Preparing for Opportunities
As Seattle Promise Ambassadors you are championing both the program and yourself. This is a fantastic opportunity, both to get experience as a public spokesperson, but also to begin building your personal brand and developing your own personal story.
Here are a few tips and reminders to help you present your experiences with Promise in a way that is compelling, powerful, but most of all true to your life - this is your story, and you are the most qualified person to tell it! But to tell the best version of your story, you should already start thinking about what you want to say, and how you’re going to say it.
Telling Your Story
In most public speaking engagements, you’ll have a limited amount of time to speak, and an even more limited time to grab peoples’ attention, so it’s important to plan ahead about what you’re going to say, and how you’re going to say it.
Here are some general guidelines to consider:
- A good story starts with something interesting that will catch the audience’s attention!
- A good story feels genuine, full of personal details.
- You don’t have to embellish the facts or exaggerate – you just have to tell the story with sincerity and conviction.
Imagine yourself giving your elevator pitch to someone, and they ask these questions – how would you answer?
- What is your best quality? What make you unique?
- What challenges have you had to overcome to get where you are today? Have you or someone you love had to make sacrifices? How did that affect your life?
- What are you studying in college? How do you hope to apply your college degree to your future? What sort of career do you hope to attain with your degree?
- How do you react to adversity? When life throws obstacles in your way, how do you conquer them?
- How has Promise affected your life? Would you have been able to attend college without Promise, and if so, what would have been different? If you would not have attended college without the Promise program, what do you think you would have done instead?
- Who has inspired you, motivated you, encouraged you to follow your dreams? Who is rooting for you to succeed?
As you consider your answers to these questions, take notes on what you want to say. This is the beginning of your story. When you think about what to say, think of the most crucial details – the things you feel people HAVE to know about you to understand you. Those details will form the heart of your personal narrative.
Follow these Dos
- Get your key message in early and often.
- Support your messages with proof points, facts, metaphors
- Have an opinion and point of view
- Use bridging to pivot out of a tough or off-target question (STAY POSITIVE)
- It's okay to say "I don't know" or ask to restate the question.
- Share only as much as you want to share. This is your story.
Things to Avoid
- Never lie.
- Avoid over-answering. It's okay to have a short answer.
- Don't bad mouth or talk "off record."
- Don't assume the interview is over until it's really over.
- Bright solid colors do well on camera. A blue for Seattle Colleges is nice if you have that.
- Avoid busy patterns, logos or word art (unless it is a Seattle Colleges logo)
- A clean, pressed collar shirt and a suit coat are nice, but gauge the type of interview if it feels too formal or stuffy.
Camera Angle and Lighting
- Make sure you have natural light or a light source in front of your camera/computer, so your face is well lit.
- Elevate your camera/computer so the lens is eye-level or just slightly above eye-level for the most flattering angle.
- Position your body in front of the camera/computer and look directly into the lens when speaking. If you have notes or prompts, place your reminders slightly above your camera lens so your eyes remain focused ahead when reading. If you'd like to use free teleprompter software such as speakflow.com to assist, practice using beforehand.
Speaking, Posture, and Eye Contact
- Test your microphone before the interview.
- Find a quite space where you can be heard and won’t be interrupted.
- Sit up straight, shoulders down and feet flat on the floor.
- Be careful not to lean into the camera too much, keep approx. 2-3 ft of distance.
- Speak confidently and naturally. Practice in the mirror and with your set-up in place and camera on.
- Smile 😊 and breathe. You are a pro.