West Hartford, CT 3/16/2020
Public speaking is a skill of talking in front of a live audience such as giving a speech or a presentation in front of a crowd. It’s a skill that is very important throughout your life since it helps you develop speaking skills that can be used from having a, one on one conversation with someone giving a speech in front of hundreds. Most people become nervous when hearing that they have to talk in front of a lot of people and that is why they lack speaking skills. I had the same feeling when hearing that I had to talk in front of people. My dad gave me a push to take part in the second oratory contest hosted by the lion’s committee two years ago. An oratory contest is where you have to recite a speech on a topic that you are given completely from memory. Talking in front of a crowd is already hard but saying it from memory is even more difficult. I wrote up a speech and tried memorizing the whole speech a couple of days before the contest which was on a Saturday. I hadn’t memorized everything and was rushing to memorize it even on the day the contest was taking place.
I got to the contest and after an introduction, they separated the contestants and started calling the contestants up to speak. My turn came up eventually and I walked up to the podium. My lack of preparation and seeing how many people were watching me made me lose my train of thought and forget everything I had memorized. I recited my intro which went well then completely forgot the rest. After my intro, I just stood there looking at all the people that were expecting me to talk. It was a nightmare. Since I didn’t have anything else to say and now feeling embarrassed I said thank you and walked out. I came last place and felt exceptionally embarrassed. Public speaking isn’t easy especially when it’s from memory and is the reason most kids are scared or nervous to even try to do it. But, to get rid of the nervousness you have to face your fears and overcome it. The only way you can get over feeling scared to talk in front of a crowd is to do it and it gets easier as you do it more and more. Even though I didn’t do well I still got experience in talking in front of a big crowd which helped me in the next oratory contest I participated in. The lion’s committee held its annual third oratory contest this year. I knew what not to do from my experience of the previous contest and used it to my advantage. Since I was more comfortable I was able to talk fluently for the whole time and ended up winning the contest. My experience shows that if you just be brave and try it it’s not as bad as it seems and it gets easier over time. Saying that, kids might need a little push from parents to help them face their fears like I did. I saw many more kids during the third contest than the second one which shows the growth that the contest has had. I would like to tell the kids that even if they didn’t win to try again and use the experience they already got as an advantage. Public speaking helps your speaking skills which is also another reason for you to join the contest. I would also like to tell the parents who are reading this to give your kids a little push in participating in this event as they will interact with new people and develop their skills in speaking to people. “ You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky Overall, my experience has taught me that you have to just go for it and keep trying or you won’t know what could happen. I went from being last place to first so maybe you will end up winning it as well.