TEDx Coach Offers Free Public Speaking Strategies to YSU Students 

By Madison Nalbach

Kymberlee Weil, an award-winning speech strategist, taught students at Youngstown State University how to tell their story using five key elements at a lecture Sept. 4 in the Williamson Hall Auditorium.

Weil has coached over 100 speakers globally, teaching them what it takes to tell a story through lecturing.

Weil said she discovered her drive for coaching people about creative storytelling at a young age.

“I have pretty much spoken all over the world, and I have had a passion for speaking and storytelling since I was a little girl,” Weil said. “I have an athletic background, so in sports I was usually always the one who had the microphone.”

According to Weil, there are five key elements to complete any story: setting, snap, struggle, shift and success. 

The setting describes where they are and the snap is the moment in time when something changes, which then leads into the struggle. 

The shift happens when there is an insight and a decision-making process, resulting in the end result of success.

Weil said a well-told story connects the speaker to the audience, cements ideas and brings lessons to life. 

“I’ve been a student of story for many years and working with speakers all over the globe with high-stake short-formed talks,” Weil said. “These are like TED-style talks and other talks where everything is on the line. You don’t have an hour to tell a story, you have minutes, even seconds in some cases.”

Students created their own stories with various engaging exercises during the lecture to build a connection with the audience around them.

After completing the various activities, students left with the ability to tell a story of their own.

Adam Earnheardt, chair of the Department of Communication, said it is important for students to learn Weil’s coaching techniques so they can develop their own story along with making connections with other students.

“It forces you to think about how we tell stories, how we talk about ourselves and how we brand ourselves regardless of what you’re doing,” said Earnheardt.

Earnheardt said bringing together the Williamson College of Business Administration and the Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication created an opportunity for students to come together and advance their communication skills.

“Anytime we can co-host an event like this with the art department, communications, the Williamson College of Business and other places across campus, it gets more people involved,” Earnheardt said. “More people get to hear and get to learn great strategies to become better communicators.”

Hannah Thomas, a junior business administration major, said, “Creating a story is something great that everyone has that chance to have, and it gives you the ability to make connections with people.”

Weil coached the speakers attending the TEDxYoungstown event on Sept. 7 at the DeYor Performing Arts Center. She worked with the speakers on developing content for the performance and delivery of their presentation.