Walk-the-Walk, Self Talk-the-Talk

by Engager Jen Glantz

The truth is, none of us are ever fully prepared for anything that we do. We can spend hours, days, even months practicing for something and still feel as though we aren’t ready. One of the greatest lessons learned in improv is that all you need to do, sometimes, to succeed and have fun, is just simply show-up.

While I agree that is a daring and very bold first step, the real trick to making it through something we might be scared, at first, to do, starts way before we enter the room to give a presentation, to take an improv class, or to just have a sticky conversation with say our boss. It starts with the self-talk, or pep talk, we give ourselves beforehand.

I remember a few years ago, I was about to walk into a job interview and felt so nervous that I could feel my body tell me, through jitters and stress-sweat, that it wasn’t feeling confident about what was going to happen. So I let my mind listen to my body and all of a sudden I told myself that I wasn’t good enough for the job I was interviewing and the person interviewing me would notice that instantly. I practically stuck my resume in the trash and walked out at that point, but before I could make that motion, they called me to begin. I didn’t do well on that interview and I didn’t get the job. Looking back now, it wasn’t because I didn’t have enough work experience or knowledge, it was because I didn’t walk-the-walk, or talk-the-self talk beforehand.

This happens a lot. We show up to an Improv class, an interview, or just to a new experience that scares us more than anything else, and we talk ourselves out of it. Our body language adapts and before we know it, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

After that memorable (for not a good reason) job interview was over, I promised myself that before I did anything I wasn’t feeling confident about again, that I would trick myself into thinking that I was. That I would arrive early, find a quiet space where I could be alone, and positive pep-talk myself into believing, really and truly believing, that what I was about to experience was something I was worthy of and something I would enjoy.

I use this method every single time it’s my turn to start an Improv scene or even teach an Improv class. I hope you’ll try it too.

New Video! When to Walk Away

Sometimes conversations just need to be ended – do you know when? Maybe you feel it in your gut, and haven’t been able to just get the confidence to walk away. Or maybe you feel like you’re just a rude and impatient person – guess what? You aren’t. Some conversations just weren’t meant to be.

Meet Our Team: Magalie Yacinthe

magsWe are so grateful to our newest hire, Magalie Yacinthe, who is keeping the Admin side of EE afloat while Erin Moncada is on maternity leave! Magalie is a kickass business owner who is heavily involved in her community, and also working on her first novel!

What is your role at The Engaging Educator? Administrative Assistant.

Where are you from and how did you make it to WInston Salem? Born in Nassau, Bahamas; raised in Miami, FL. Work & family brought me to Winston. The arts & entrepreneurial spirit kept me in Winston.

When did you first start to love Improv? April 2016, which is when I met Jen and was fully exposed to the world of Improv.

What is something you want to Improv(e) on? I want to improv(e) on my love life!

Where is your favorite place in the city? Carolina’s Vineyards & Hops

What’s a not-so-secret skill you have? Event planning & execution

“AaahhhOOOgah” makes me feel free… like I just want to jump up and down and run around

“Yes, and” to Wine, Brunch, Lazy Days!

How to Survive 2017 as a Woman

by Engager Olive Persimmon

“I work in a male-dominant industry and sometimes in meetings they talk over me. I have to fight to get my ideas heard,” a vice-president at a large bank said to me.

“When I don’t say anything, they tell me I ‘need to be more assertive’ and when I’m assertive, they tell me I’m being too aggressive or bitchy.”

“Some of the other women I work with are catty, they try to put me down to make themselves look good.”

“My boss told me to smile more. Another colleague said I need to smile less because people might think I’m being flirtatious. Now I’m obsessively thinking about if I’m smiling at the right times.”

These are all comments I heard while teaching a women’s program for a client in the finance industry. Unfortunately, comments like this come up all the time. I wish I could say these were anomalies but I’ve taught women’s programs for three years and I keep hearing the same responses. Again and again. Women who are taught to play small. Women who feel uncomfortable voicing their opinions. Women worried about being too much of something (too assertive, too passive, too tall, too small, too whatever…)

One of my most memorable comments came from a younger professional named Chelsea, “I’m 6’1 and my boss is intimidated by my height. He always makes snide comments about it. Is it okay to try to make myself smaller in his presence so he’s not as threatened?” For me, it was a heartbreaking comment because it represented how women are taught to shrink to accommodate.

I thought about my answer for a second because I knew what I was about to say would be important to Chelsea. I looked at her and carefully said, “No, it’s not okay to shrink. His insecurity is not your problem.”

Mic drop.

It’s been a huge part of my life’s work to help women find their voices and stop playing small. I am incredibly lucky to work for a company that supports this mission. The Engaging Educator was not only founded by a badass woman, it hosts a whole staff of amazingly talented women. As a testimony of our commitment, I received an email from my boss on November 9th, the day after we didn’t elect the first female president. She told us that we were going to give away some free seats in our women’s workshops. This was our way of contributing to all the women who felt powerless and defeated post-election.

I was so excited! Another Engager, Minna Taylor and I had been designing women’s programs for years. I planned an amazing curriculum with improv-based exercises for this new class. We’d work on taking up space and using the full force of our voices. We had exercises for dealing with aggressive counterparts, exercises that addressed thoughts & behaviors that were holding us back. I carefully crafted and designed this program thinking about all of the comments I had heard over the past several years. Then I waited.

No one signed up. Not one single woman. Even though many of the seats were 100% ABSOLUTELY FREE. Finally, deep in my despair, ONE lone, brave woman registered for the workshop.
I was beyond disappointed. I teach storytelling, public speaking, presentation skills, and improv for professionals. They ALWAYS have students. This absolutely free and critically important class failed to draw students.

Perhaps it was a marketing failure on our part, I don’t know. Maybe, it’s just one more example of women not putting themselves first because it seemed selfish or unimportant to take the time to learn how to be comfortable being a woman. Maybe there were good specials at the bar. Maybe the ladies were too busy running their own companies. I have no idea. Despite this, we’re still offering free spots in ALL of our classes for women because we believe it’s THAT important.

I went to the Women’s March in January and was so excited to see so many men and women coming together, actively. It was incredible to see people fighting for their rights and the rights of other people. I know that the fighting isn’t going to stop. We’re going to have to keep fighting the next four years and maybe eight years beyond that. Maybe fifteen years beyond that.

Give yourself some tools to help you fight. Come to class. Invest in yourself.

Women’s Classes (Free spots available to students in need or who work with/for women-focused organizations. Drop us a line for more info!):
– February 21st
March 23rd
April 4th

How to SHOW You Listen

by Founder Jen Oleniczak Brown

Man, listening is tough. When I set out to work on these videos, I shot them in one day, and immediately realized I had content for DAYS. In this installment, I’m focusing on one way to show you listen – and it isn’t immediately going into a personal story about the same topic (I’m looking at YOU, people that do this!)

Enjoy!

How to Start Listening Better!

We’re back with another video tip – and this week, we’re starting a 4-part series on listening and conversation.

Check out how to start listening better. Hint: Stop thinking about dinner. =)