Public speaking is an art where the orator is the artist, his words being his color palette and the crowd being the canvas on which he paints on. Public speaking is any presentation given before a live audience with the aim of educating, entertaining, and influencing your listeners. We all know people who light up the room with their confidence and exuberance and become the talk of the town whenever they give any presentation or anchor for any event.
These people share a common trait of being great orators who leave their mark wherever they go and the words they speak resonate for the eons to come. In the time where this world grapples through this pandemic, a quote made by Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous last speech "I have a dream" seems to be in lieu with what mankind should look up to as he rightly puts "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."The art of public speaking is useful to people from all walks of life but is of paramount importance to a college student. To put it in simpler words a student is a brand who holds immense potential but does not have the right recognition and public speaking is one skill that makes it possible to market yourself and compete with the outer world. An oration is one of the best ways to get your message heard in a world where no one pays heed to the conventional.
People respect orators and it is because the fact that speaking before a crowd is a demonstration of your knowledge and expertise and college is a great forum to explore such avenues as public speaking is a great teacher in itself as the research and study that goes behind making is speech is indeed an enriching experience and the fact that you have to work on out how to communicate to others effectively makes you understand your content better and opens a plethora of avenues because it nurtures various intra-personal skills such as communication abilities, language skills, confidence and the ability to read and understand people. So as a student where you find it hard to make a penchant for yourself, the skill of being effective in communication, having the confidence and knowledge does give a lot of credibilities.
Students in college who develop a knack for public speaking reap the fruits of the skills as it helps in group discussions, personal interviews and allows them to make a difference in their life, career, and the community they live in as every speaking opportunity is an opportunity to grow in leadership and effective communication moreover it gives one to create a positive change in people's lives. Thereby public speaking is one evergreen trick that should always be up a college student's sleeve as this is what differentiates you from the workforce and helps vouch for support for your ideas and build strong self-worth and self-esteem.
Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking, unlike other phobias that may not directly affect your professional life, speech anxiety can be downright career-defining so instead of leaving your oratory success to chance what you need to do is take swift and prompt action. College life is a sabbatical where you can explore yourself and build your brand value and dreading public speaking is going to take you nowhere. So, getting started with introspection is the key to understanding the skills that you lack on and the areas that are your forte. The success rate of becoming a good public speaker is in proportion to the confidence you have. Working on soft skills like communication abilities, language skills, cognitive or emotional empathy will pave the way to reach your goal and as far as mastering any skill is concerned, taking professional help will be fruitful.
The importance of being good at business communication and public speaking can be gauged by the fact that top-notch universities provide certifiable courses that are pretty comprehensive these include flagship courses offered by the University of Washington, University of California, Irvine, and LinkedIn learning. Various online teaching platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and edX have dedicated courses to develop oratory skills and to overcome speech anxiety where students can learn at their own pace which makes them immensely popular amongst college students. Also, if we take cues from the qualities of a great orator, a lot can be learned by just observation.
As a public speaker having a connection with your audience is of paramount importance. The audience reaction is what drives an orator and sets the mood of the occasion. Therefore, to build a good rapport with the crowd an orator should start his speech with the end in his mind as this simplifies the purpose of the speech and prevents ideas from going haywire. Remember, telling personal stories is one of the strongest tools you have while anchoring or orating, this is what makes the audience stick to your words and these are easier to remember at the podium as they are your first-hand experiences and as any other skill practice will give perfection.
Being simple always helps in public speaking because the use of a hundred synonyms for the same word can flummox the audience leading to a fiasco. As you get into the grove of public speaking, you discover a confident version of yourself and slowly become someone whom people listen to. These qualities help you ace interviews and group discussions and on a lighter note earn you the discussion of being the life of the party. As you research for your speeches and practice, you become good at extempore and debate but as an orator, you will always realize what Dale Carnegie famously quoted, "There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave".
The opportunities that you have as a college student is similar to the contents of a Pandora’s Box, not all experiences you gain will be favorable, some will be bittersweet, some will be mellow while some will be jovial and satisfying. It is these experience that we have in the real world that shapes us confident adults and thereby exploring various opportunities that come your way to help you to build a diverse portfolio. As you become familiar with the art of public speaking, you realize that every opportunity presents itself with its own set of challenges and thereby end up being a great learning experience altogether. So, like any other art, the more avenues you are ready to explore the more you build as a proficient orator.
As your canvas is the audience, any occasion with a chance to speak or orate should definitely excite you. It can start with volunteering for small events in college as an anchor. Being an anchor is helpful to grow as a public speaker as you have definitely written set to speak and it is not a continuous declamation but it helps you to gauge the audience's mood and reaction. Furthermore, birds of the same feather flock together, gather people who are passionate about public speaking and oratory as you are, and set up a collage debate group where you can gather to discuss the recent happenings though it might not give you the crowd exposure it will surely help you to work on your speech writing skills which are of equal importance as the presentation. Joining the literary society of your college may also be helpful but as a custom-tailored suit, only you can decide what fits you the best.
Crowd control may come naturally if you have extraversion as one of your personality traits whereas speech writing and research may be your forte if you are an introvert as you tend to be more analytical before speaking. But as the art demands the more you will speak the better you will become. Start attending debate competitions and extempore in your collage or other collages as it will give you good exposure to how good other orators are. Model United Nations (MUNs) is also an experience altogether though they have lost their charm they still tend to help you develop altogether as an orator as they incorporate recent incidents and require sufficient research and give you a platform to hear and be heard. Many colleges in India also have communication skills incorporated in their syllabi which helps one learn the technicalities of public speaking like posture, speech content writing to highlight a few. As you dwell further in the world of public speaking which I believe you all can, you will agree with former president John F Kennedy who quoted, “Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary”.
-Submitted by Sarthak Sharma, via CollegeTime