It was the summer of 2012 when I joined an engineering college in Chennai, India. I chose Computer major, so all my thoughts started leaning towards technology. Technology is fun – hope everyone will agree to it. It so happened that my college planned to conduct a celebration before Gandhi Jayanthi (October 2). My English Lecturer suddenly entered our classroom and asked us who all are interested in taking part in a debate. With no second thought, I raised my hand. Till now, I am not sure how I became very courageous at that moment. Well, today I thank myself for making that choice. Being an introvert throughout my childhood, I had never got an opportunity to speak on stage. I never wanted that notion to keep following me throughout my life. However, if you are a victim of stage fear, then you’ve got to get out of that as soon as possible in order to make life easy for you. I hope that once you complete reading this article, you’ll gain a positive attitude towards public speaking and move forward to make one if you have not made one before.
The topic for the debate was “Is there a possibility of getting another Gandhi in our era?” I chose ‘NO’ as my answer and started preparing for my speech the same day at home. I referred multiple channels in order to get inputs. I was very confused indeed. All that I know about him – I tried to store in my mind. I was never focused. Nervousness hit me directly that I lost my ability to think and perceive the situation properly. I was sleep depressed the previous day of the competition. On the day of the debate, my English Lecturer was calling us for a quick rehearsal. Tension grew up heavier each minute. I read out what I prepared the before day to my Lecturer. She said,”You have prepared to deliver a speech, but it is a debate”. I was devastated. I was having 4 to 5 pages of information about Mahatma Gandhi. I was definitely sure that if I read what I prepared, people will get bored. Finally, the Debate hour approached. There were six participants along with me for the competition (3 arguing for ‘YES’ and 3 arguing for ‘NO’). I was scheduled as the last person to deliver the speech. As I was sitting on the stage, I could hear my own heartbeat in spite of the loud cries made by students in the auditorium. All the five speakers have spoken on behalf of their opinions. All the information which I had gathered the previous day was already been delivered by them. I was running of content. I was nervous. I was not sure what to do at that moment. Finally, my name was called. Taking a deep breath, I stood up from my place with all my papers and went near the mike. I greeted the audience warmly and started with my topic. I told them that I am going to argue that there are no possibilities of finding another Gandhi in our era. Then, my mind went blank. I was completely clueless on what was going around. I was using too much gap fillers like ‘uh’,’eh’,etc. Then, I went blank. No words came from my mouth and I was standing still. The entire audience started laughing and giggling at me. I was not sure what to do. Finally, I came to a thought that I have to deliver this speech without any problem. When you are thrown into the middle of the ocean, either you give up and drown yourself or fight till your last breath. I chose fighting and I am happy choosing it at that moment. I turned down the reference papers which I had and started speaking from my mind. Sometimes, speaking from your heart helps. It helped very well for me. I started the speech telling the audience that whatever I have prepared has already been presented before you. Then, the audience started settling down. I started my speech and talked about my opinions on the topic comparing the opinions laid down by the rest of the participants. Finally, I concluded by saying “There is only one Sun, one Moon and there can be only one Gandhi and he is the Father of our Nation. Happy Gandhi Jayanthi.” The audience started cheering me up with their claps and my happiness knew no bounds at that moment. Being accepted by people without being judged is one of the rarest and beautiful events of our lifetime. For me, it is one such moment.
Even now, I fear little while walking to the podium for delivering any speech. However, once I start with my speech, all the tensions grabbed in my mind ebbs out. Hope reading my small life experience helps you at some part of your life. If you are a person who wants to do something in your life and your fears stop you from achieving your dreams, grab courage, take a deep breath and follow your dreams. One day, you’ll be happy for choosing your dream.