I was in my 6th grade and I was asked to participate in a debate as I was fairly good in my academics. I still remember the topic of the debate – Building Castles in the Air. I was never shy to accept challenges in my life and with the same intent and thought process I accepted this as well and participated in the school debate competition. My aunt was one of the teacher’s in the school and she helped me in the preparation.
I was thoroughly prepared and continuously was revising by seeing in the mirror – imagining me to be the audience of my speech. Look in the mirror technique is what I had heard and had picked up – which I thought was the most promising technique considering I had never spoken in front of audience and this would be of considerable help to me, overcoming my stage fear. Yet this technique had to be put to practice.
And, finally the day had come when I had to present my speech in front of the entire school – students and faculties. The feeling is still fresh in my memory. I went up to the stage when my name was called and stood there right in front of everyone. I then started the introductory welcome message and introduced the topic. I said the first sentence of the long speech I had been practising and then paused. I tried to recollect the rest of the speech but could not as if the words flew from my memory. I again tried but paused after the first sentence. I then realized that I cannot regain the momentum – neither could I recollect the words. Though the faculties were encouraging me to speak again, I was lost and rushed to the restroom and cried.
Defeat is only a stepping stone to success
My aunt came and consoled me but at that point the feeling was horrible and I felt defeated, the feeling which I do not like at all. I promised to myself that I will one day give fantastic speeches and will leave the audience spellbound. The time was again for a new start, a new competition and this time again I assembled all the energy and directed my focus to win. And eventually I performed a lot better and won the competition. It was a great motivation and from then onward I had been participating and winning. I also won the All India Best Presenter Award and the State Level Best Presenter award.
Top rules for overcoming failure and delivering presentations
- Never let failure worry you – it is just a phase and will pass like every other phase.
- Assimilate your energy and focus at the task at hand.
- Prepare well and do your research on the topic – both vertical and lateral research so that you are confident.
- Make one liner or bookmarked notes and practice without the narrative.
- Be confident of yourself and keep saying it to yourself repeatedly that ‘you are the best’.
- Don’t be afraid of what people might think about you – you are there to deliver your best.
- Be mindful of your rate of speech, loudness, pitch, tone and gestures.
- At last, always imagine that you will succeed.
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