When the Mind is Without Fear…. Of Rhetoric and Substance
Public speaking is a powerful professional skill. A master orator not only wins fans but also fast forwards his career. A case in point is the US President Barrack Obama, a master orator who can captivate millions of people with his power-packed speeches.
Yet in the UAE and elsewhere in the Middle East the power of rhetoric and public discourse remainsgrossly underestimated. Veryfeweducational and professional institutions actually train professionals to speak eloquently and confidently.
A flair for public speaking can actually land a professional in a win-win situation. He not only succeeds in a job interview, but is also regarded by the management as an asset to the company, often called upon to make presentations to clients, and address the audience from the podium during seminars and conferences.
The lack of public speaking skills on the other hand has disrupted careers and resulted in sleepless nights for many professionals. Studies show that the fear of being tongue-tied on stage is the most common of all phobias. Some people dread public speaking even more than death and some live with this fear throughout their lives.
The first step towards overcoming this fear is to go ahead and start speaking in front of others. The longer you wait, the greater your difficulty.So take the bull by its horns and deliver the speech that you have been preparing or give the presentation that your boss wants you to. You will see that it is hardly as difficult as you made it out to be. Better still join a local toastmasters club to hone your skills.
In your professional life, it is always advisable to move out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Similarly you can become a good speaker only if you believe you can. It is always important to shed pre-conceived notions and begin with a fresh mind.
Preparation is the key to success. If you prepare your speech well, your mode of delivery improves, so does you articulation, vocabulary and diction. Along with the speaking cultivating an attitude where you can take the brickbats with the bouquets is very important. People might be critical initially, but be confident and carry on.
Finally learn to catch the pulse of your audience and try to feel at ease with them. Last but not the least is perseverance – the art of public discourse is not cultivated in a day. So prepare, learn and practice and you will prosper soon.
Overcome stage-fright and get started immediately.
Prepare your speech well in advance to gain in confidence.
Learn to connect with your audience and persevere.
Mr. Sathya Menon is Executive Director, Academics, Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai