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Preparing the Future – Speaking in Public

I had my first speaking engagement this past Sunday! I was extremely nervous and have been for the past few weeks. What if I didn’t provide them with the right amount of information, what if I rambled on and on, what if the presentation messes up? There were so many concerns I had over the past week, my stomach was in knots!

AUM Foundation Pathway 2 Success Program, ran by Alka Bhargav, is an amazing foundation that I was introduced to in December. You can find out more about AUM at www.aumfoundationusa.org and their AUM Foundation Facebook Page


Mission: To empower and support under-resourced female high school students for success.
Vision:  Women who complete this program will be economically independent and socially responsible.

There was a group of 17 young ladies who are seniors in high school. They were given a class on etiquette in dining and workplace situations by Ms. Lori Gregory and workplace fashion and how to be prepared for an interview options by me!

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AUM Foundation works with these girls from July – June helping them prepare for their future. They provide them with job shadowing opportunities, a personal mentor who meets with them once a week, and different classes to help them on their journey to being a young professional and adult in the workplace and different life lessons in general.

I was so happy to find out about everything that AUM provides for the young ladies and applied to become a mentor for the next year.

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Ms. Lori did an amazing job with teaching the ladies and one of the things I loved that she said was, “Etiquette is more than having the correct place setting”. This is so true! As “adults” we might not think about it anymore because it is just what we do, but we became better because we continued to practice the things we were being taught. This can go for anything we are constantly doing in our lives.

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She spoke on great conversations when sitting around a table or mingling with others, introducing yourself, the correct way to hold your utensils and where they go on the place mat. She provided them with a lovely light breakfast to test their skills and the ladies were so wonderful during the entire day. They asked questions about sending emails correctly and responding to their teachers or mentors, what is the proper way to excuse yourself from the table, how to ask opened ended questions. They were intrigued and ready to practice the skills she provided to them. It was really amazing. The mentors also added information to help the ladies on situations they’ve been in previously or had someone they know go through. All of the networking advice got me excited to get up and speak!

Then it was my turn! Yikes! I figured the girls would love to talk about fashion, the different types of clothing that is and is not appropriate for the workplace, and where to find different options. Ms. Alka and Ms. Lori invited me to go get some clothing for the girls to be able to look through and take home at the end of the day as well, which I mean who turns down shopping?

 

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I gave the ladies tips on making sure they prepare for their interview the day before by laying out the clothing and practicing their interview questions. Also, looking up the company and having questions to ask the interviewer. We discussed different clothing for different body types, how to accessorize your look, and all of the fun things. When speaking to the ladies, I wanted to make sure they understood that it is already difficult for women to be taken seriously in the workplace and we have to make sure we are putting our skills and experiences forward.

One of the main points I stressed to the ladies is that we don’t want them to lose who they are in the workplace. Wear a pop of color, everything doesn’t have to be a business suit, making sure your skirt was an appropriate length.  wear comfortable shoes – you never know if the interviewer is going to show you around the office or business during an interview, how adding a scarf can be your pop of fashion.

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Alka Bhargav, Lori Gregory, Me, and Colleen Buckner

To finish the day we all went to a local restaurant Grille 29 for lunch, the ladies practiced their dining etiquette skills, we talked with the mentors, and had a wonderful time. I want to thank Kristina for introducing me to Alka and the AUM Foundation, Ms. Lori for also teaching me a few etiquette lessons I didn’t know, Ms. Colleen for being so gracious and wonderful, the mentors who jumped in with great advice and suggestions, and, of course, all of the young ladies. Everyone was warm and welcoming, even though this was a small speaking function, for me, it was perfect. They made me at ease about speaking to them and making it feel like we were just having a conversation.

Please check out their site to see how you can find out more about AUM Foundation, I’m excited to continue working with the entire foundation!


Thanks for reading this blog post, I know it’s not my normal information on what to do in the workplace and it’s super long, but I couldn’t wait to share the experience of my first speaking engagement and this foundation with my readers. This foundation has touched a place in my heart and hope this blog post has done the same for you.

Speaking can be scary, but having the right audience makes a world of a difference.

Thank you!

Until Next Time …

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