1. She told an inspiring story about how her grandfather wanted to go to college. He ran out of 'cotton money' after the first year. Asked how others could afford the college and found out that if he wanted to have college paid for like the others, he would need a scholarship – which he got. It was an inside look into her history, a personal story from her own life that made her real, approachable, and inspiring.
2. She courageously shared opinions without being brash. You know how some people are so opinionated that it's a real turn off? Not so with Condoleezza. She had a way of stating her opinion, knowing that not everyone agreed with her, without being loud, or aggressive about it. What I realized was, she wasn't trying to convince us of seeing things her way, she was just sharing her thoughts. Made me think that if I wanted to have people be open to seeing things differently, I shouldn't focus on the convincing, I should just focus on what I know for sure.
3. Her Q and A was inspiring. She told us at the beginning that she would be open to questions so get ready. She also said that if no one asked any questions, she would not hesitate to call on people! Her delivery was so easy going, you almost forgot she was addressing 5000 people! There was no shortage of questions, either. People asked her about Benghazi, immigration reform, charter schools and what's next for her. Each question that was asked, she gave thought provoking answers that were so articulate, it was as if she had prepared her answers ahead of time. We know that wasn't possible, so what gives? I think she just knows her stuff. And, she knows a lot of stuff!
What I learned from watching this brilliant woman was to be confident in what I know, tell a compelling story to open my audience up to me, and do not be afraid of Q and A.
From your inspired to do more Q and A motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman