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Guild Community Spotlight: Richard Reilly and Allyson Every

Throughout the month of August (and the first week of September), we’ll be learning about one of the key ingredients that makes Guild School special: our faculty! Check out the blog each week for interviews with instructors and inside information about their Fall Term courses.


Taught by Rick Reilly and Allyson Every

Main purpose of the class: Develop skills to effectively connect with audiences and convey your message

Who should take it: Anyone who wants to be more confident in their speaking and presentation skills

Course style: Participatory



What are some things people might remember about you?

Rick Reilly is a mediator/arbitrator who has worked in the US, UK, and China. He has also held a number of performing roles, including in Shakespeare productions in China and as Santa Claus every winter.

Since first attending Guild classes as a young union steward from the Boston Globe, Allyson Every has viewed this School as the heart of the Guild. She’s been a union president/chief negotiator representing 1400 editorial and business workers, a manager and

writer in several industries. Zero Santa gigs, but did Portia’s speech from Merchant of Venice on stage (okay, she was 11.)


How did you come to teach a class on public speaking?

Rick: “I gave a lot of speeches and was unconventional in it.” As he was traveling around and speaking, Rick also heard many other people’s presentations. “You see what others are doing and you use it; good speaking doesn’t just happen, it comes from listening and watching, and it comes from experience.”

Allyson: “Rick asked me. This is our third time at bat. Watching our students move from mild-to-severe public speaking anxiety, to confidently and clearly presenting their viewpoint…Well, it’s awesome and energizing to witness firsthand.”


How are you approaching this class?

Rick: “You have to figure out the answer to this question—’How do you connect with people so that they have to listen?’ When you’re talking, you want them to become engaged. If you give them rhetoric they don’t listen and don’t remember. You have to practice and be willing to fail. A real benefit of the Guild is people feel happy there. There’s no pressure. The biggest pressure we have is going up to the podium.”

Allyson:  “Rick carries the major load as lead teacher. My focus is encouraging—sometimes coaching— students, and helping them shape persuasive messages that can influence people.  As Herb Cohen put it: ‘If you want to persuade people, show them the immediate relevance and value of what you’re saying in terms of meeting their needs and desires.'”


What would you tell students who are thinking about taking this class?

Rick: “You all have a voice here.”

Allyson: “This class will help you grow your skills and confidence.”

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