Alia Hurst Interview
Alia Hurst is a student alum of Fillmore Central High School in Nebraska. She placed first in Public Speaking at the 2018 National Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Alia agreed to sit down with FBLA NLC Social Media Ambassador Olivia Sis to discuss her experience competing in Public Speaking.
Why did you choose to compete in Public Speaking?
I felt like since I competed in Introduction to Public Speaking my sophomore year and qualified to NLC, I would try it again my senior year.
Would you describe how the event works?
The event is split up into an “intro” event for freshman and sophomores, and the regular “public speaking” event for juniors and seniors. For my speech, the time limit was 5 minutes and you were required to incorporate one or more of the FBLA goals. The individual could write about personal growth, FBLA involvement, or anything that helped them personally relate to the goal of their choosing.
Which of the FBLA goals did you shape your speech around and why?
The goal I used for my speech was, “Facilitate the transition from school to work.” I felt that this was an excellent choice because I was about to graduate high school and move on to college and different job opportunities in my future. I also felt that I had done a lot of career preparation through FBLA that would ease my own personal transition to the workforce.
How did you prepare to compete in Public Speaking at the National Leadership Conference?
I actually completely rewrote my whole entire speech a couple of weeks before the national tournament. I felt like it was missing something. My FBLA chapter holds an NLC preparation practice day every year which takes place a little over a week before departure for the conference. My advisor brought in two panels of judges to critique the members of our chapter who qualified. Besides this, practice, practice and more practice every day leading up to NLC. Practicing in the hotel, in my downtime, and to my other chapter members.
Did you have any prior experience in public speaking, FBLA or otherwise? If so, did it enhance your confidence or equip you will the skills you needed to succeed in this event?
Yes, I have been an active participant on my high school's speech team since my freshman year, so I felt like I had prior confidence from that. As I previously mentioned, I competed in Intro to Public Speaking during my sophomore year. I also competed in Sales Presentation my junior year and got 5th at SLC.
What do you feel is most important when it comes to competing in this event: the content of the speech, your public speaking skills, or another aspect?
I think the most important part of this event is the reason as to why you’re doing it. I give all of the credit of achievements and past and future successes to FBLA. If I hadn’t won Intro to Public Speaking at SLC my sophomore year, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Make sure to have a clear, personal reason as to why you are choosing that specific goal, writing this particular speech, and apart of this amazing organization.
What have you gained from competing in Public Speaking?
I have the skills necessary to network and communicate my ideas across to people and future employers and business professionals. I have made so many friendships from this event, from finals in my two years as a participant. I have also gained a great amount of self-confidence that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.
Are you able to utilize the skills you gained from this event in your life now that you’ve graduated high school?
Yes, I participate in college speech so I am able to use my public speaking skills every single weekend when I compete. This year I qualified to the national tournament in Alabama where I placed in the top 24 out of over 150 competitors in my event. I have also been able to use these skills when presenting in class for group or individual projects. Also, I have used these skills from just simple networking at my bank teller job and waitressing at a restaurant.
What kind of FBLA members would you recommend for this event?
Anyone. You don’t need to meet certain criteria to compete in this event. When I started this, I didn’t have any self-confidence and did not believe that I could accomplish something at this feat. If someone is willing to write a speech and stand in front of a crowd, sign them up.
What advice would you give to FBLA members competing in this event?
Be yourself and be original. Everyone has their own thing that makes them memorable. Just be you and be honest. It might take a couple of tries and some trial and error, but if you keep working and pushing at your goal, you can achieve anything.
Thank you Alia!