There is often a huge misconception about really good communicators. Most people think that those fantastic communicators started out that way… that they were just naturally talented or gifted!? I hear it all the time, “That person must have been a natural speaker.” Or “He/She is just gifted.” Or how about, ” They were born that way!!” While they may be a great communicator now, I doubt they were born reciting Shakespeare. Each of the coaches we have have at Lasting Impact! started their speech and debate journey between the ages of 8-16. And they didn’t become a National Champion Speaker their first year. The point is, they all made a conscience decision to begin. Will you?
Jonah Neumann was eleven years old when he decided what he needed was speech and debate. You see, he had multiple learning issues including dysgraphia and dyslexia. He had recently graduated from his vision and speech therapy programs. He just spent two years on the side line, watching his older brother and sister grow in speech and debate. He didn’t want to be a part of this extra curricular event, but he knew instinctively he needed it. Fast forward to the end of his speech and debate career- he had multiple first place wins, he was in finals at Nationals three or four years in a row (in multiple events), he even tried debate. The point is- he started! Is he finished? No. But none of us are! He stretched himself and got out of his comfort zone.
Zach Davis was fifteen years old when a mentor/friend told him about speech and debate. Myles McLean, had competed for a number of years, and saw the benefits and effects on his life – educationally, as well spiritually. Myles saw what Zach could gain by joining. Quickly, Zach too, saw something his high school years was missing. “As an older competitor, I felt a little intimidated, most of my peers had been doing this for a number of years, and I had so much to learn!! I am so glad I had my two years of speech and debate, my confidence grew, the ability to communicate went on to a higher level, and I made so many friends. I am so glad I was willing to start the journey.” Zach graduated after two years of competing, and today he uses his communication skills daily in his job. He says, “it’s the skills I learned that now helps pay my rent.”
Lasting Impact! coach, Abbey Kish, feels the same way about starting the communication journey and brought it up on her blog, Lyceum Communications – https://lyceumcommunications.com Abbey says, “You don’t have to start out great to become great… Over the past eight years of being a communicator and public speaker, I have received many awards and championed many competitions. But it wasn’t always like that! When I started communicating I was young, awkward, and a terrible public speaker and critical thinker! When I first started competing in forensics, I thought that I would never be as good as all the people competing around me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. By the end of my time in competition, I had one two national champion titles.
I often think about what my life would have looked like if I had just given up when I realized I was no good. There are so many skills that would have gone undeveloped, so many incredible business opportunities lost, so many valuable relationships that would have never been created. I’m so glad I stayed determined.
I won’t lie, some of the most embarrassment, failure, and fear I have ever felt was during the time I was overcoming communication hurdles. I almost quit. And unfortunately, that’s what ends up happening to a lot people. They quit before they get good.
I’m here to tell you today that you don’t have to BE great to BECOME great! You’re allowed to fail and you’re allowed to look absolutely ridiculous at first. All of those times will make you better than you were before.
The only thing I ask is that you never stop. Never stop learning, never stop trying to better yourself, never stop when you feel like you have failed.
When you feel like you’ve hit a wall and you’re ready to walk away, reach out to me! I’ll share some of my embarrassing stories of all the times I’ve failed in public speaking over the years and encourage you to keep taking the next step.”
We, at Lasting Impact!, realize each and every student has a story. But every story has a beginning! The bottom line is being a good communicator takes work!! But you have to START! I say it all the time, putting my kids in speech and debate is the best thing we have done for them! Not all of them were happy about the decision to sign them up… but each of them grew in their own way! Learning to be a better communicator is a skill they will have for life! And if that makes me a mean parent, so be it! The power of communication can be in anyone’s grasp! Just remember, You Got This… cuz He’s Got You!