Melissa Ruiz is no stranger to the stage. From community theatre and competitive dance to first runner-up at Miss New Jersey and, most recently, the TEDx stage, Melissa knows the value of connecting with an audience. She has her Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University and worked in higher education for almost 10 years before transitioning to public speaking. Now, she helps leaders in their fields get over their fear of public speaking to create a bigger impact through her signature online course Show and Tell with Mel. She lives in NYC, loves pizza and her 95-pound dog, Gus.
Melissa believes the US school system did us a disservice. Our first exposure to public speaking was likely Show and Tell in Kindergarten. We went through school with assignments to speak but were never taught things like how to handle nerves, organize content, and what to do with our hands! Then, in college, if you went and if you were interested, maybe there was a public speaking course. And then as adults, we still combat nerves, can’t organize our thoughts, or simply avoid being the center of attention altogether. Melissa created Show and Tell with Mel because there is another way. We can manage our state of mind and understand our nervousness, we can create content that is important to us and our audience, we can connect and engage with our audience and create welcoming communities.
Have an answer to your nightmare question. Most times, if you have fear or self-doubt when it comes to public speaking, it’s because of some made-up story that we are not smart enough to be in the room, to be on the stage. So if there was a question that someone could ask you that would stump you, prepare the answer. What is the worst possible question you could get? Prepare and practice the answer. Chances are it will never happen. But you have given your brain a chance to calm the eff down. There is no need to stress over a highly unlikely situation.