Speaking in public



“If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives”, is a quote I have strongly believed in and have always admired people who were very adept at the art of public speaking. There have been instances where I have come across individuals who appeared ordinary at first glance, but given a podium their entire personality underwent a dramatic change suddenly turning into a marvelous speaker whom the gathering listened to in rapt attention.

Incidentally, I have not had enormous opportunities to engage in public speaking and do not know how good or bad a job I would have made out of it. I am a decent speaker in private but there have been certain occasions when I had to speak in front of a congregation and have found that it is not a very easy thing to do. In order to overcome the fear of speaking in public, I have devised my own ways which have led me to successfully handle such situations with considerate ease and would like to share these with you all.

The first task is to be very well prepared on the topic of discussion. No matter how unknown a topic might be, if one makes use of the time at hand, one can with extensive research be very well prepared on it given the tools like search engines and libraries available these days. After the topic is well known, then comes practice. One should repeatedly practice the speech which is to be delivered. It shall be of help if one practices in front of a mirror and practices out loud as if one is speaking to a live audience. As public speaking is a skill and not a talent one can hone one’s skill by repeatedly practicing till one has gained enough confidence to face the audience. One important thing to remember while preparing the speech is that the opening and closing are the most important parts of the presentation and should be practiced till near perfection as the opening helps you get the attention of those present and the ending is what you leave them with after you finish your speech. Also, it does help if one can give the impression that one is speaking from the heart and being oneself. This is not very easy to do but can be done if one is very thorough with the text and has had enough practice.

Mark Twain has said “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech”, this I hope makes very clear the need for consistent practice. Lastly, an important thing which helps in controlling nerves is to have deep breaths before and during the presentation. It additionally adds power and strength to one’s voice.

In today’s world it is really an advantage if one is good at public speaking and just like any skill it can be acquired. If I can, anybody can provided one follows the right path of going about it.