Speeches, writing one and delivering it, is one of my long list of weaknesses. As much as I appear that I can handle public speaking–I have a good amount of smiling and hair-flipping going on due to years of practice of faking-til-you-make-it–I choke at some point and then fumble with my words, babble and ramble until the time limit is up. A [wannabe] writer doesn’t necessarily equate to a good speaker, although in theory, it’s almost synonymous.
Public speaking, personally, more than content and delivery requires charisma, bearing and a certain je ne sais quoi that pulls an audience into persuasion, as if into deep slumber. Some people are built to speak, some are trained to speak and some, unfortunately, are meant to be listeners. But the good thing about a world of possibilities and a feisty personality to compensate for lacking that X-factor is you can always try.
A Brief History of Trying
The farthest I’ve gone to place in speech contests was 2nd place, back in high school. Usually, I don’t even make the Top 3 due to my tendency to freak out and get easily disoriented during delivery. That silver medal meant more to me than anything else that time. I joined an extemporaneous and impromptu speaking contest because nobody in our class was available to compete on that date. I had sore eyes that day but the sh0w must goes on and so should life. I was able to land 2nd place–out of 3 competitors HAH!
In college, a professor commented that I lacked ethos and that my speech wasn’t well-written at all. I didn’t cry, I didn’t go into a mild depression but I immediately moved to other ventures and hid behind the radio and accepted the fact that public speaking isn’t for me. No, not really. I love broadcasting; it wasn’t because I couldn’t handle hardcore public speaking but radio feels more like home than the stage. Somehow, I wasn’t bothered that I am more comfortable in a radio booth than facing a live audience.
BUT as fate would have it, I found myself in a speech club and preparing for a contest in Taguig City, getting up at 4 in the morning, doing my makeup in the dark because our power was cut off the night before.
Saturday, 27th September, I competed in a humorous speech contest. Let’s just say, it turned out as expected–I didn’t place. Watching the other contestants, I knew why they were there to begin with. They were comfortable, confident and above all, having fun. And as much as I’m a Regret-Queen, surprisingly, after the contest I didn’t wallow in what-ifs. I wouldn’t want to change a thing about my speech and how I delivered it. I was, in fact, proud of it. I lost for a multitude of reasons, yes, but it’s not because I was terrible or anything (or maybe I was LOL) but it was because the other contestants owned the stage and were truly impressive. They were it.
It was a memorable experience; I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Being there was enough of an achievement for me seeing my hapless background in standing in front of an audience. It was enough to validate some things about myself: 1) I’m not funny LOL; 2) I need to learn more about public speaking than merely not fumbling; and 3) I look awesome in high heels.
I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Los Baños Community Toastmasters Club for being the beacon of hope and supporting its members in sharpening their skills in public speaking and leadership, most especially to Sir Caling (Our President) and Ms. Betsie, DTM, our mother mentor, Theavy and Aids. Hope we, together with Sir Ian, did you proud 🙂
Keep calm and keep speaking up, after all, we’ll never know what’s going to happen until we try.
PLUS my paper got accepted in a national conference–this is my academic alter ego speaking–to be held the same week as the [contest] Finals. It’s another bout of public speaking but at least this time, I get to have notes *whew*!
Yes, everything happens for a reason.