Today, at noon, I’m giving a presentation to a group of Fellows on public speaking. I’ll talk a lot tomorrow about tactics. About writing out every word of a speech by hand your first few times to make sure the words live in your head. About standing on one foot and wiggling before you go on stage to knock some of the tension out of your breathing muscles. About talking to your audience before you speak, so you share a vocabulary on the stand.
Last night I sent them these 5 videos. They reveal moments of connection where someone found the words and the listeners they needed to share a piece of themselves. That’s the best moment when I get to speak, when I get to say something I couldn’t get out without people listening. I think even the people most afraid of raising their voices want to be heard. These videos show 5 different ways to do it:
“She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried. And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.”–Sarah Kay