university of Utah student Heather Bone recently com- peted in a cycling tour from San Francisco to Yorktown,
Va., to raise awareness for depression
and suicide. She brings an athlete’s
preparation to the podium every time
she gives a speech. But Heather says
speaking is not about winning competitions—she wants to inspire audiences
and leave her mark on the world, not
just the judge’s ballot.
What was the impact of your solo cy-
cling tour on your storytelling abilities?
My solo cycling tour gave me the
opportunity to speak to many different
individuals in very different situations
and environments. Since I have been
home, I have presented to youth
groups, religious gatherings, and com-
munity events about the “Love Your
Life” Project. This has helped me learn
to tailor my public speaking skills to
different situations that will best impact
my audience. Being able to tell stories
from my bike tour to move an audience
in a positive way has been an amazing
experience, and has upgraded my abili-
ties as a public speaker.
What are the biggest challenges in
connecting with younger audiences?
The biggest challenge is being authentic
Earl Nightingale Scholarship
while speaking on a topic so youth can
relate and connect. With my experience
speaking to younger audiences, I find
that telling stories with integrated les-
sons is better received than focusing on
complex facts and topics.
are there parallels between preparing
to compete in a sporting event and
preparing for a speech? How do you
get into game mode?
The way I prepare for a sporting event
is very similar to how I prepare for a
speaking engagement. Both require
visualization and focus. When compos-
ing a speech, I write it while visualizing
myself giving it in front of an audience.
This gives me the focus to write words
that are more authentic, powerful, and
tailored to that audience
and what will have the
greatest impact on them.
Before running a race, I
visualize myself crossing
the finish line with the time
that I want. This helps me
start the race with the
intention to finish strong.
Success begins with mind-
set before physical action.
SchooL: University of Utah
FocuS: Major: Communications Studies / Minor: Business