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Find your inner confidence…
Standing as a school representative, Zachary tells a group of Year 10 students how “honourable and valuable” the “Speak Out” Challenge! is. Having progressed from a shy, underconfident student, he feels empowered to share advice from his own experience of the “Speak Out” Challenge! Addressing this year’s group, Zachary encourages participants to find their inner confidence – which is key – and to forget about judgement.
One year ago, Zachary took part in the “Speak Out” Challenge! workshop at his school. In front of his peers and teachers, he spoke about being transgender. “I talked about my experiences,” he said, “and how people need to change their views about those who are different.” The workshop allowed him to express himself in an environment where openness was encouraged and judgement was absent. This gave Zachary the confidence to feel undeterred by what others may be thinking.
Zachary bravely decided to share a personal story and subsequently encouraged this year’s group to do the same. “I suggested they make their topics personal so that audiences could connect with them.” Talking about something private gave Zachary a confidence boost, which in turn helped him gain some control over the anxiety he often felt at school. Telling personal stories, he believes, will help others find self-confidence too.
Last year, Zachary progressed to his Regional Final competition where he spoke about mental health. He will develop a second speech on this topic at the “Speak Out” Challenge! alumni workshop in February. He plans to discuss how people with mental health issues are no different and they shouldn’t have to deal with negative associations. The alumni workshop will be an opportunity for past “Speak Out” Regional Finalists to receive Speakers Trust Level Two training. Zachary is eager to build on existing skills and to speak in greater depth about mental health.
Taking on the role of “Speak Out” Challenge! representative was important to Zachary because he wanted this year’s group to feel the benefits that he had: greater confidence, less anxiety and more desire to participate in class. “The jump from Year 9 to Year 10 is so extreme”, Zachary explains, “and teachers just expect you to be confident and to take on leadership roles.” Zachary thinks that this kind of training helps students to prepare for the latter years of school and beyond.
Inspired by the “Speak Out” Challenge!, Zachary is interested in pursuing a career training students in schools. Based on his performance as a school representative and his impressive speaking skills, we think this is a well-suited choice.
Zachary’s top tip: Don’t rehearse your speech word from word. Improvisation makes it relatable.