional training and professional development can always help. Sounds like a neat conference!

christy said...

While there is ALWAYS room for improvement Jenny, I think you're probably one of the best public speakers I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. Your cause is so close to your heart that I think you could move mountains when you talk about Allie or HFC, or any child with cancer for that matter.

Glad you enjoyed your class!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great class and you got a lot out of it!

It's true about how we communicate verbally is insignificant compared to our body language, voice inflections and so on.

I remember going to a seminar on sexual harassment, where they used the phrase "You smell good" as an example.

They said the phrase multiple times with different emphasis and asked us to raise our hand when we thought the comment warranted sexual harassment. I raised my hand like many others about half the time. Definitely a gray area.

Anyway, I love your blog, have been following you for three years, and posted a link to your blog on my own blog. I hope that's okay, I'm new to blogging myself and not sure always about blogging etiquette.

Also, I LOVED the birthday invitation.