Last fall iLEAP was the featured organization at the Tuesday night Greendrinks. Antioch was the host organization for the event and the whole first floor of Antioch was packed with folks interested in the environment and social change. Just the kind of people who may be interested in iLEAP’s programs and Antioch’s classes.
At about the half way point in the evening, the President of Antioch managed to quiet the crowd introducing herself and Antioch to the overflowing room. Then there was the call for Britt Yamamoto, iLEAP’s Executive Director, to come and introduce iLEAP, the featured beneficiary organization of the event.
Britt was no where to be found. And yet this was a wonderful opportunity to introduce iLEAP to all of these Greendrinkers. Here I was, the co-founder of iLEAP and the President of the Board, just a few yards from the microphone. I could have easily made my way forward and given a short talk. But I didn’t make a move. I froze.
Fortunately the MC with the microphone knew enough about iLEAP to give a basic introduction about the organization. But I have often thought about that moment and why I did not step up and talk about this organization which I have given so much of myself to help create and build. I believe I froze because I did not have a clear story to tell. I knew my story, and I knew iLEAP’s story, but at that moment I couldn’t speak simply and clearly about the part of my story which connected to iLEAP’s story, and how iLEAP’s story connected to the world. I could talk about iLEAP conversationally to a single person, but when the opportunity came to connect iLEAP with a room full of people, I was woefully unprepared.
Think for a moment about an organization you are associated with that you really believe in. You love the mission and the work of the organization. You support the organization in some way, maybe you even work for the organization. The organization could be iLEAP or another organization Now put yourself in my situation the night I froze. The person called to speak about the organization is not around and you are the best person present to say a few words. How would you handle it? Would you be prepared?
I came a across a short video today which was part of a class by Marshall Ganz, a lecturer on public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Its just a few minutes of a longer class, but it helped me to think about how I might share with a room full of folks about iLEAP the next time the opportunity arises. Click here to view. Perhaps it will help you to think about your story and how it connects with iLEAP and how you see iLEAP connecting with the world. Then when your chance comes you will be ready to grab that microphone and bring that crowd into the fold.