“Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you got, and fix it along the way.” – Paul Arden, author of It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be
Many people find public speaking to be a daunting task so very few take a chance on it. We decided to explore public speaking failures through our fail faire event series in order to learn from the experiences of established public speakers. Specifically, we wanted to find out how their failures helped them improve their public speaking skills. The insights gleaned from the discussion are shared below to inspire all beginner public speakers as they start their own journeys.
Abeeha Zara, a PhD student at a Belgium university who has presented her research paper at five international conferences, shared her public speaking insights. Syed Faizan, who has participated in more than 50 national debating competitions and has emerged as a master debater, shared his journey of public speaking as a means to stand up for his values. Haroon Khalid, an entrepreneur and President of a music society, shared his perspective on believing in yourself.
Abeeha Zarah focused on creating an ecosystem that promotes learning from past experiences. She emphasised the value of sharing the journey to success rather than the success itself. She also highlighted the importance of providing safe spaces to ask questions thus promoting discussions and public sharing of ideas. Her public speaking journey began with university presentations where going through many mock presentations gave her the experience and skills to present a great final presentation.
Some tips she shared in her story included practicing often and not trying to memorise word for word but instead remembering the points and believing in your knowledge. This mindset of believing in the knowledge you are sharing helps to boost your confidence. Sharing her international public speaking experience, she pointed out that it was most difficult to present in front of family and friends thus they are the best practice ground.
Syed Faizan shared that every interaction that involves communication is an opportunity to improve one’s public speaking skills. People do find the thought of public speaking distressing but they don’t realise they are already doing it. His formal debating career also started from such a public speaking opportunity. He stood up for his values in front of his University principal and made such a compelling argument that he was asked to represent the University in different debating competitions.
He emphasised how reading is the key to speaking. Reading and gathering knowledge helps you to construct your argument well. While reflecting on the Pakistani public speaking arena, Mr. Faizan mentioned self-awareness is the key. Being self-aware, you can’t be intimidated easily.
Haroon Khalid shared his journey of presenting in concerts and how he was anxious the first few times. This anxiety subsided seeing the positive public response. He mentioned how his initial auditions were not fruitful but by keeping at it he was able to get a positive response.
Through all these public speaking experiences we learn that the excitement that comes with striving to achieve a goal helps you to persevere. The motivation leads to success but the journey involves the effort to overcome hurdles and challenges. For this journey, persistent effort is important.