Life @ U of T

Introduction

Speaking to Power: An Event Dedicated to Effective Communication

Speaking to Power: An Event Dedicated to Effective Communication

“FIVE RULES TO WRITING: Don’t think. Keep your hand moving. Don’t censor. Write the worst crap possible. You don’t have to share.”

When I entered the room for last week’s Speaking to Power event, this was the first thing I noticed written on the board. These were rules dedicated to expressing yourself in your own personal writing to understand how you feel and what you need. This event, hosted by Accessibility Services, was about understanding your needs and how to confidently disclose them with others.

I am generally confident in communicating with others in many situations, but I often struggle when I am not familiar with my surroundings and end up disclosing too much to professors regarding my needs. This was my first major event related to accessibility and I was excited to learn new tips and tricks to share with others, which I am doing today!

The first part of the workshop was led by Ronna Bloom who used poetry and writing prompts to help us connect to our emotions and feelings. The guests gathered at tables that connected and faced each other to share ideas, if comfortable. No matter what, we had to write whatever came to mind, especially the raw feelings.

We shared that we often don’t want to cause trouble when asking for help, we don’t want to be shamed, and we compare ourselves to others. As we shared our ideas, we resonated with them, discovered our vulnerability, and emphasized that we are all trying our best. At this moment, we started raising sticky notes that said “Same” every time we related to someone’s statements. They went up often.

Paper, pens, and a sticky note with the word "Same" on it
Handouts I received during the event and the “Same” sticky note I used

I shared one statement. What do I need at this moment? “I need to believe myself.”

Writing these blogs has helped me share many of my journeys and learning in my everyday life. I have written tips for managing stress, setting myself up for success, and more. However, I often do not follow what I say. I needed to discover these feelings; I really did.

The second part of the workshop was dedicated to undergraduate students. It was focused on my rights as a student, things to consider when talking to professors, how to make a request for accommodations and understanding when things go wrong. I recently wrote about how to talk to professors, but this workshop also made me realize that sometimes professors don’t fully understand situations or do not need all the details about my situation.

Photo of a screen in a room with tables
The workshop was in a room with tables aligned in a “U” shape to ease the conversation

All in all, I learned many new skills that I can use every day. I often forget how many events and opportunities there are on campus that help teach us how to manage our life, and this one I definitely needed. I got to relate to other students and share my vulnerability.

In these upcoming weeks, Accessibility Services will be assisting students with the upcoming exam period, such as through the Preparing for Exams workshop on Tuesday, November 19th. Attending these events has helped me a lot, and I hope to see you then!

0 comments on “Speaking to Power: An Event Dedicated to Effective Communication

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*