Monday, April 6, 2015

The Art of Being Unmistakable - Youth Summer Speech Program

Recently I picked up this interesting little book 'The Art of Being Unmistakable" the author Srinivas Rao, writes:
"The future belongs to the misfits?

Perhaps it always has.
It seems fitting that I'm writing this at Burning Man, a strange and alternative pop-up city that had to venture into the middle of nowhere - an ancient lakebed in the Nevada desert, known as playa - to bring itself into being near the end of every August.

  Each time I come here, to this world of portapotties, alkaline dust storms, sweltering days, freezing nights, and no Starbucks - I swear to myself, this is the last freaking time.  And yet there's a point when something in me shifts over and I know I will return.  How could I not? "Welcome home," Burners say as we reunite with each other on the playa, and it's true.  Even if you've never been here before, the playa calls you home."

In the last line, on page 130 of 'The Art of Being Unmistakable", the author says" It's the opportunity for a performance where you leave your heart on the stage."

So you read this powerful little book, it's everything you ever thought about?  It's the commonsense stuff your mother said, or your 4th grade teacher, yea!

Then you think about leaving your heart on the big stage, everyone has their idea of what their big stage is?  What about the art of being unmistakable?  How do you get there?

Each week when I enter the classrooms, for 1.5 hr sessions, I see that " opportunity for that performance, in those children "  They have that chance to be unmistakable.

  Maybe when your running that marathon 26.2 miles, at mile 16 you hit the wall, the lactic acid builds in your legs!  Thank god, a water stop, you walk, your legs burn, you want to quit?  You down some Gatorade, grab some cookies, sugar, sugar, you want to quit, your legs say quit, your brain says you trained and trained, it says no!  And the big stage is only 10.2 miles away, eke!  People along the way see your pain, they know, because they may have experienced the big stage, they feel your pain. They know about the big can change your life.

They know, soon you will arrive at the big stage, it's just like returning to the playa, it even has portapotties, thou this stage may have a Starbucks!  Your body is so tired, you have forgotten about the pain!  You have arrived - when you get it, it's so powerful!

It's so powerful, when you arrive!

Don't we all hit the wall?  Do you wonder what Albert Einstein's parents thought when at 9 years old his teacher said he would never amount to anything?  Do you wonder what he thought? What if that was your child?  What if it was you who wanted to break down the wall?  We know Albert Einstein's story, but how about the next kid, he may not have a 150+ IQ, he may not be smarter then the detractors, those who put up the wall!

 When Ronald Reagan said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  was it a different wall, not really, but in reality  it's the same wall that separates people from different freedom's.

Who builds the walls?  It could be you, me, educators, government, bosses, the kids in the school yard?  What if the wall was just in your mind?  Do you think Albert Einstein cared about the wall?  Why do people keep returning to the palya, maybe because they find answers.  How to climb the wall, how to get to the big stage?

My mission Youth Speaking to America, is about breaking down walls.  It's about giving students the chance to become someone.  So exactly what is the big stage?  Is it inventing the iPhone, scoring the touchdown that wins the Iron-bowl, or telling the world about The Theory of Relativity or acing that first big job interview?  You decide, what is your goal?

Youth Speaking to America is about teaching how to open your mind, not to ever believe that person who says you can't do that, your not smart enough?  Remember in teaching children there is no wall, like Walt Disney said " if you can dream it, you can do it" you can!

 Everyone can reach the big stage.  Your stage may be American Idol, teaching children, breaking down barriers like Nelson Mandela,  building Amazon ( Jeff Bezos ), or just a good parent, teaching values.  Remember you don't have to be rich, just be real!

Personally, I don't remember being told this stuff, I did stuff the hard way, because I lacked education.  The one thing I tell all the students, if you work hard, and be on time, someone will notice.  But if you build your own wall ( no education ) it's so much harder, I know!

If your a person who likes my ideas, see  what the children say:


Building a Toolbox

  • The vision board
  • Extemporaneous / impromptu speaking-called Table Topics (T T)
  • Your first speech - title: About Me 
  • Learning the art of speech evaluation
  • Each student will receive the  Youth Leadership Handbook 

The goals of each meeting:
  1. A fun way for your children to learn public speaking.
  2. Creating and learning how to answer those extemporaneous questions,  build speeches, present speeches and evaluate speeches.
  3. Lots of emphasis on the use of filler words, such as like, and,so, also overcoming the use of hums & ah's.
  4. The program is based on weekly participation, if possible. Becoming a good speaker is work and the more often the child speaks, the quicker their confidence will grow.
  5. Experience growth with guest speakers, evaluations by experienced speakers, and continuing mentor-ship.
  6. At each meeting the children actively participate in evaluating each other.
  7. This will be a continuing program.

Timing: each meeting will have an assigned timer
  • T T : up to 1 minute
  • Speeches: 2-3 minutes
  • Evaluations: up to 1 minute


Location: Hope Lutheran Church
Address:  1801 62nd Ave N. 
                St. Petersburg, Fl. 33702 - parking behind building on 18th St.
                                                            look for YSTA signs
Meeting time depends on how many students 10-12pm
Dates tentative: 
June 17 - 24 
July  1 - 8 - 15 - 22 - 29
Aug.  5
Aug.  6  Graduation / Speech Contest -- families are invited  5:30 - 8pm        727-455-7337

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