How I Conquered My Fear Of Public Speaking

Mar 02, 2018 1 Min Read
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Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zones

By ABDULLAH ABDUL SHUKOR

 

I keep my eyes open and their evidence makes me thoughtful. The future is inscrutable but appalling; you must stand by me. When I can no longer restrain and control I will no longer lead.

– Winston Churchill, Savrola

 

This is my current state of mind, how does one become an influencer? To put it simply, how does one become a sensational celebrity?

I am a person who is interested in a wide spectrum of topics.

From extinct dinosaurs to the world wars, from Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to the Renaissance, my sense of curiosity is piqued by them all.

With an insatiable thirst for the unknown, every once in a while, I still ask myself, “What’s next?”

Ever heard of Neil DeGrasse Tyson? He is a well-known astrophysicist from North America. To me, he’s a powerful magician.

Not because he can pull a rabbit out of a hat, but because he can magically grip the heart of his audience with his outstanding charisma.

As someone who has a myriad of interests, I aspire to be like him.

I’ve always pictured myself standing on the grand stage, letting the fires of my passion do the talking.

However, I’m also an introvert who only speaks when spoken to, and more often than not, I only speak with my inner circle.

With others, I am like a wallflower. Ironic, isn’t it?

Has this stopped me from living out my aspiration of being like Tyson? In a way, yes.

That was, until the day our English-speaking skills were put to the test. Everyone was petrified. Why wouldn’t we be since we had to speak in front of the whole class? It’s scary having 30 people listen to you.

Baptism of fire

Everyone had interesting topics to talk about, from pet turtles to biotechnology. For me, it was the perfect opportunity to express my main interest at that time: Hitler’s most monstrous crime, ‘The Holocaust’.

It seemed like I was channelling Hitler himself that day.

I was on fire, my speech was full of passion and emotion. Was it worth coming out of my introverted shell?

It was. Not only did I score full marks, I was also enlisted into the public speaking squad.

It resulted in me participating in two public speaking competitions last year – district and state level.

I even made it to the Sunway public speaking finals, a pretty impressive feat since it was my first competition. It was an amazing experience!

However, the nature of public speaking requires us to think critically and intellectually, but when it comes to topics such as patriotism, wisdom, social issues, and others, are we qualified to come up with a suitable argument?

READ: How Batman Turns His Greatest Fear Into His Biggest Strength

Key reflections

We are young and inexperienced. There are aspects of reality we haven’t been exposed to.

To speak about wisdom, and what we envision for the future is rather naïve, in my humble opinion.

There’s so much we don’t know about the world we live in today.

My takeaway from this experience is that public speaking is a powerful weapon.

It can inspire a nation and mend a broken soul. It can also cause harm if it is used by the ignorant and blind.

Well, now you understand why I look up to Winston Churchill and the reason I quoted him earlier.

Every insight we gain, be it knowledge or life experiences is another reason to express ourselves and inspire others.

Now that I’ve gained a profound insight from this experience, I wonder, what’s next?

No excuses

There is a famous saying, “You’re never going to know, if you’ve never even tried.”

Before you start giving excuses as to why you can’t do it, you should actually try putting some effort into doing it first.

Whatever it is, be it singing, teaching, playing sports or anything at all!

If you don’t try, you can’t learn the valuable lessons the experience has to offer. If you don’t have the talent or aptitude for it, then keep at it until you do!

Think if it this way: no one masters Mathematics in a single day. It takes days of collective practice to just be adept at it.

Guess what, it’s the same for sports, public speaking, and a plethora of other activities.

The experience may be bitter, sweet or bittersweet, but at the end of the day, you’ll grow into a mature individual, and that is what we need the most out of everyone.

 

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Abdullah is a former student of SMK Sultan Abdul Samad and was a LEAD Club member. He was amongst the top students in terms of academics in the year 2016/2017, and earned the nickname “legend” from his classmates. He is deeply interested in the sciences, history involving wars, the history of empires, religion, and studying prominent figures such as Michael Faraday. To find out more about LEAD Clubs in schools across Malaysia spearheaded by Leaderonomics, email us at youth@leaderonomics.com.

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This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com with the consent of the guest author. 

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