LLSP participants spent this afternoon learning about “Powerful Speaking for Powerful Women,” a class taught by Iesha Prime. Ms. Prime emphasized the importance of building our own voice in establishing our identity She stated that it is through the act of speaking that we convey powerful thoughts and stories to other people. Ms. Prime started this process of deeper self-discovery by asking each participant to voice a) what they each care about, b) their favorite quote, and c) sing a favorite song. This exercise helped participants speak in a passionate way, because a powerful speaker must be able to communicate in a way that makes people walk away caring about a cause: “There is a difference between delivering a speech and delivering a message.”
Next, Ms. Prime directed the students to mimic her body language, an imitation exercise designed to make the students understand how body language affects the way they communicate. She stressed how speaking in front of an audience means that the moment is not about you, but about the person you are talking to and that it is important to keep your body language impulses in check. Ms. Prime also worked with students one-on-one to deepen their breath, and she encouraged them to find strength in their voices: “If you don’t breathe deeply, that will affect your speech and the way you are perceived by who you are talking to.” Breathing is important for two reasons: a) to be in your own thoughts, and b) to be connected to Allah. She then worked with students on enunciation and articulation, teaching them to adjust and speak confidently under pressure, without ever forgetting the intention of their words.
Ms. Prime then conducted an exercise in which each participant “sold” an item to a specific audience, a way for the students to use their newly developed public speaking skills. Finally, she split the class into smaller groups of three, where two people argued extreme sides of an extremely sensitive or controversial topic, and one person acted as the TV host. Ms. Prime explained that as Muslim women leaders, the participants will eventually be asked questions about sensitive issues, and that the exercise would help them speak through the controversy with emotion, clarity and objectivity on the spot
Ms. Prime conducted an informative session on public speaking filled with useful tips, laughter and interactive exercises. The participants left the class with a deeper understanding of what they care about, as well as with the tools to convey the importance of their cause to the public.