Public speaking and the power of courage

Yeonmi Park presenting

Public speaking and presenting is not a skill that most of us are taught and it’s certainly not something most people enjoy doing; for many the very idea of it fills them with dread.

Despite our personal anxieties most of us only have to update the board or management team, give a quarterly update, impress a client or inspire our team. As simple as that may sound a vast number of people all over the world will tell you that it’s not easy if you haven’t been trained and it takes a great deal of courage.

In October 2014 a young lady called Yeonmi Park found the courage, grace and spirit to tell the world of the atrocities she had faced living in North Korea. She didn’t have a product to sell, an update to give or a team to reassure; she had a poignant message to share with the entire world. Every time I listen to her speak she connects with me in a way that challenges every fibre of my intellect, heart and comprehension of what human beings are capable of doing to each other. I’m connected through empathy, anger, heartbreak, disbelief and above all astonishment and pride that a young woman could find the courage and composure to tell us all about ‘the darkest place in the world’.

At Mindful Presenter we believe that ‘connecting is everything’ and every element of our presentation training courses and public speaking coaching revolves around helping people to make that connection. Most people reading this article will thankfully never have to summon the courage to make such a speech which of course is a blessing. Yeonmi Park did and she is an example and inspiration to the world of how important it is to not only have and value our voice but to find the courage to use it to make a difference.

Most of us will never have to tell the world:

“We aren’t free to sing, say, wear or think what we want”

“I was abducted at birth”

“I saw my friend’s mother publicly executed. Her crime? Watching a Hollywood movie.”

“I saw my mother raped”

“70 percent of North Korean women and teenage girls are being victimized and sometimes sold for as a little as 200 dollars.”

“We were prepared to kill ourselves.”

“I thought nobody in this world cared.”

Can you imagine the courage it took to relive those experiences and to retell them whilst so full of pain that you can barely speak. Yeonmi Park did exactly that but she went much further she didn’t just bring a harrowing tale to the attention of the world. She also brought a call to action and told us exactly what we need to do.

“One, as you care yourself, you can raise awareness about human crisis in North Korea.

Two, help and support North Korean refugees who are trying to escape for freedom.

Three, petition China to stop repatriation.”

For me she is the epitome of courage not just for young people all over the world but for all of us.

The next time you’re feeling a little anxious about making that sales pitch, updating your management team or presenting to clients and you need a little courage draw on the indomitable strength Yeonmi Park gave to the world in just 8 minutes.

Watch the video here:

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If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.

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