Friday, I conducted a workshop at the Live Out Loud Youth Summit. My workshop was Dream IT! Mission Possible! Anytime that you are doing a speaking engagement there is certain preparation that you go through. First, I thought I was doing the workshop focused on youth taking action in their community. I was all prepared, that is what Girl Scouts is all about. Then I realized that I wasn't doing that workshop and then I went into a slight panic of what I was going to do and say. I was googling the subject. Pulling down pictures for the powerpoint presentation and then I stopped the madness. I went back to the lesson Dr Dennis Kimbro taught me when he was here in Grand Rapids for one of the Minority Business programs for the chamber. I was the chair of the minority business committee and we had Dr Kimbro as our speaker. I had to give two speeches that day. Talk about minority business in Grand Rapids and then thank Ron Hall for his work in leading MMBDC. Of course, I had not prepared any speech ahead of time. Early that morning, I had asked my friend Marcus J Gray to write a few things for me to say. I mean, he was the Regional SBC Advocate for small businesses. By lunch time with a sold out crowd of over 500 people, I had my two speeches in hand. I was sitting next to Dr Kimbro and was rehearsing my speeches and had 5 minutes to go to the podium. Dr Kimbro took the speeches out of my hand and said," I did not need them". Yes, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I swear my heart was about to come out of my chest and I was going to pass out. He looked at me and said, "You don't need this. It is better when it comes from the heart." He then gave me back my speeches. I went up and delivered two speeches from the heart. Of course, I had the papers in front of me, but I didn't just read the paper. I flowed from what I knew. My sister told me that was the best speech I had ever done. I am known for getting nervous and just speaking fast when I talked. That lesson taught me in that moment ... to relax and just let it flow from the heart. When you know what you know, just let it flow from the heart. Every since that day, I do just that. I don't need a powerpoint and a speech on paper. Sometimes, I do use a index card with a few notes and I don't get nervous. I pray about it and I let it flow.
This lesson has helped me give impromptu talks on assigned topics in toastmasters. It helped delivered the message to the youth that afternoon at the summit. I could flow with what they needed to hear that afternoon on how to Dream It! Mission Possible! How to dream now for their future and how to pursue their dreams. I could just 'freeflow', because the information was something that I knew and I could deliver it from the heart. The lesson Dr. Dennis Kimbro taught me that day will be with me for a lifetime. It will always center me and focus me for any speaking engagement. Thank you, Dr. Kimbro!
Mary C Hartfield