Meet Simran (the Public Speaker)
Published on 07.19.2021
Meet Simran, one of our latest public speaking success stories! Blogger Alison Hartzler guides us through an interview with her.
Simran, now a Winning Feather Public Speaking course graduate, shines brightly amongst her family and fellow fifth graders. What one might see as tiresome or boring, Simran sees as an opportunity. When others are confronted with a problem, she recognizes a challenge to be tackled. Simran not only experiences the best life has to offer, she invites her friends and family along for the ride.
Established in 1976, the Forsyth-Cumming Optimist Club Rising Student is awarded to a child exhibiting all the traits of their optimistic creed. This organization is dedicated to uplifting their community and recognizing traits they see as invaluable in society, such as optimism.
In May, Simran competed in a public speaking contest in Forsyth County, Georgia. It was during this competition that her teacher recognized Simran’s optimistic spirit and persuasive attitude that has been glowing in her from the start. Because of this, her teacher nominated Simran for this award. Over hundreds of applicants, Simran was chosen.
I had the opportunity to sit with Simran and ask her what she thinks led to this award and how Winning Feathers has made a difference in her life.
Simran explained how her teacher saw the frustration in class after meeting online everyday for over a year. While that was draining for nearly everyone (probably especially her teacher), Simran remained a constant ray of optimism and enthusiasm.
“I miss seeing my friends everyday, and having to sit in front of a computer for hours is hard, but I try to see the positive side and look for the small moments, like getting a good grade on a test or seeing my friends succeed.”
When I asked if she noticed any changes in behavior and habits since joining the Winning Feathers team, Simran said that before, she would be quite unsure and anxious when forced to think on her feet and speak to an audience. Now, after completing all four levels of Winning Feathers Public Speaking course, she faces those challenges with confidence and clarity.
“Coach Taylor taught me to not only perform with poise, but also how to use hand gestures to enforce my points and encourage persuasion.”
She realized that her words had the power to draw emotions from her audience; she could make them feel encouraged, exhilarated, or even enraged if she so chose (However here at Winning Feathers, we hope she uses her power for good).
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
I asked Simran what her favorite topics were to speak about.
“I love speaking about issues I see in the world. I want to inform people and encourage them to take action.”
She won’t shy away from topics like poverty, the environment, or bullying but instead face them head on to encourage others to care and take action themselves. She understands that as a 5th grader, her ability to make a difference is limited. Therefore she will seize any opportunity she can to make a difference and she sees public speaking as a great way to accomplish this.
CONFIDENCE IS KEY
I asked Simran if she noticed her new speaking skills merging with her everyday life. One of the biggest ways, she replied, was the new confidence she felt in her classes.
“Before, even when I didn’t know the answer, I would be too afraid to raise my hand. Now, even when no one else is answering, I can raise my hand and ask questions with confidence.”
Simran went on to say that Winning Feather’s level 4 course, Persuasive Speaking, has proved very useful when participating in debates with her class. She seems much more equipped to articulate her thoughts with clarity and competence. By practicing the art of public speaking, Simran has learned how valuable her thoughts and feelings are and the power they hold.
I asked Simran if she still gets nervous when speaking in front of her classmates or for an audience. She said yes, and she probably always will be. However, the “fake it till you make it” idea seems to work wonders. Coach Taylor taught Simran that confidence is key.
“If you go up on stage thinking that this is going to be scary and hard, your audience will hear that in your speech. But if you decide you are going to be confident and passionate about your topic, your audience will see that.”
Simran said starting is the hardest part, but once she’s up on stage speaking about topics she is passionate about, her fears seem to drift away.
Simran suggested that for those who are afraid to go up on stage and speak, breathing and confidence is key.
“Be excited about your topic and don’t feel like you have to rush through your speech.”
She also pointed out that the hand gestures Coach Taylor taught her work really well to get her point across and keep her audience interested.
Part of the optimistic creed of which this award is based, explains those in possession must exhibit strength unto oneself, empowerment onto one’s community, and expect the best from yourself and from those around you.
Even in my short conversation with Simran, I could see how her optimistic spirit dazzles her friends and family. In line with the Forsyth-Cumming Optimist Club Rising Student award, Simran said the best word to describe her was, in fact, “Optimistic.”
While I could see this clearly when she spoke about finding the positive even in the hardest of times, what stood out most, and what I found to best exhibit this creed, was when she explained her dedication to remain true to herself and stand-up for what she believes in, even if that means standing alone.
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