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24 June 2015

My Public Speaking Experience

During school, college and service I never participated in any Group Discussion or stage program. Therefore, I never knew what stage fear or stage phobia was.

Our school has a weekly "Parents View" program in the assembly. Around four years ago, I l received a call from the Principal of our school to come to the "Parents View" talk the next morning. He asked me to speak to the group. The month of Ramzan month was going on so the Principal suggested I speak about Ramzan.

After the call my whole body became feverish and panicky. The time between his call to the next morning was just like fourteen years of exile for Lord Rama. The whole night, I could not sleep. Many negative thoughts were coming. One of them was to call the Principal, with regret, and tell him that I could not come.

Finally, I gathered some courage. I thought, if I miss this opportunity, surely, the school will never invite me again to any of their programs. So, I decided to go and speak. I reached the school in time. Before my turn came, my whole body was trembling. When my turn came and I started speaking, my legs started vibrating, my heartbeat increased and my mouth went dry. I wasn't even able to read the written speech properly. I was not aware of where I was standing and what I was reading. That was the day when I realized my biggest weakness: Public Speaking.

After my speech, I met with the Principal and explained what happened to me. He told me that this happens to everyone. These symptoms are very common. Even great Speakers faced the same things when they started. He suggested that I come again the next week. I prepared a topic of talk for the next occasion. I practiced my presentation throughout the week from my notes.

This time I was somewhat comfortable but not confident. Afterwards, I met with the Principal again and told him about the improvements I felt I had made. He was kind enough to invite me again, but this time to give a presentation for the teachers. For around one month, I prepared and practiced for my presentation on Motivation. This time I was feeling comfortable. I gave the presentation and it was appreciated by the Principal as well as the teachers because they knew where I started from. They encouraged and praised my efforts.

After a few months, our school organized a Principal's Conference wherein 120 Principals participated. Our Principal was kind enough to invite me as a guest Speaker. I prepared and practiced for this Presentation day and night. My topic of the talk was Relationships. With the grace of God, this went very well and was appreciated by the audience.

After delivering this presentation successfully, I became more confident. I said to myself, "If I can speak in front of such a learned audience, like Principals' who educate others, I can now speak in front of others too."

I started giving presentations in my plant, especially for GETs/ DETs, on various topics like Self Motivation, Personality Development, Personal Excellence, SpokenEnglish and Presentation Skills. Now I always look forward for the opportunity to give presentations.This has become a passion for me.

I learned that everything is possible if we have courage to take the First Step. The saying goes: A journey of thousand miles begins with first step. Take a risk to take that first step.

©B.K. Mansury

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