JCI Journey: How Bev Increased Her Confidence

JCI Journey: How Bev Increased Her Confidence

February 5, 2018 9:30 am Published by Leave your thoughts

As part of our series of ‘JCI Journeys,’ we’re showcasing members who’ve achieved our 2018 slogan: Be a World Changer.

For this blog, we interviewed JCI Barnsley‘s 2018 President, the amazing Bev Mackfall. Bev shared her experiences with public speaking, and how JCI helped build her confidence.

Hello Bev! Do you have any early memories of public speaking?

At school, my confidence was always a bit hit and miss. I was confident when it came to academics – I would speak up in class, always happy to give answers. I fondly remember one Saturday morning drama class…we rehearsing for Sleeping Beauty and all of us had to think of a ‘gift’ our fairy character would give the princess on her birthday. I named several potential gifts and eventually the teacher told me I already answered (many times!) so I didn’t need to contribute more. I confidently announced that I intended to be the chief fairy bestowing the protection spell in reaction to Malificent, so she could give all my answers to other participants..!

In more social situations my confidence lacked, probably for a number of factors: fear, lack of experience, and concern over how I would be perceived.

Public speaking competition

Bev competing at JCI Yorkshire’s 2017 Public Speaking Competition

How did joining JCI improve your confidence?

Thanks to JCI, I was often inserting myself into unfamiliar situations – such as networking socials and training sessions – where having the confidence to speak to people (especially new people) would be a requirement!

I soon discovered that participation was the best way to get the most out of my membership, and that attending as many events as possible meant I would learn more skills. Piece by piece, I became more confident: confident in my time-keeping skills, prioritising skills, and people perception skills.

The JCI UK Public Speaking Academy was a big step. We spent a full weekend learning physical and mental skills to become better presenters. The key modules included breathing techniques, body language, and how to structure content. Throughout the Academy, we put the methods into practice with off-the-cuff speeches. Our final task was a lengthy presentation in front of a small audience.

Although a fantastic starting point, the Academy certainly wasn’t a quick fix. The following year I attended many JCI public speaking workshops (practice makes perfect!) as well as participating in the regional and national competitions for public speaking and extempore (improvisational speaking). In just a year, I’d progressed from reading from full script, to delivering two of those speeches with minimal prompt cards..!

You take out what you put in, and I knew that I needed to take ownership of my personal development. My growth in confidence is down to self-motivation and participation in JCI’s fantastic training sessions.

I’m still honing my public speaking skills, but that’s because I’m not yet at the end of my ‘JCI Journey.’ With JCI, there’s always chance to improve!

Extempore (improvisational speaking) workshop

Bev practicing improvisational speaking

Do you have any advice for new members?

Seize all the opportunities that JCI has to offer and see where it takes you! The journey may be daunting, but every training session takes place in a safe learning environment.

And remember: there’s also no such thing as failing, just waiting for success.

Bev, JCI Barnsley’s President 2018

Inspired by Bev’s JCI Journey?

For only £10 per month (£6 for full-time students) you can also get involved with our incredible development opportunities. Sign up for membership here or search for your nearest chamber via our handy directory.

If you’d like further information about Public Speaking Academy, please contact our 2018 Personal Development Director, Cheryl Hill.

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This post was written by Hannah Woodcock

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