Tuesday, August 5, 2014
by Alyssa Zirkman, Intern
Like any other YES Institute event, I got so much more than I bargained for when I attended Speakers Night. I thought I would simply work on facilitating Community Dialogues. When I left I was filled with even more love for people. It fueled my passion to make a difference on the topics of gender and orientation and become a YES Institute facilitator.
I stood in front of six other people as well as two coaches and practiced, for the first time, the role of a YES Institute facilitator. I was nervous and I was struggling to let the audience guide the conversation. At first, I felt that I was able to "be with" my audience, as I responded to their fears and questions. I did have a tough time being authentic because I was more focused on saying the “right” thing. It was difficult for me to get out of my head and really listen to the audience’s concerns. After I finished my practice, I received great coaching from a room of YES staff and other people participating at Speakers Night.
Normally, criticism is something I do not handle well; I tend to block out the critiques. With my new communication tools I was open to listening to the coaching. A simple ten minutes of practice and feedback left me wanting more; I want to become the best facilitator I can be. People were really generous with me, and it was like they were right there with me, to support this new purpose.
Finally, I saw people practice sharing their personal stories to become a part of the YES Institute Speakers Bureau. Even though I had heard the stories before, all the triumph and loss touched my heart in a new way. It was clear to me that YES Institute really does help others find their voice. Pretty quickly, it was time to go. Three hours went by way too fast.
Since Speakers Night, I have tried to re-focus myself on being authentic everywhere in my life. I cannot wait to continue my facilitator practice and coaching and eventually facilitate a Community Dialogue.