Climbing on the stage and speaking in front of people whose eyes (and ears) are glued to you can be quite intimidating. The speaker at times, can’t go beyond a few lines or fumble throughout the speech or worse still, simply gawk at the audience because the words refuse to come out of the mouth. There’s a term used for fear of public speaking or speech anxiety: Glossophobia. And it is this glossophobia which I decided to overcome when the chance to speak from the dais came knocking on my door.
I was always a good speaker during my schooling years. I would participate in debates and declamation contests and win it too. With passage of time though, I lost the confidence at this skill;because I let the opportunity of speaking to the crowds pass by me. Recently, on the occasion of International women’s day, a grand affair was organized at a public space in which various events were lined-up aiming to entertain and engage women; one being competing in a talent show . My desire to relive my school days but more so, the will to bust my fear of public speaking, encouraged me to instantly gave my name to compete in the “speech” category.
So two days before the event, I got down writing my talk on the topic “women are the key to help other women.” I must tell you writing was the easy part, it’s the speaking part, thinking about which started giving me palpitations. I cursed myself vo kaunsi ghadi thi jab tune speech ke liye opt kiya (what were you even thinking when you opted for speech competition). But now that I have made the mistake of saying yes, I might as well come through it. I had just one day in my hand to practice, and by God!! the amount of practice I did; in front of mirror, while working in the kitchen, during my evening walk and even in the shower I was running over my speech in the head. I also rehearsed multiple times in front of my family,after which I felt little confident.
The D-day arrived but as expected of a first-time speaker ( Ok, technically not first-time but I was speaking publicly after a gap of 20 years) , the hours before the event I had panic-attack; my heart was pounding hard in my chest, hands were oozing out sweat and stomach felt like tied up in knots. The only part of my body which was in sync was my mind which kept telling me “you can do it”. My name was announced as the next speaker and with heavy steps I climbed the podium. I was given the mike which I took with shaky hands. So this was it; I was in a make or break situation. I took a deep breath and started. As the words transformed into meaningful sentences, my hands pitched in with gestures. I was no longer nervous; in fact was enjoying my elocution. I went on to speak on the ways a woman could be another woman’s biggest support and ta-da! finished my speech effortlessly.
“This one was straight from the heart”, one of the judges shouted as I alighted the stairs of the stage. Many of my friends complimented “If eyes could speak, this was it”; I was thankful beyond words. But personally I was relieved I got through it!!
Since it’s not every day that you get to speak in front of a huge gathering and winning it too; I am tempted to share the pics of the event.