This past week I had the pleasure of attending a conference on enhancing Governance and Ethics, organized by the Lesotho Institute of Accountants. The interesting topic aside, let us talk about the speakers…the speakers my word…Mind blowing.
There are few things more motivating or powerful, than seeing a woman or man, stand ing in front of people, tens, hundreds, even thousands, comfortably to deliver a speech. The caliber of presenters at the conference was amazing. Doctors and Professors from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, accountancy and legal majorly. Over and above the knowledge they imparted, from their different fields, the ease, energy, finesse, eloquence, humor in which most of them delivered their speeches was just amazing and I was reminded of one dear leadership club I am a member of.
If you remember from my earlier posts on this blog, my very first if not second to be precise, I lamented about my love for writing which has never been realized and my inherent nature of blubbering away. During the very early months of 2009 I decided to take my life into my own hands once and for all and take the bull by its horns. You see as much of a talker as I am, I tend to be very shy or uncomfortable when faced with a lot of people. So I decided to join Toastmasters International (www.toastmasters.org), a platform where I could, as fellow Toastmasters the world over say say, “harness the butterflies and teach them to fly in formation”; in short, to learn to control my talking and way of delivery without the urge to fly away from the audience myself. In toastmasters, through educational manuals at different levels, we are taught or rather we teach ourselves in a controlled, friendly environment the art of speaking through the use and employment of a variety of skills. For example, using props properly, when and how to incorporate humor, body language, voice variety and many others.
These are things that one takes for granted, until you get exposed to a professional group or club like toastmasters and realize how much an art; a beautiful art public speaking can be if executed properly. That it is not just about fearlessly standing in front of people and regurgitating whatever well researched paper you want to share with them but more about you engaging your audience, luring them into your space and making them believe what you are saying, whether you are giving a eulogy, a speech at a wedding or giving feedback on that departmental budget at the office. For some people it comes natural to be an A+ presenter, but for most of us, a good 99% of us, we need some polishing here and there.
After a lot of hard work, writing and rehearsing speeches in front of my then fiancé, now husband. Ten (10) speeches later from my very first module, in October 2011, I received my very own Competent Communicator (CC) accreditation certificate from Toastmasters International, but more than anything I had gained the confidence, the knowhow and skill needed to deliver brilliant speeches, brilliantly. I am still to go through many other manuals to enhance my art, but with the basics I have acquired and the determination I have to make it in world stages, this too I shall conquer.
How good a public speaker are you? How confident are you in front of multitudes? Is it natural for you or you had to learn the art?