Bridging the “Confidence Gap” through Powerful Storytelling

Categorized as: , , , , , , , , , , & Tagged as: on April 28, 2018. Related Grantee: Resonate.


Resonate has empowered over 4000 women in East Africa with public speaking skills and self-confidence.

Editor’s Note: Our partner, Resonate, teaches women and girls in East Africa how to overcome fear and build self-confidence through the telling of their own unique stories. Learning to believe in themselves and overcome self-doubt and fear of failure has led over 4000 participants from over 50 Resonate partners to turn opportunity into action.

Effectively conveying an idea or information through the power of a well-told story has always been an integral part of the Skees Family Foundation. In fact, it’s in our mission statement! Read on to learn more on how telling your story in an authentic way can change the world (or your little corner of it).

By Sally Skees-Helly, Director and Board CFO

Women’s Stories and the MeToo Movement

With the #MeToo movement continuing to gain momentum, women are coming forward all over the world to tell their stories. From gender-based violence, to sexual harassment, to unequal pay, women (and men) are rising up and saying ENOUGH!

While challenging and dismantling the social structures that created the environments that tolerate the mistreatment of women by shining a light on them is a vital challenge, those stories are not the only stories to be told. Everyone has a story. And those stories can have the power to generate change. However, being able to tell your story is not an innate talent that comes easily to everyone.

Storytelling as a Social Enterprise

Enter Resonate, a social enterprise in East Africa who partners with groups providing skills and education and integrates their leadership and confidence-building workshops into the partners’ existing programming. Resonate’s flagship program, Storytelling for Leadership, uses storytelling as a tool to empower women to overcome their fears, build confidence, and nurture a belief in themselves to turn the opportunities they have into action for positive change in their lives and communities.

Liliane Nsengiyumva, Resonate staff and former participant

Throughout the world, many women and girls have the skills, resources, and education, but lack the self-confidence to turn opportunity into action. Founder Ayla Schlosser calls this the “confidence gap.” Helping women and girls overcome this gap by learning to speak up and speak out results in women taking on leadership roles, starting businesses, and advancing academically and professionally.

Through their programs, by the end of 2017, Resonate saw the following:

  • 38% have started businesses
  • 45% have taken on a leadership role
  • 24% have gotten a new job, promotion, or academic opportunity

How to Tell Your Authentic Story

We all sometimes lack the confidence to speak up and tell our stories. Perhaps if we had some strategies on how to convey our ideas and stories, we could overcome our own “confidence gap.” From a recent article in Forbes, here’s a few tips from Ayla to help you tell your story:

Be authentic: In a world full of constant communications, stories cut through the noise because they are sincere. The more honest and authentic you can be, the more your story will connect and inspire others.

Keep it short: Less is more when it comes to storytelling. Don’t be afraid to start in the middle, or to skip things. Try to really hone in on what the message is that you want to get across.

Be specific: Tell the story of a specific moment or event and let that be representative of a larger trend.

Show, don’t tell: One of the things that makes storytelling such an effective form of communication is that it engages our emotions. Yet too often we try to intellectualize and explain our stories, which actually diminishes their effectiveness.

Your story matters: Stories evoke empathy and tap into the fundamental experiences that we have as humans. If you’re telling an authentic and meaningful story, it will impact on those around you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your story doesn’t matter-it does, and we need you to share it.

As we make our way in the world, trying in whatever way our talents and opportunities take us to make our world a better place, perhaps having the courage to share our stories and the empathy to listen to others’ stories, will create positive change we couldn’t anticipate.

Photographs obtained from Resonate’s Facebook Page.

LEARN more about Resonate’s work to empower women to tell their stories here.

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DONATE directly to Resonate here.

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