Reshma Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code, an organization that helps young women pursue careers in computing fields. The former deputy public advocate for New York City and a candidate for Congress, Saujani gave many talks to the voting public.
Toss the script and be yourself
“When I first ran for office, I thought commanding a room meant sounding perfect. I’d write my speech, memorize it and put it in my pocket like a security blanket. I thought I was impressing people—but I wasn’t moving them. I had to learn how to just talk, how to be authentic. That’s why I can move a room now. What people are attracted to is vulnerability. I share a lot of pain.”
Feel the room—literally
“I touch the furniture before I talk. It makes me feel very present, grounded.”
“I was told by a speaking coach to picture the room in pink and gold, and that works for me.”
Chat with people before you start
“Before I present, I talk to people and ask, ‘Why are you here?’ It gives me a sense of what people’s moods are. Talking to them also lets me use their names in my speech: ‘Jenny just told me X ...’ Then Jenny is listening, and the people around her are, too.”
Related: How to Command a Room
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