This weekend I was at the University of Warwick, leading a workshop on public speaking for the 2018 interns on the Youth For Sewa platform. These dynamic individuals are at the start of their journeys, ready to challenge their perceptions and beliefs, pushing their boundaries and striving to flourish as individuals.
My workshop led them through exploring their own passions and interests to discover what Sewa means to them and channelling that inner voice to find the real reasons behind the stories they want to share.
The most engaging part of any speaking workshop is Impromptu speaking, being asked to speak on the spot, mostly without subject matter, the request to sometimes simply make stuff up! This is not always easy at first, but always fun to get involved with. Shaking off those barriers, that fear of not knowing what to say or perhaps saying the wrong thing. I love #coaching this session, explaining that this room, under my supervision, is a safe and encouraging environment, where you cannot make mistakes, where you can really try and test out different methods.
Public speaking isn’t a prescription, it’s about a journey and finding out what works for you; I really enjoy helping individuals to step out of their comfort zones, to be bold and to be brave and to confidently take the stage. These skills develop you not only in impromptu speaking situations but in general life too; being able to effectively communicate in the reactions and interactions with people, friends and colleagues and in impromptu situations all around us all the time. The workshop provided plenty of opportunities to get involved. A friend from a workshop last year, let all the delegates know here, that if you do not volunteer yourself, then Sumit will be picking on you, I humbly request immersion, get involved to reap the benefits!
There were lots of laughs and giggles, especially through the eye contact exercise, I ask my mentees to stare at each other for a minute, this is always a pleasure to watch, as individuals cycle through emotions, glancing away or blinking excessively. We learn multiple lessons here. Firstly, that things are uncomfortable, sometimes weird or complex situations do arise, or are just difficult to do. Through practice and a calm mind, we can get over these obstacles. Also, learning to be able to give people eye contact, it’s important to let your audience feel like, whilst they are paying you attention, that they too are also being paid this attention, that whilst they are focused on you, you are graceful enough to have a focus on them.
We curated the beginnings of what their polished speeches will look like, some were bold enough to give us their opening lines. Once they come back from their 6-week internships, I am sure they will have many a story to tell. Discovering their personal messages and crafting that into a presentation will be something amazing to see, I look forward to their return and helping them on their public speaking journeys further.
Youth For Sewa is a 6-week, unpaid summer internship programme offered by Sewa International UK & National Hindu Students Forum, focusing on self-development through the service of underprivileged communities. It is an opportunity for young adults to contribute their time to a larger movement of serving humanity. Please read more and support them on http://www.youthforsewa.org.uk
Special thanks to all the contributors, supporters, organisers, mentors, mentees and team.