Yesterday I listened in on a youth group discussion and was shocked to hear a guest panelist berate one of the attendees because of where she attended school. As she sat with slumped shoulders, the adults in the room were noticeably uncomfortable with what was said. I made a response which I am sure wasn’t appreciated, but nor did I appreciate the response of the guest panelist. Although I understand the point the guest panelist was trying to make, our points can be made without having to belittle someone else.
Whether you are a guest panelist or motivational speaker, it is important that you know who your audience is. Trying to keep it “real” to make valid points should not be done at the expense of devaluing someone else. When you understand your audience you become sensitive to the needs of your audience and this by no means takes away from the passion you have regarding the topic.
The attendee of the group discussion did not need to be berated about where she attended school. What she needed was encouragement and support on how to approach a challenge she was facing at her school. Thankfully another guest panelist responded to her original question and provided her some guidance.
We can feel very strongly about a topic but we also need to be able keep our cool when giving responses. We can’t inspire our youth by berating them. We inspire them by leaving a positive impression. It would be an impression that leads them to be encouraged that they can make a difference at whatever school they attend. The words we speak should uplift. So the next time you speak, watch the words you speak!